Harewood strikes as Villa progress despite draw

Aston Villa 1 Litex Lovech 1 (Aston Villa win 4-2 on aggregate)
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The Independent Football

Marlon Harewood struck his first goal of the season as Aston Villa booked their place in the group stages of the Uefa Cup despite being held at home in the second leg by their Bulgarian opponents. The former West Ham United striker broke the deadlock after 27 minutes only for the visitors to level matters shortly after the break through a controversial penalty from Wilfred Niflore.

The Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill made six changes to the side that beat Sunderland at the weekend. Stiliyan Petrov captained the side and in came James Milner, Harewood, Zat Knight, Carlos Cuellar, Moustapha Salifou and Wayne Routledge.

Villa broke the deadlock after 27 minutes through Harewood's first goal of the campaign. Brad Friedel's long clearance was flicked on by Ashley Young into the path of Harewood who needed no second invitation to show his pace and clinical finishing.

He shook off the challenge of Plamen Nikolov before hammering a fierce shot into the corner of the net to stretch Villa's aggregate lead to 4-1.

The visitors equalised when, just after half-time, Wellington made a powerful run into the Villa box before going down after being challenged by Cuellar – but replays showed the former Rangers player had got a toe-end to the ball. Up stepped Wilfred Niflore to send Friedel the wrong way from the spot to ensure a draw on the night.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Luke Young, Knight, Cuellar, Shorey; Routledge, Petrov, Salifou, Ashley Young (Osbourne, 85); Harewood, Milner. Substitutes not used: Guzan, Laursen, Agbonlahor, Delfouneso, Reo-Coker, Gardner.

Litex Lovech (4-4-1-1): Todorov; Manolev, Popov (Dos Santos, 85), Zanev, Barthe; Berberovic, Nikolov, Wellington (Angelov, 78), Dudu (Tsvetanov, 46); Sandrinho; Niflore. Substitutes not used: Golubovic, Angelov, Acedo, Bibishkov, Tsvetkov.

Referee: T Chapron (France)