Gabriel Agbonlahor desperate for shot at Wembley redemption
Aston Villa play Bradford in the Capital One Cup semi-final tonight
Tuesday 22 January 2013
Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor wants to return to Wembley to help make up for the injustice he felt was suffered on his last appearance there in the 2010 League Cup final.
Agbonlahor will have a key part to play when Villa attempt to overturn a 3-1 first leg semi-final deficit in tonight's Capital One Cup clash with visiting Bradford.
He is desperate to get back to Wembley to put behind him an incident against Manchester United three years ago after only five minutes of the final.
Agbonlahor was hauled down inside the box by Nemanja Vidic and, although referee Phil Dowd gave a penalty, he chose not to send off the United defender despite what appeared a clear goalscoring opportunity.
It was a pivotal moment as United recovered from going behind to James Milner's spot-kick to win 2-1.
Agbonlahor was reluctant to talk about the incident ahead of the semi-final but said: "You want to make it right, what happened in that last final.
"It is a case of unfinished business, definitely.
"The same sort of thing also happened that season in the FA Cup semi-final as well against Chelsea.
"I should have a penalty against Mikel. That's what happens. Refs miss things sometimes, that's football.
"We've got to put that behind us now. We've just got to look at the Bradford game. We've got 90 minutes to get three goals to get through the tie."
Agbonlahor believes an early goal is key to Villa's chances of going through.
He said: "In the first leg the conditions, the pitch, the way they played, it suited them. We missed a lot of chances as well.
"If we can get that early goal like we did against West Brom at the weekend, everyone's confidence gets up.
"It is not going to be easy. Bradford will be dangerous on the counter-attack and we will respect them.
"But it should be a great atmosphere and the fans will play their part."
Villa boss Paul Lambert hopes Villa can make Bradford pay after the "disrespect" shown by one of their employees after the first leg.
Bantams stadium announcer Paul Deo suggested Bradford fans consider booking hotel rooms for the final at Wembley next month in the aftermath of their victory.
When told of Deo's comments said, Lambert said: "I never heard that. But we'll see what happens. If he said that, then maybe it's a bit disrespectful.
"You don't count your chickens. Football's got a great habit of kicking you somewhere.
"It's disrespectful to do that. We'll see what happens after the game.
"Maybe you can understand him getting carried away, because it was their big moment.
"It was their home game. But it's disrespectful to do that to other teams."
Deo, a vicar, said: "There was absolutely no disrespect meant. It was never meant to sound like some sort of jibe, and there was no intention to be in any way smug or over confident.
"I certainly did not say 'book your hotels'. What I said was that, though it was only 'half-time' in the semi-final tie and it was far from over, Bradford fans 'could be forgiven for having a look at hotel rooms in London'.
"It was certainly not intended to be in any way disrespectful to Aston Villa, to Paul Lambert, or to Villa's staff, players or fans. If it came over that way, then I can only apologise. But there was certainly nothing like that deliberately intended."
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