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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 April 2021

Sublime Shane Long fizzes in Baggies double but Villa snatch draw

The Irish striker’s touch for his first goal was reminiscent of Denis Bergkamp at his best.

Shane Long opens the scoring for WBA at the Hawthorns.
Shane Long opens the scoring for WBA at the Hawthorns.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION squandered a two-goal lead at the Hawthorns to draw 2-2 against a determined Aston Villa side. The Baggies were 2-0 against Villa after 11 minutes thanks to a wondrous double from their Irish striker.

The Tipperary native broke a 10-game scoreless streak for his club with a goal against Chelsea two weeks ago and kept up the habit with a first-half brace against Paul Lambert’s men.

His first goal was effortless in its simplicity yet a joy to behold. He pulled down a diagonal long ball from teammate Chris Brunt with his right foot and shifted it inside to his left before unleashing a low drive.

YouTube credit: allthegreatgoals

Eight minutes later and it was 2-0. Leandro Bacuna played a horrendous ball across the Villa backline that fell to Long. He took a touch to get himself, and the ball, away from Nathan Baker before chipping a deft effort in off the underside of the bar as goalkeeper Brad Guzan watched on helplessly.

YouTube credit: bOOPER312

Long’s teammate Stephane Sessegnon then missed a sitter from four yards out before Villa responded through Libor Kozak. He controlled a Christian Benteke flicked header before rattling the woodwork with a rising strike.

The hat-trick never arrived for Long as Steve Clarke’s side failed to close out the tie. Karim El Ahmadi roofed a strike from close range after 67 minutes and Ashley Westwood swerved in a low strike to level affairs. The sides could not be separated on the night and remain side by side in the league table, with WBA 11th and Villa a spot further behind.

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Patrick McCarry

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