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Stiliyan Petrov in first Aston Villa appearance since his battle with leukaemia

By Staff Reporter

Stiliyan Petrov made his first Aston Villa appearance in more than four years as Roberto Di Matteo's side hammered Austrians Gak 1902 8-0.

Petrov played the second half as Villa romped home over their opponents, the 37-year-old stepping up his comeback after beating leukaemia.

Bulgaria midfielder Petrov last turned out for Villa in March 2012, before retiring due to his illness. The 105-cap international confirmed his comeback earlier this summer, and has now played on their pre-season tour. A Jordan Ayew double and goals from Micah Richards and Libor Kozak put Villa in total control, leading 4-0 at the break. New boss Di Matteo changed the entire team at half-time, and braces from Joe Bennett and Rudy Gestede ensured Villa coasted home.

Middlesbrough started preparations for their Premier League return by thrashing York City 6-0 at Bootham Crescent. Jordan Rhodes netted twice, with David Nugent, Albert Adomah and Adam Reach all on target, and luckless York goalkeeper Scott Flinders registering an own goal.

Belfast Telegraph


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