After defeat to Malaga in their opening Peace Cup fixture, Aston Villa took on Atlante knowing they must win by two clear goals in order to progress to a place in the last four.
With that in mind manager Martin O’Neill fielded a strong side featuring Ashley Young, John Carew, Emile Heskey as well as young prospect Eric Lichaj in defence.
Yet it looked as though it would be another difficult evening for the Premier League outfit who were forced into a change early on when skipper Stiliyan Petrov picked up a shoulder injury.
No sooner had the Bulgarian left the field than Atlante opened the scoring with a sliding Curtis Davies deflecting a cross past stopper Brad Guzan after 20 minutes.
Youngster Marc Albrighton quickly arrived to replace the stricken Petrov and it was to prove a crucial substitution with the teenager hitting the equaliser five minutes before the break.
Striker John Carew posed a problem for the Mexican defence sending a diving header at goalkeeper Vilar who did superbly to deny the Norwegian.
However, the ball fell only as far as Albrighton who rifled home convincingly at the far post to send Villa in at the interval on level terms.
Buoyed by the goal, the English side emerged from the break in determined mood and within minutes of the restart had taken the lead.
Again it was Carew causing havoc in the box, touching a great free-kick by Lichaj past Vilar in the Atlante goal.
The goal spurred the Mexicans into action and Giancario Maldonado was swiftly replaced by Santiago Solari.
The change prompted Atlante forward with Gabriel Pereyra forcing Davies into a super block before a diving Brad Guzan cut out a dangerous-looking cross from Daniel Arreola.
However, Villa were still looking threatening, through Young in particular in wide positions, and with an hour on the clock the winger increased the Midlanders’ lead.
A great cross in from the right by Albrighton was met superbly by Young who headed powerfully past Vilar to hand Villa the two goal lead they craved.
More changes followed the Premier League side's third goal as Rafael Marquez arrived for the Mexicans whilst Shane Lowry replaced the influential Carew.
Yet O’Neill’s side had to remain vigilant and had goalkeeper Guzan to thank only minutes after the hour mark after he saved well from Arreola’s header.
Still Villa pushed forwards, searching for the security that a fourth goal would bring, but ultimately they had to settle for just three goals, a result that keeps them in the Peace Cup, and with one eye on the final.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lichaj, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Reo-Coker, Sidwell (Herd, 85), Petrov (Albrighton, 21), Young (Weimann, 77), Carew (Lowry, 61), Heskey (Osbourne, 60)
Atlante: Vilar, Martinez, Cervantes (Marquez, 61), Navarro, Velazaquez, Arreola, Gonzalez, Pereyra, Guerrero (Rojas, 75), Bermudez, Maldonado (Solari, 52)
3-1 Aston Villa (Young, 61)
2-1 Aston Villa (Carew, 48)
1-1 Aston Villa (Albrighton, 38)
0-1 Atlante (Davies og, 20)
Gill Clark, Goal.com