Leandro Bacuna scored a spectacular free-kick as Aston Villa ended their Premier League goal drought against Cardiff City.

Villa had gone seven-and-a-half hours without finding the net before the Dutch winger's curling effort.

Poor free-kick cost Cardiff in Aston Villa defeat - Mackay

Libor Kozak's header doubled the margin of victory with six minutes left.

Villa also kept their first home clean sheet for 16 games as Cardiff were brought back down to earth following their derby win over Swansea.

Before this fixture Paul Lambert's side last scored in the 3-2 win over Manchester City on on 28 September when Andreas Weimann bagged the winner.

They started brightly, though, and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi's long-range shot was parried by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall early on with striker Christian Benteke unable to react quickly enough to latch on to the rebound.

Benteke's strike partner Kozak went close to putting through his own net at the other end moments later when his header went inches past the post.

Analysis

"After 15 minutes you would have banked on it being a thriller at the Villa, but as the game wore on it looks more like it would be a nil-nil-er. Paul Lambert's side went seven-and-half hours without a goal but always looked the more likely team of the two teams to score in the second half. And the long wait for a goal was finally brought to an end in style by Leandro Bacuna before Libor Kozak headed home Villa's second."

A defensive mix-up let Cardiff midfielder Aron Gunnarsson pinch the ball on the edge of the penalty area in the 12th minute, but Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan scampered off his line to snuff out the danger.

The remainder of the first half became scrappy with chances at a premium.

Kozak, who joined Villa from Lazio for £7m on deadline day, brought a fine diving save out of Marshall moments after the half-time interval when he got his head on the end of Bacuna's cross from the right.

The hosts looked the more likely side to break the deadlock and almost caught Cardiff on the counter attack when El Ahmadi crossed for Benteke but the Belgium international directed his header wide.

And it was Bacuna - signed by Lambert from Groningen in the summer - who eventually broke the stalemate after being fouled by Gary Medel just outside the penalty area.

Leandro Bacuna goal against Cardiff was fabulous - Aston Villa's Paul Lambert

The 21-year-old winger dusted himself down and curled the resulting set-piece around the Cardiff wall and into the net with Marshall rooted to the spot.

Koazk made the points safe late on when he scored Villa's second with a close-range header after Matthew Lowton had nodded the ball back across goal.

Cardiff pressed to get themselves back into the game in the remaining minutes but the home defence stood firm to secure the points.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "The players battled and were very good. Leandro's free-kick was fabulous. His goal against Manchester City was brilliant but I think that surpasses it.

"I thought we deserved to win the game. I knew it would be a tough game so it's a good win.

"The clean sheet gives us confidence going forward and I was really pleased with the result. The lads were excellent."

Cardiff City manager Malky Mckay: "Ultimately it was a good goal that made the difference. I thought we had played well until then. We had plenty of possession and were comfortable until that point. It was a poor free-kick to give away.

"Top players at this level can put the ball in the top corner and Leandro Bacuna punished us by doing that. We will learn out lesson from that.

"Overall, I'm not too disappointed because if we show that kind of application we'll be fine."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 07 Bacuna
  • 06 Clark Booked
  • 15 Westwood
  • 04 Vlaar
  • 02 Baker
  • 08 El Ahmadi (Lowton - 74' )
  • 24 Tonev
  • 20 Benteke
  • 27 Kozák (Bowery - 88' )
  • 18 Sylla

Substitutes

  • 09 Helenius
  • 13 Steer
  • 17 Herd
  • 21 Bowery
  • 34 Lowton
  • 36 Johnson
  • 37 Robinson

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 28 Théophile-Catherine
  • 03 Taylor
  • 08 Medel Booked
  • 04 Caulker
  • 06 Turner
  • 19 Cowie
  • 17 Gunnarsson (Mutch - 65' )
  • 11 Odemwingie (Campbell - 55' )
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 39 Bellamy (Maynard - 82' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Hudson
  • 10 Campbell
  • 13 Kim
  • 16 Noone
  • 18 Mutch
  • 23 Maynard
  • 32 Lewis
Ref: Martin Atkinson
Att: 35,809

Match Stats

Shots

17 8

On target

6 2

Corners

5 3

Fouls

10 3

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Cardiff City 0.

