Report: Villa 1-0 Leeds – Ings penalty secures win in Brisbane

Aston Villa made a winning start to our pre-season tour in Australia with Danny Ings’ penalty the difference in a 1-0 win over Leeds Utd in Brisbane.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard made a raft of changes at half-time as he handed out minutes across his squad, with the aim of trying to get everyone fit and at their best for our Premier League season opener against Bournemouth on August 6.

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Although we started slow, we began to find a bit of rhythm in our play as the first half went on, but a lack of clinical play in the final third ultimately saw us go into the break goalless.

Philippe Coutinho saw his penalty saved and then the rebound stopped by Illan Meslier, while the Leeds goalkeeper also denied Ollie Watkins in a one-on-one with another top save.

That said, Villa will feel as though we should have put those chances away, but in the first game of our pre-season tour Down Under, the players can certainly be forgiven for looking a bit rusty and not quite at their peak just yet.

As noted above, Gerrard changed almost the entire side for the second half, and that ultimately had a knock-on effect in terms of slowing the game down as we had to re-establish ourselves and get up to the speed of the encounter, with Leeds opting to keep many of their players on after the break.

However, we eventually found a breakthrough as after another handball in the box, it was Ings who stepped up from the spot and made no mistake as he broke the deadlock, and that turned out to be the winning goal.

It was a good run-out for Villa with the game played at a good tempo and intensity, and there were certainly some fiery tackles being made too with a few bookings handed out from the referee.

Nevertheless, it’s all good preparation for Villa, and we’ll now look ahead to facing Brisbane Roar on Wednesday.

First half Villa XI vs Leeds: Olsen; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; Luiz, Kamara, J. Ramsey; Bailey, Watkins, Coutinho.

Second half Villa XI: Olsen; Guilbert, Chambers, Carlos, A. Young; McGinn, Nakamba, Sanson; Buendia, Ings, A. Ramsey.

Olsen, Kamara the top performers for Villa

Robin Olsen was key for Villa as although he was largely untested in what was a decent defensive display, he was alert when called into action and made three good saves to preserve our clean sheet.

After coming on in the second half, Diego Carlos looked solid too as he used his physicality and reading of the game well, while his distribution out from the back will also be crucial in our way of playing under Gerrard.

However, the biggest positive in this game was the performance of Boubacar Kamara in the first half, as the Frenchman looks as though he will make a big difference for us despite a relatively brief appearance.

While he was physically imposing off the ball and broke play up well, he was classy and composed in possession and kept us ticking over in midfield with both short and long range balls to his teammates.

It’s what Villa have been missing for some time now, and while this was just a first glimpse, the hope is that he’ll continue to improve and grow more influential the more playing time he gets with his teammates.