Swansea City pulled further away from the Premier League’s relegation zone as Federico Fernandez’ freak goal secured a 1-0 victory over a seemingly-doomed Aston Villa at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
- Swansea 1 Aston Villa 0
- Guzan mistake leads to Fernandez winner
- Villa improved but wasteful
- Welsh club on verge of survival
- Visitors destined for Championship
After a goalless first half, Swansea snatched the win when Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan flapped at a cross, diverting the ball onto the unknowing Fernandez, gifting him his first goal for the Welsh club.
Ahead of Sunday’s crucial Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland, Francesco Guidolin’s men are now 11 points clear of the drop zone, albeit having played two more matches than the North East duo.
Villa, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the table on 16 points, four wins away from 17th-placed Norwich City.
Manager Remi Garde has reason to argue Villa were unlucky, as his side more than held their own and perhaps had more of the admittedly few chances.
In a promising start for the Midlanders, Ghana forward Jordan Ayew squandered a good opening when firing the ball over from the edge of the area with two men in support.
Swans striker Bafetimbi Gomis did likewise, before Villa frontman Rudy Gestede, who had a running battle with the hosts’ captain, Ashley Williams, saw his overhead kick blocked by his adversary.
Despite their encouraging first half display, Garde was eventually left to rue his players’ lack of a cutting edge as Swansea gradually took control of the second period.
Guidolin responded to a lacklustre opening 45 minutes by replacing midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung with Leon Brittain, and would have been relieved to watch as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Modou Barrow grew in influence.
And on 53 minutes it was Barrow who drew a foul, allowing Sigurdsson to deliver the free-kick which led to Guzan’s error and Fernandez’ winner.