It's Goodnight Vienna For Villa

There are to be no more European jaunts for the Villa faithful this season after their side were eliminated from the Europa League at the first hurdle.

Rapid Vienna and their indomitable set of supporters were the Claret and Blue conquerors on a disappointing and largely frustrating night in the Midlands.

But the game was a far cry from the poor 2-1 defeat against minnows MSK Zilina in what was the Uefa Cup last season as Villa performed well but just couldn't find the goals needed to progress.

James Milner (pen) and John Carew gave the Villans a two goal lead, which would have been good enough to secure a passage to the group stages, but Nikica Jelavic struck the decider for Rapid.

In fact, the Austrians could have even claimed a draw on the night as Jelavic, who also scored the winner in the first leg, missed a guilt edged chance in the last few minutes.

All in all it was a big blow for Martin O'Neill's men who were hoping to erase the memories of last year’s acrimonious exit at the hands of CSKA Moscow.

Unlike on that occasion, O'Neill put out a strong side which was more than capable of stepping up to the mark and making it through to the next round.


Unfortunately what the manager saw was a succession of missed opportunities, which eventually cost his side.

Ashley Young earned and then missed a penalty but moments later he won another one which Milner dispatched.

Young put in his best personal performance of the year and he looked really hungry to impress the small crowd at Villa Park.

After the break, Rapid began to threaten more and Stefan Hoffman saw his effort superbly cleared off the line by Carlos Cuellar.

Villa knew they needed a goal, though, and undeterred by Rapid's advances John Carew scored with a brilliant strike to put his side ahead on aggregate.

The Norwegian striker took the ball down on the right flank, beat his marker and slotted a low shot past keeper Helge Payer.

Villa were in the ascendancy for the first time in the tie, but there was a sense of anxiety surrounding the players.


Rapid are a side with obvious ability and some neat passing football was really beginning to trouble their illustrious hosts.

And, sure enough, after the Austrians saw a goal disallowed, the vital strike of the tie came from Jelavic.

The Croatian front man, who had proven to have a touch of the good, bad and ugly about him over the two legs, was the man who pounced after Brad Guzan could only parry a low drive.

The boisterous away fans, who appeared to have lost half their clothing on the way to England, celebrated in impressive fashion with the home fans stunned.

Some may say that the lack of Villa fans at the game was an indication of how much the competition meant to the club but that is simply not the case.

Whether they admit it or not, many fans wanted a good run in Europe this year. They wanted the chance to right the wrongs of last year and, most importantly of all, they wanted some silverware.

But, to the Carling and F.A. Cup competitions they go and with the draw for the former on Saturday, all Villans will be hoping it is not a bad week for knockout ties.