Unlucky Villa are frozen out in the snow
By Villa reporter
Tuesday 29 Dec 2009 21:48:00
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Villa suffered a miserable end to an excellent year when Fernando Torres stole the points for Liverpool at snowy Villa Park.

The Spaniard struck after a series of errors in the Villa defence more than halfway through two minutes of injury time at the end of an often-dour affair which Villa, if anyone, had looked the more likely to nick.

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Villa gave away possession on the left deep inside their own half then failed to track Torres’s run when the ball came into the centre.

He made the most of the space given him to look up and fire a low shot past Brad Friedel and just inside the far post, to leave Martin O’Neill and his players distraught.

Afterwards O’Neill told Sky: ‘We definitely didn’t deserve that. Their keeper pulled off some wonderful saves. We should have won. We had the chances to win the game but we didn’t deserve to lose. It’s a real cruel blow to the team.

‘We have given everything. We have played two games in 48 hours and have thrown everything at them.

‘We have to keep going. It’s definitely a blow because we have lost two games over Christmas. It’s a setback but it’s not the end of the world. We will fight back from this.’

Ten minutes earleier, an apparent Liverpool handball in the area led to strong Villa claims for a penalty, but these were waved away by the referee.

The result means instead of breaking back into the top four, Villa lie sixth – with Liverpool close behind them.

It casts fresh doubts on Villa’s ability to last the distance in the top-four race as they failed to do last season, coming hot on the heels of the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

That said, Villa are still only two points off the top four – and anyone who vclaims these last two results mean Villa won’t finish fourth or higher is surely being premature.

Villa may be glad, then, of a week of cup distractions – with games against Blackburn in the FA and Carling Cups to come before their next league game.

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