Villa reach final

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Football News

Aston Villa booked a place in the final of the Peace Cup, after seeing off Porto 2-1.

Both of Villa's goals were scored in the first half, Emile Heskey breaking the deadlock after 14 minutes and Steve Sidwell doubling the advantage eight minutes before half-time.

Villa had to play out the final 23 minutes with only 10 men after Heskey was sent off following a confrontation with Porto defender Maicon. The Portuguese champions pulled a late goal back through Hulk's penalty, but Martin O'Neill's side had done enough to get through.

Villa, who started the pre-season tournament with a 1-0 defeat Malaga, must now wait for Friday night's late match between Real Madrid and Juventus to see who they will meet in Sunday's final.

O'Neill's men were quickly on top against Porto thanks to Heskey, who got in front of his marker to direct Marc Albrighton's low cross from the right past Nuno.

Porto midfielder Raul Meireles and Villa striker John Carew then came close to netting for their respective sides, before Sidwell put the Barclays Premier League club 2-0 ahead in the 37th minute.

Porto defender Bruno Alves was unable to deal with a Villa corner from the right -and after the ball had deflected kindly into his path, Sidwell smashed a rising shot into the roof from close range.

Villa found themselves reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute when Heskey, who was carried off just six minutes into the opening match against Malaga after a clash of heads, was dismissed.

Villa were indebted to goalkeeper Brad Guzan for keeping their two-goal lead intact as he made superb one-handed saves to deny Hulk and Cristian Rodriguez - although it was not all one-way traffic, Villa also hitting the bar from a corner.

Guzan was finally beaten in injury time when Hulk, having won the kick himself after being brought down by Nigel Reo-Coker, slammed home a penalty - but it was not enough to deny Villa a place in the final.

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

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Brad Guzan
Nigel Reo-Coker
John Carew
Emile Heskey
Premier League
Aston Villa
Steve Sidwell

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