Aston Villa crash out of Carling Cup as Arsenal show class

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa crashed out out of the Carling Cup last night, losing to the League One side Doncaster Rovers 3-0 in the fourth round.

The embarrassing defeat was in stark contrast to Arsenal's march into the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Reading, while Birmingham City were forced to penalties to squeeze past Millwall after they had been locked 2-2 at the end of extra time at the New Den.

The Aston Villa assistant manager, Roy Aitken, had warned his players before the match last night that they needed a Premiership-quality display at Belle Vue if they were to avoid becoming Doncaster's second big Carling Cup scalp of the season after Manchester City. But his worst fears were realised when Doncaster marched into the last eight for the first time.

David O'Leary, the Villa manager, said: "We came here wanting to win and I would hate to take anything away from Doncaster."

Robin van Persie continued his goalscoring run, slotting home the second of Arsenal's goals in their 3-0 romp over Reading at Highbury. Jose Antonio Reyes and Arturo Lupoli were the other scorers.

Peter De Savary's reign as the Millwall chairman began with a defeat as Stan Lazaridis steered home the winning spot-kick for Birmingham City, who were pegged back twice by an unrelenting home side.