Aston Villa took a commanding first-leg lead in front of the watching England manager, Fabio Capello, in their Uefa Cup second qualifying round tie in Reykjavik last night. But the evening's most significant development took place in the changing room before the match, with the Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, selecting Gareth Barry in his starting line-up. The Irishman insisted Barry wanted to play even though it leaves him cup-tied for the Champions League should his summer-long transfer saga end with a move to Liverpool. Barry is now ineligible for the Champions League group stages.
"He's our player, and he wanted to play in the game, and we think he's mentally tuned into it so that's all that matters," O'Neill said. However, O'Neill admits the latest development does not necessarily rule out a move to Anfield for the player. He added: "I wouldn't be particularly sure until the transfer deadline passes what might materialise, so we'll see."
On the pitch Villa made the perfect start. When Hafnarfjordur failed to clear a fourth-minute corner, Ashley Young whipped the ball back into the box and some calamitous defending left Barry with the simple task of powering the ball past the goalkeeper Gunnar Sigurdsson from close range.
Young quickly made it 2-0 . Finding himself in space on the left he moved inside before turning a defender and side-footing the ball in off the post. Agbonlahor then matched Young's strike. Picking the ball up from deep he charged forward and showed determination to round two defenders before scoring. The Icelandic side then got the goal they deserved as Matthias Gudmundsson stooped to head home Tryggvi Gudmundsson's cross. But Martin Laursen headed home a Young corner after the break to make it 4-1.
FH Hafnarfjordur (4-4-2): G Sigurdsson; Eiriksson (Saevarsson, 74), Bjorn Sverrisson, Valgardsson, Nielsen; Gudnason (Gardarsson, 74), Vidarsson (Asgeirsson, 63), Siim, Vihjalmsson; M Gudmundsson, T Gudmundsson. Substitutes not used: Larusson, Bjarnason, Hallfredsson, Birkir Sverrisson.
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Gardner, Davies, Laursen, Shorey; Reo-Coker, Petrov (Salifou, 65), Barry, A Young (Routledge, 71); Harewood, Agbonlahor (Delfouneso, 76). Substitutes not used: Taylor, Knight, Osbourne, Baker.
Referee: R Matejek (Czech Republic).Reuse content