Villa stifle Leeds; Wolves steal points from Newcastle, West Brom win

Sports Desk, Feb 27 (EFE).- Aston Villa held Leeds United 0-1 Saturday to edge up to eighth place in the Premier League, while Wolverhampton secured a draw at Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion won for only the third time this season, defeating a Brighton side who failed to convert two penalties.

Anwar El Ghazi staked Villa to an early lead with a goal in the 5th minute off a corner.

The initial kick was poor, but Ollie Watkins gathered the ball and got it to El Ghazi, who beat Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier from close range.

Leeds, with 70 percent possession, pressed hard for the equalizer, yet visiting keeper Emi Martinez was never really troubled and Villa improved to 39 points, just 1 behind Liverpool and Everton.

Marcelo Bielsa’s squad remain 10th on 35 points.

At St. James’ Park, 17th-place Newcastle saw a chance to put some distance between themselves and the drop zone evaporate when Wolverhampton’s Ruben Neves scored in the 73rd minute to cancel out Jamaal Lascelles’ goal early in the second half.

The Magpies set the pace in the first half. Miguel Almiron hit the post and Allan Saint-Maximin had a goal disallowed for offside.

While the hosts lost a step after both Almiron and Saint-Maximin went off with injuries, it seemed that the Lascelles goal would be enough until Wolves rallied in the final 20 minutes.

Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, seeing his first action since suffering an injury last August, had to be sharp in the final seconds of stoppage time to stop Fabio Silva from winning the match for Wolves.

The result leaves Wolves in 12th place with 34 points. Newcastle have 26 points, just 4 more than 18th-place Fulham.

Kyle Bartley’s goal in the 11th minute of Saturday’s match at the Hawthorns gave second-from-bottom West Brom a rare opportunity to play with the lead.

Brighton & Hove Albion were poised to equalize in the 18th minute when the referee awarded a penalty for hand ball, but Pascal Gross hit the cross-bar.

Ten minutes later, the Seagulls won a free kick just outside the area. The Baggies were still in the process of setting up the wall when Lewis Dunk took the kick and beat keeper Sam Johnstone.

The referee initially waved off the goal, saying that he hadn’t blown his whistle for the kick, though a loud toot was heard before Dunk struck the ball.

Then the officials reversed course and allowed the goal, only for VAR to intervene and definitively rule it out.

Brighton got yet another chance to draw level with 15 minutes left after Gross was brought down in the box. This time, Danny Welbeck took the kick, but he likewise hit the woodwork.

The point brings West Brom to 8 points from safety. Brighton are 16th on 26 points, the same as Newcastle but ahead on goal difference. EFE


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