Belfast Telegraph

Aston Villa free and easy as they dispatch Magpies

Aston Villa 2 Newcastle United 0

Sweet moment: Conor Hourihane of Aston Villa celebrates scoring
Sweet moment: Conor Hourihane of Aston Villa celebrates scoring

By Robert Jones

Two goals from first-half free-kicks saw Aston Villa take a big step away from the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United.

Conor Hourihane whipped in the opener shortly before Anwar El Ghazi diverted in another delivery from the Republic of Ireland international to double their lead.

The victory takes Aston Villa four points clear of the drop zone and up into 15th in the table, just a point behind Newcastle, who offered little in response on Steve Bruce's return to Villa Park.

The difference came just after half an hour when Hourihane touched a free-kick to Jack Grealish, who trapped the ball and allowed his team-mate to fire past an unprotected Martin Dubravka, with El Ghazi the man to tap in Hourihane's sublime dead ball cross from six yards out five minutes later.

El Ghazi had a goal ruled out for offside and Grealish tested Dubravka in the second half as Villa piled on the pressure for a third in a dominant display.

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