Football: Milosevic and Taylor supply the magic for Villa to advance

Aston Villa 2 Steaua Bucharest 0 Aston Villa win 3-2 on aggregate

After all the talk about Aston Villa's Uefa Cup struggle with Steaua Bucharest, part one of next June's World Cup meeting between England and Romania, it fell to Yugoslavia's Savo Milosevic to spearhead Villa's drive into next Wednesday's quarter-final draw with the first goal of an absorbing second leg at Villa Park last night.

Nineteen minutes remained when Steve Staunton's 50-yard ball caught Steaua's defenders off guard. With his seldom-used right foot, Milosevic buried a low shot. Villa confirmed their superiority over fellow former European champions four minutes from time, Ian Taylor racing on to Lee Hendrie's pass before firing home.

Villa achieved the victory which keeps their season alive at least until March without their leading scorer, Dwight Yorke, who had failed a fitness test on a calf injury. In the event, the Tobagan had done his bit with the away goal in a 2-1 defeat in Bucharest, and he was not missed as badly as Brian Little may have feared.

Glenn Hoddle was not present, despite the opportunity to run the rule over three or four of England's opponents next summer. Not that Little was complaining. "We've saved our best form for this competition," the Villa manager said, "and we've needed to."

Taylor, filling Yorke's role of attacking from midfield, took over five minutes to test Zoltan Ritli in Steaua's goal. The goalkeeper did well to touch over his volley as it raged towards the spot beneath the angle of post and bar, but was beaten when Staunton unleashed a free-kick towards the same point. To Villa's frustration, the ball struck the bar and flew over.

Stan Collymore's goal against Coventry on Saturday, only his second in 18 appearances since his pounds 7m transfer from Liverpool, had clearly done wonders for his confidence. A bold, twisting run carried him past three defenders and into the penalty area. Ritli beat aside the ensuing drive with considerable difficulty.

Whatever the truth of the rumours that Collymore is short of allies in the Villa dressing-room, he certainly linked effectively with Mark Draper. The first-time volley with which he lifted the midfielder's cross narrowly over the bar was the sign of a striker trusting in his instincts. Collymore soon returned the compliment with a selfless centre, but heading is not Draper's strongest suit and the ball looped harmlessly over.

Steaua, who have been rebuilding with youthful talent after selling most of their senior players abroad, were content to soak up the pressure and strike on the break. Their strategy almost reaped a rich reward in the 49th minute when the two pinpoint passers, Marius Lacatus and Cristian Ciocoiu, worked the ball from the centre circle into the Villa box via the left wing. Damian Militaru arrived and took aim, only for Mark Bosnich to parry leaping to the left.

The effect of Steaua's near miss was to raise the decibel level among the crowd. Like their team, they had adhered to Little's plea for patience. Now they felt it was time to go for broke.

From a Staunton free-kick whipped in from the right, Taylor's glancing header brought a diving save from Ritli. Continuing his passable impersonation of Yorke, Taylor then surged through to shoot off Milosevic's pass. Reaching the ball a split second before the goalkeeper plunged at his feet, he lifted his shot into the Holte End.

With nearly a third of the match remaining, Little sent on the 20-year- old Hendrie. It was another sign that the time for caution was past. When Collymore blazed wide and then saw his point-blank effort scrambled off the line by Tibeiru Csik, Villa may have feared it was not to be their night. Milosevic and Taylor dispelled their doubts to cacophonous approval.

Aston Villa (1-2-5-2): Bosnich; Staunton; Ehiogu, Southgate; Charles, Taylor, Grayson (Hendrie, 62), Draper (Nelson, 82), Wright; Collymore, Milosevic. Substitutes not used: Joachim, Curcic, Scimeca, Collins, Oakes (gk).

Steaua Bucharest (1-2-5-2): Ritli; Rachita; Csik, Matei; Reghecampf, Rotariu, Militaru (Lincar, 88), Munteanu, Miu; Lacatus (Luca, 68), Ciocoiu (Hrib, 77). Substitutes not used: Baciu, Raducan, Mozacu, Gherasim (gk).

Referee: B Heynemann (Ger).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee CAD Technician

£12800 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee CAD Technician is req...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000+

£15600 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This renewable energy installat...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss