For photos from the match scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left. For stats, click on the match stats tab. Manager reaction below.
Second-half goals from Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak handed Aston Villa a 2-0 win over Cardiff City at Villa Park on Saturday.
Bacuna's 76th -minute free-kick was Villa's first goal in five matches and Kozak’s cushioned header eight minutes later proved enough to earn Paul Lambert’s side their first win since the 3-2 victory over Manchester City at the end of September.
The closest the visitors came to scoring was in the 10th minute as Kozak almost put through his own net, but otherwise Malky Mackay’s side created very little in the way of goalscoring opportunities, failing to build on their memorable 1-0 victory over Welsh rivals Swansea City last week.
Manager Paul Lambert made two changes from last week's draw at West Ham United, Aleksandar Tonev and Kozak replacing Matt Lowton and Andreas Weimann, who was absent with a hamstring injury picked up in the Upton Park clash. For Cardiff, there was just one alteration from Sunday’s derby triumph over Swansea as Aron Gunnarsson came in for Jordon Mutch, who dropped to the bench.
The hosts started the brighter with Marshall stretching to parry Karim El Ahmadi's effort from distance in the fifth minute and Steven Caulker nipping the ball away from Christian Benteke as he looked to convert the rebound.
Kozak almost gifted Cardiff the lead five minutes later, the striker nodding Gary Medel's free-kick narrowly wide of his own goal under no pressure.
In a frantic opening, Brad Guzan rushed from his line to deny Gunnarsson in the 12th minute before the pace of the game slowed, the American catching Craig Bellamy’s curling free-kick on the half-hour mark with both sides struggling to create openings.
Goalmouth action was scarce after the break, with Ashley Westood fizzing a 25-yard shot narrowly wide in the 63rd minute as each struggled to make any impression on the opposition defences.
However, the hosts made a crucial breakthrough 13 minutes later, Bacuna bending the ball brilliantly around the wall from 25 yards to the relief of the home support inside Villa Park.
Shortly afterwards, Villa doubled the lead, Lowton nodding the ball back across goal where Kozak was on hand to redirect beyond a despairing Marshall to seal the points and send Villa above their opponents in the table.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "We were excellent, you look at the team out there - we have two young kids from the academy which shows how stretched we are. We have lost a lot of players so the break has probably come at a good time, but I thought we were excellent. Credit to the players they battled and they were very, very good. The games where we haven't scored we have been well in the game, the chances are always getting created.
"I thought we deserved to win the game, Malky Mackay has done a great job at Cardiff and I knew it was going to be a tough game. We are doing very well at the moment, and we are very pleased. We have a tough game against West Brom [after the international break] but hopefully we will have two or three lads back, the ones out are big players for us."
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "I was delighted with how we were playing, I thought we had come up here and had a lot of possession of the ball and we kept Villa to long range stuff. We were really comfortable but obviously goals change games and free-kicks at this level, certain specialist playres can do that and he did.
"Up to the [first] goal we were good value. I thought the way we played up to that point at Villa Park we can take pride from. Overall the performance today was good and to come to places like this and to play like we did, if we do that over the course of the season we will be fine."
Video: Malky Mackay press conference to come >>
|25 Nov 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|30 Nov 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|04 Dec 2013||v Southampton (A)|
|08 Dec 2013||v Fulham (A)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Stoke (A)|