BURNLEY, England (AP) — Matty Cash’s first goals for Aston Villa in more than a year inspired the team to a 3-1 victory over Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.
The right back came into the starting side as the only unforced change from Villa’s 5-0 midweek win over Hibernian in the Europa Conference League playoffs and ensured there was no European hangover for Unai Emery's team by scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes.
Lyle Foster gave Burnley hope with a goal two minutes into the second half, but Moussa Diaby — who set up one of Cash's goals — restored Villa’s two-goal advantage just after the hour as the visitors ended a five-match winless league run on the road.
The Villa team bus was damaged after being attacked on the motorway following the game. A brick was thrown at the windscreen from a footbridge on the M65 in Lancashire as the Villa team began its journey home. Nobody was hurt but the matter is being investigated by Lancashire Police. Burnley said it was “saddened and dismayed” by the incident.
Burnley built its Championship title-winning campaign on the back of a 21-match unbeaten run at Turf Moor, but has started life back in the Premier League with back-to-back home defeats after losing to Manchester City in the opening round.
Cash, playing as a wing back, needed only eight minutes to score, sliding in to poke home Ollie Watkins’ cross after John McGinn’s lofted ball over the top had left Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford caught in two minds.
It was the Poland international’s first goal since the final day of the 2021-22 season and there would soon be another with Cash at the heart of a slick passing move.
Cutting in from the right to collect Watkins’ pass, Cash laid the ball off for Diaby on the right side of the box and then charged into the center to lash home the resulting cross.
Burnley looked rusty after the postponement of last weekend’s trip to Luton left the team with an enforced rest and was overrun defensively as the chances kept coming.
Cash tried a spectacular volley from Lucas Digne’s deep cross in the 35th minute but Hannes Delcroix, making his Burnley debut after arriving in midweek from Anderlecht, got in a block to send it over the crossbar.
Cash again linked up with Diaby, whose deflected cross found Watkins, but Trafford was in the right place to deny him from point-blank range.
Burnley had done little to threaten the goal of Robin Olsen, making his first Premier League start since New Year’s Day with Argentina international Emi Martinez sidelined by a calf strain, but things changed immediately at the start of the second half.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson, on as a substitute, headed a deep ball back into the box and Foster had the power to hold off Pau Torres and spin to fire beyond Olsen.
Burnley was suddenly on top. Sander Berge sent in a cross begging for a touch, then Zeki Amdouni caused panic between Torres and Olsen. More confusion between Olsen and Boubacar Kamara allowed Berge to run into the box, winning a corner from which Olsen did well to deny Delcroix a debut goal.
Having coped with the pressure, Villa hit Burnley on the break just after the hour. McGinn shrugged off a shirt pull from Ameen Al-Dakhil to play in Digne, who pulled the ball back for Diaby to find the bottom right corner. The goal survived a VAR check for offside.
Watkins should have made it four in the 67th minute when he beat Delcroix to a low cross but Trafford again denied him from close range.
Villa started the season with a 5-1 loss at Newcastle before responding by beating Everton 4-0.
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The Associated Press