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DELANEY DISMISSAL MARS VILLA'S DEBUT

Dukla Pribram 0-0 Aston Villa
InterToto Cup Third Round First leg

Villa full back Mark Delaney was sent off as John Gregory’s side began their Intertoto Cup campaign with a scoreless draw in Prague.

Delaney was ordered off after 80 minutes for violent conduct, after foolishly kicking out at Pribram goalkeeper Michal Spit in an off-the-ball incident.

It is the third time in ten games Delaney has seen red and he will now miss the return leg at Villa Park as well as recieve a club fine for his conduct.

Aston Villa, back in competitive action weeks ahead of schedule, looked ring rusty in the first half, giving their small band of travelling fans little to cheer about. It was a story of plenty of possession, but little end product for the Villains.

Ugo Ehiogu created an opportunity for Dion Dublin after 10 minutes, but Dublin’s shot was well saved by home keeper Spit.

Meanwhile Pribram, who finished sixth in the Czech League last season, grew in confidence – twice going close in the opening period.

Villa had a scare 10 minutes after the break when Rudolf Otepka swept the ball in from the right. David James seemed hesitant and was left stranded, but Ehiogu was on hand to clear the danger.

Villa stepped up the pace as the game wore on and skipper Paul Merson got on the end of a long ball from Gareth Barry to prod it into the net, but the Cypriot referee ruled out his effort for an infringement.

Merson again went close in the 61st minute when he drove a shot just wide of the target after being released by Dublin.

Gregory sent speesy forward Darius Vassell on in the 70th minute and the youngster quickly made his mark, seeing a close range shot saved by keeper Spit.

Delaney’s dismissal forced Villa to battle for a draw in the last 10 minutes but, having kept a clean sheet, they must be confident of going through after Saturday’s return leg at The Hawthorns, home of West Brom.

Dukla Pribram: Spit, Macha, Mynal, Ohepak (Novak 81), Fiman, Schindler, Rychlik, Garlic, Kincesa (Zustak 62), Jerolim, Pulic, Smekal (Riegel 55).
Subs Not Used: Kajlann, Podzemsky, Smekal, Nehoda.
Booked: Garlic, Zustak.


Aston Villa: James, Barry, Delaney, Ehiogu, Samuel, Wright, Stone (Vassell 70), Taylor, Boateng, Merson, Dublin.
Subs Not Used: McGrath., Enckelman, Walker, Thompson, Standing, Joachim.
Sent Off: Delaney (80).


Att: 7,852
Ref: Andrius Georgious (Cyprus).
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is reaction to that match!

Sunday 16th July 2000
BAD BOY DELANEY TO BE PUNISHED


Aston Villa manager John Gregory has confirmed Mark Delaney will be fined after being sent off in Villa’s Intertoto Cup match against Dukla Pribram.

With 10 minutes remaining in the third-round first-leg match in the Czech Republic, the 24-year-old Welsh defender kicked out at keeper Michal Spit.

It is the third time Delaney has been sent off in his last 10 matches for club and country after being dismissed in the FA Cup semi-final win over Bolton and then in Wales' clash with Portugal.

Gregory said: "Mark claims the keeper punched him in the face and he retaliated.I have no complaints about the sending off. I presume he will miss the second leg and he will be disciplined by the club."

Gregory was happier with the result in what was Villa's first competitive match of the season.

He said: "It was kind of what I expected, although I would have liked to have won. Their keeper did well and I looked at our players after 15 minutes and thought `Oh Jesus'.

"But you always get that in the first game and I am fairly pleased at the way things went. There are no real mugs in Europe. You can't walk in and expect to win."

He added: "Pribram passed it quite well but our boys said it was a great workout. There was a lot at stake and a lot of pressure but we have come through it."
 
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