Villa caught out by Rapid start

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Nikica Jelavic scored inside the first minute as Aston Villa were beaten 1-0 by Rapid Vienna in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier on Thursday night.

Jelavic headed home just seconds after kick-off at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium to secure a victory the Austrian side deserved for their dominance in the rest of the game.

Christopher Drazan was a constant threat for Rapid and had one good shot cleared off the line by Curtis Davies while Brad Guzan saved another.

Villa's best moments came in the second half but Davies headed over from one clear-cut opportunity and the visitors failed to seriously test opposing goalkeeper Helge Payer.

Only seconds had gone when the ball was worked out to the dangerous Drazan on the left and he whipped in a curling cross for Jelavic to head home.

Villa responded with Craig Gardner firing over while an Ashley Young cross was unconventionally punched clear by Payer.

Rapid continued to look dangerous in possession and Drazan broke clear down the left again only to deliver a poor ball into the box.

Nicky Shorey created an opportunity for Villa when he beat three men to get in a cross but Rapid cleared and Emile Heskey headed wide from a James Milner cross just before the interval.

Young created Villa's best opportunity with a brilliant turn and cross just after the hour but Davies was unable to keep his header down.

Villa finished strongly but Milner could not make the most of Young's cross and Steve Sidwell shot straight at Payer.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Brad Guzan
James Milner
Emile Heskey
Nicky Shorey
Premier League
Ashley Young
Curtis Davies
Aston Villa
Steve Sidwell
Craig Gardner

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