|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Birmingham in trouble after rout
April 21, 2008 10:15 IST
Aston Villa thrashed local rivals Birmingham City 5-1 on Sunday to take their goal tally to 15 in their last three Premier League games.
John Carew and Ashley Young both scored twice for Villa to leave City stuck in the relegation zone with three matches left to save themselves.
Sunderland are still not safe after losing 2-0 at Newcastle United in the day's second derby, Michael Owen [Images] scoring twice for Kevin Keegan's resurgent side at St James' Park.
Birmingham are third from bottom with 31 points, one behind Reading who sit just above the drop zone. Sunderland have 36.
Young fired Villa in front after 29 minutes and it was one-way traffic from then on.
His free-kick was headed in by Carew just before halftime and the Norwegian made it 3-0 early in the second half. The impressive Young made it 4-0 and although Mikael Forssell pulled one back, Gabriel Agbonlahor completed the rout.
Villa's victory put them sixth, three points behind fifth-placed Everton and raised their hopes of qualifying for next season's UEFA Cup.
"We were on the end of a bruising from a really good Villa side," Birmingham manager Alex McLeish told the BBC.
"It's all about our next three games -- we have to take as many points from those games as we can. This match doesn't mean we're going down."
Owen needed just four minutes to head Newcastle in front and he doubled the advantage from the penalty spot before halftime to make it six goals in six games for the England [Images] striker.
Sunderland improved after the break without really threatening a comeback.
FA Cup finalists Portsmouth fell outside the UEFA Cup qualifying places into seventh after a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Darius Vassell tapped home the opening goal in the 12th minute after a mistake by England goalkeeper David James
Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov doubled the advantage just two minutes later but Nigerian John Utaka beat the offside trap to halve the deficit for the visitors midway through the first half.
Portsmouth defender Hermann Hreidarsson was sent off just before halftime for pulling back Darius Vassell and former Portsmouth striker Benjani Mwaruwari netted his 14th league goal to seal the result 15 minutes from time.