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Egan sees red as Villa cut through Blades

Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United

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GRAPPLING: Sheffield United’s John Egan wrestles
with Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa for which he was later shown a red card following a VAR review at Villa Park

GRAPPLING: Sheffield United’s John Egan wrestles with Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa for which he was later shown a red card following a VAR review at Villa Park

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GRAPPLING: Sheffield United’s John Egan wrestles with Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa for which he was later shown a red card following a VAR review at Villa Park

Aston Villa opened their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 home victory over 10-man Sheffield United, with Ezri Konsa netting the winner after Emiliano Martinez denied the visitors with a first-half penalty save.

Villa were playing with a man more than their opponents from the 12th minute when Blades captain John Egan was shown a straight red card having been deemed to have denied Ollie Watkins a goalscoring opportunity.

But it took a great stop from debutant Martinez to prevent them from falling behind in the 36th minute as the summer signing from Arsenal kept out John Lundstram's spot-kick.

Konsa then headed home in the 63rd minute, having been teed up by fellow defender Tyrone Mings.

While Dean Smith's Villa celebrate a winning start, the result leaves Chris Wilder's Sheffield United pointless after two matches.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men when Ireland's Egan was red-carded by referee Graham Scott after tussling with Watkins as the striker attempted to latch on to a long ball forward from Mings, the decision standing after a VAR check.

As Villa attempted to take advantage, United - who replaced David McGoldrick with Ethan Ampadu around the half-hour mark - dealt well with the pressure that was applied, with Aaron Ramsdale having little problem collecting a Douglas Luiz header.

Villa made the decisive breakthrough as Targett's corner was flicked on by Mings and Konsa headed past Ramsdale.