Villa stun Juve to claim silverware
Aston Villa overcame Italian giants Juventus to win the Peace Cup on penalties on Sunday after both sides had failed to score at the end of extra time.
The Italians, who beat Real Madrid 2-1 in Friday's semi-final, put Martin O'Neill's up-and-coming team under intense pressure in a fast-paced game, played in the southern Spanish city of Seville, in which both sides failed to convert a host of chances.
In the end, Carlos Cuellar scored for Villa while Nicola Legrottaglie missed the last spot-kick to give the English Premier League side a 4-3 win on penalties. Villa keeper Brad Guzan stopped a lame shot from Italian legend Alessandro del Piero and also saved from Vincenzo Iaquinta while Steve Sidwell and Chris Herd failed to score their penalties for Villa.
The Premier League side were without England striker Emile Heskey who was suspended after picking up a red card in the 2-1 semi-final win over Porto. Juve, who finished runners-up to Inter Milan in Serie A last season, started the game with veterans Del Piero and Fabio Cannavaro on the bench.
The teams were evenly matched in the first half. Villa looked dangerous on the break, with Ashley Young and Norwegian John Carew forcing saves from Gianluigi Buffon, while Mauro Camoranesi looked impressive for Juventus.
The best chance came from 19-year-old Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton, who found space on the right in the 41st minute and hit a powerful low shot that was blocked by the Italian keeper. Juventus stepped up the pace in the second half, but could not find a way past American keeper Guzan.
David Trezequet in particular missed what appeared to be an easy chance for Juventus when he blasted over the bar in the 63rd minute from close range. The French international also had an overhead kick saved by Guzan in the first half of extra time.
Twelve clubs took part in the prestigious pre-season Peace Cup tournament. The tournament began life in 2003 and this year is the first time it has been held outside of Korea Republic.