Bailey stars as Villa beat spirited Leeds

Maximilian Wober of Leeds United and Leon Bailey of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on January 13, 2023 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Leon Bailey had a hand in both goals as Aston Villa started the Premier League weekend with victory over a slightly unlucky Leeds.

The Jamaican winger finished off a quick counter-attack after a great run by Boubacar Kamara in just the third minute to put the hosts ahead.

That was Villa's only shot in the first half, with Leeds having two penalty appeals rejected, a Rodrigo goal disallowed for offside and missing big chances.

Villa debutant Alex Moreno denied Rodrigo with a goalline clearance and keeper Emiliano Martinez pulled off a wonderful reaction stop to deny Jack Harrison from close range.

Unai Emery's hosts were better in the second half and they got the goal to make them more comfortable - thanks to the video assistant referee.

Bailey's shot was saved by Illan Meslier with Emiliano Buendia heading the rebound over the grounded goalkeeper.

The goal was ruled out for offside but the VAR told referee Michael Oliver that Buendia was clearly onside - and it was given.

Leeds were given hope in the final 10 minutes though when Wilfried Gnonto cut the ball back for Patrick Bamford, making his return after two-and-a-half months out with a groin injury, to slam home.

But they could not find an equaliser and remain only two points above the relegation zone, with Villa eight points further up the table in 11th.

It was not a perfect night for Villa, who lost left-back Lucas Digne and striker Ollie Watkins to injury in the first half.

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