Aston Villa secured a fifth win in their final pre-season outing. Dean Smith’s beat RB Leipzig 3-1 at the Red Bull Arena.
Champions League contenders Leipzig fielded a strong side to match an equally competitive Villa team. New signings Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet had to settle for a spot on the bench.
Having signed from Burnley on Thursday, Tom Heaton started and impressed in goal, by making an exceptional reaction stop in the second half. He was arguably Man of the Match on his debut.
After controlling the first quarter of the half, Conor Hourihane’s well-executed free-kick was the solitary goal Villa had to show for their positive start. Bending the ball outwards of the Leipzig wall, Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulasci never looked like getting close to it.
Competing well across the pitch, Villa were unlucky to be pegged back through Yussuf Poulsen on the half an hour mark. The tall Dane pounced on Timo Werner’s deflected effort, and tapped home from yards out, at the far post.
As half time approached, Tyrone Mings squandered the opportunity to put Villa back ahead before the second half. Hourihane’s quality from a dead ball was for all to see again, though Mings’ effort on goal struck Gulasci’s crossbar.
The German hosts stepped up their threat in the second period, but thanks to Tom Heaton, Villa remained level. Marcel Sabitzer’s header from 6 yards out demanded a top reaction save to keep it from hitting Villa’s net, and Heaton produced in some fashion. Throwing his body weight against his direction of travel, the English stopper clawed the ball from his goal line to keep Villa level.
Heaton‘s heroics at one end, Hourihane’s at the other. The Irishman’s wand of a left foot produced yet another goal directly from a free-kick. All be it fortuitous through a deflection, Hourihane’s second of the afternoon handed villa the lead again.
John McGinn added a third before the death, after tidy work from Trezeguet on the left flank. The Egyptian switched the ball, and cutting inside on his left foot, McGinn whipped the ball into the far corner to seal a well-earned win in Germany.
Ahead of their Premier League return, Dean Smith may choose to add to his squad before Thursday’s deadline. Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Villa next Saturday.