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Premier League

  • 29 January 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 36083

Aston Villa 4-3 West Brom: Benteke penalty seals incredible comeback

Aston Villa 4-3 West Brom: Benteke penalty seals incredible comeback

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The Belgian scored from the spot having been felled by Diego Lugano to send his side into the top half of the table after a first half which saw each side score three times

Aston Villa notched their 300th Premier League win by battling from two goals down to beat Midlands rivals West Brom 4-3 at Villa Park.

A thunderous strike from Chris Brunt and a Fabian Delph own goal inside the first 10 minutes seemed to have put West Brom well on their way to three points on Wednesday.

Villa were reading from a different script, however, and Andreas Weimann's lobbed finish in the 12th minute inspired the hosts, with Leandro Bacuna equalising before the half-hour mark.

Against all odds, Paul Lambert's side looked set to take a lead into the break as Delph scored in the correct goal this time, but Youssouf Mulumbu levelled the scores again with a composed finish in the 43rd minute.

By Tom Davis

West Midlands derbies are not for the light hearted. Christ Brunt’s wonderstrike and Fabian Delph’s own goal looked to be a dream start for West Brom but Aston Villa fought back tremendously to later take the lead.

It was a Villa display that showed fight and character, even if their defensive skills lacked. Fortunately, the hosts’ own defensive resilience – or lack thereof – was matched.

Diego Lugano was the villain as he fouled Christian Benteke for his spot-kick. It was the only goal of the second half but Villa scored half as many tonight as they had in their past 11 at home. Superb entertainment in a thrilling derby.

West Brom coach Pepe Mel admitted in the build-up to the game that he tried to sign Christian Benteke in his days at Real Betis and it was the Belgium star who netted the winner when he converted a second-half penalty to move Villa into 10th.

Matthew Lowton replaced the injured Gabriel Agbonlahor in Villa's only change from the 2-2 draw with Liverpool in their last Premier League outing.

Mel restored Mulumbu and Victor Anichebe to his starting XI after missing out against Everton, replacing Zoltan Gera and Matej Vydra.

It took the visitors just four minutes to take the lead and it came in style as Brunt lashed home a fearsome half-volley from 30 yards out, giving Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan no chance.

Villa had a major struggle on their hands five minutes later as a well-worked free-kick released James Morrison in the left side of the hosts' area and Delph directed the eventual cross into his own goal.

The hosts responded almost immediately, however. Guzan's long ball from the back was inadvertently flicked on by Diego Lugano, allowing Weimann to drop the ball over Ben Foster and into the net.

Bacuna continued Villa's stunning comeback in the 25th minute as he fortuitously sliced Lowton's low cross over the diving Guzan before Delph made amends to score at the right end as he burst into the area and unleashed an unstoppable drive eight minutes before the break.

There was still enough time for one more goal before half-time as West Brom levelled the scores again, with Mulumbu confidently slotting past Guzan following a delicate first touch.

Ten minutes after the break, Lugano missed a glorious chance to give West Brom the lead as he headed Brunt's free-kick wide at the back post and the Uruguayan played a big role in Villa's fourth goal in the 64th minute.

Lugano hauled down Benteke in the penalty area as he jumped to reach a cross and the Belgian buried the spot-kick, scoring for the third consecutive match.