90:00 +4:38 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Cardiff City 0.

90:00 +4:32

Attempt missed. Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is too high from a direct free kick.

90:00 +4:02 Booking

Booking Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +3:56

Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +3:56

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

90:00 +2:10

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Andrew Taylor.

90:00 +2:09

Attempt blocked. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Bowery.

90:00 +1:16

Offside, Cardiff City. Don Cowie tries a through ball, but Fraizer Campbell is caught offside.

90:00 +0:15

Attempt missed. Jordan Bowery (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

87:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Jordan Bowery replaces Libor Kozák.

86:58

Offside, Cardiff City. Gary Medel tries a through ball, but Steven Caulker is caught offside.

86:27

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Libor Kozák.

86:24

Attempt blocked. Steven Caulker (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross.

85:59

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Ron Vlaar.

85:00

Attempt blocked. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

83:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 2, Cardiff City 0. Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Matthew Lowton with a headed pass.

81:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Nicky Maynard replaces Craig Bellamy.

79:29

Offside, Aston Villa. Ciaran Clark tries a through ball, but Ron Vlaar is caught offside.

79:06

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Steven Caulker.

78:13

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Kévin Théophile-Catherine.

75:17 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 1, Cardiff City 0. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

74:18 Booking

Booking Gary Medel (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

74:15

Foul by Gary Medel (Cardiff City).

74:15

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Matthew Lowton replaces Karim El Ahmadi.

72:18

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ciaran Clark with a cross.

72:09

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Karim El Ahmadi.

70:12

Attempt missed. Gary Medel (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Peter Whittingham.

67:41

Andrew Taylor (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:41

Foul by Libor Kozák (Aston Villa).

66:11

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Karim El Ahmadi with a cross.

65:17

Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

65:17

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

64:21 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Jordon Mutch replaces Aron Gunnarsson.

64:03

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

63:35

Delay in match Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

62:10

Attempt missed. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

60:23

Foul by Gary Medel (Cardiff City).

60:23

Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

57:15

Ben Turner (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:15

Foul by Libor Kozák (Aston Villa).

56:02

Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

56:02

Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

54:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Fraizer Campbell replaces Peter Odemwingie.

53:09

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

52:21

Delay in match Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) because of an injury.

51:13

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

49:33

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by David Marshall.

49:31

Attempt saved. Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Leandro Bacuna with a cross.

47:14

Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

47:14

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

45:10

Offside, Cardiff City. Andrew Taylor tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

45:00

Second Half begins Aston Villa 0, Cardiff City 0.

45:00 +1:10 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Cardiff City 0.

45:00 +0:11

Attempt missed. Don Cowie (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kévin Théophile-Catherine with a cross.

43:43

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

37:08

Attempt missed. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

33:11

Offside, Aston Villa. Ciaran Clark tries a through ball, but Libor Kozák is caught offside.

31:23

Andrew Taylor (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:23

Foul by Libor Kozák (Aston Villa).

29:50

Attempt saved. Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

28:48

Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:48

Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).

26:06

Offside, Cardiff City. Ben Turner tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

24:49

Offside, Cardiff City. Steven Caulker tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

22:32

Offside, Aston Villa. Libor Kozák tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

21:15

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

20:28

Delay in match Gary Medel (Cardiff City) because of an injury.

16:22

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

16:22

Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:40

Offside, Aston Villa. Yacouba Sylla tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

13:56

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

13:56

Foul by Steven Caulker (Cardiff City).

12:01

Offside, Cardiff City. Ben Turner tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

11:41

Attempt saved. Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Taylor.

11:00

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

10:28

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by David Marshall.

10:25

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

9:23

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Libor Kozák.

8:49

Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

8:49

Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:42

Attempt saved. Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

6:16

Attempt missed. Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aron Gunnarsson.

6:14

Attempt missed. Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Don Cowie.

4:19

Attempt saved. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

1:29

Offside, Cardiff City. David Marshall tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

0:55

Offside, Aston Villa. Ciaran Clark tries a through ball, but Libor Kozák is caught offside.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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