Ezri Konsa’s second-half goal brought Aston Villa victory over 10-man Sheffield United in their first Premier League match of the season. Sheffield United will rue the toughest of red cards that left them 78 minutes short of a player.
Skipper John Egan was ejected after tugging Ollie Watkins back as he tracked down a long ball from Tyrone Mings in the inside-right channel that Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale might well have cleared anyway.
League debutant Emiliano Martinez created a great save from the penalty by John Lundstram and even after that, after Matt Targett felled Chris Basham in the area, the Blades should have been in front.
Villa did not look like breaking the deadlock against the stubborn South Yorkshire outfit, for a long time, before Mings flicked on Targett’s corner and Konsa headed back across Ramsdale and into the net three minutes after the hour mark.
As John McGinn found himself in a space-acre box, but his header was flying narrowly wide, the game got off to an exciting start, with the first chance of the game dropping to the host in the second minute.
However, on the 12th minute, the match changed as the visitors were reduced to ten men as a VAR analysis led Egan to receive his marching orders.
Following Matt Targett’s challenge in the box, the next scoring opportunity fell to the visitors after the referee handed them a penalty on just after the half-hour mark.
John Lundstram stepped forward to take it, but last week’s signed Martinez made a flawless save, his first as a Villan.
The goal then came as Tyrone Mings got up very well from the corner in the 63rd minute, and headed the ball into the six-yard box, where Konsa glanced into the net with a header.
Villa nearly added to their tally, with Jack Grealish missing two excellent opportunities late in the second half.
Despite missing the chances, Villa kept on selecting three essential points as they got their season underway.
Aston Villa 1 – 0 Sheffield United
Goals: 1-0 Konsa 63′
Yellow cards: Lundstram (S); Targett (A), Cash (A), McGinn (A)
Red card: Egan (S)
Aston Villa: Martinez, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane/Davis 62′, Grealish, Watkins, Trezeguet
Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Basham/McBurnie 68′, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Fleck/Osborn 63′, Stevens, McGoldrick/Ampadu 31′, Bruke