Aston Villa hold off Nottingham Forest fightback to win 4-2

BIRMINGHAM   -  Aston Villa held off a spirited comeback attempt from Not­tingham Forest to secure a 4-2 Premier League home win on Saturday, with the hosts’ Douglas Luiz netting twice and striker Ollie Watkins and winger Leon Bailey setting each other up to score. Jamai­can Bailey looked lively from the start and he teed up Wat­kins in the fourth minute, slid­ing a perfect pass through the legs of a defender for a simple close-range finish. Villa en­joyed great success attacking down Forest’s left flank and in the 29th minute they dou­bled their advantage as Jacob Ramsey pulled the ball back for Douglas Luiz to fire home his eighth league goal of the season. Luiz was on target again 10 minutes later, head­ing home a perfect cross from John McGinn, but a goal from a corner chested home in the fifth minute of stoppage time by defender Moussa Niakhate threw the visitors a lifeline. Morgan Gibbs-White pulled another one back for Forest three minutes after the break to silence the home crowd, but their faith was quickly re­stored when Youri Tielemans hit the post and Villa began to re-assert their dominance. Bailey restored their two-goal cushion eight minutes later, reacting first to a deflected effort from Watkins to slot home from close range. For­est battled hard but only man­aged one more shot on target and Watkins could have netted his second with a late strike that flew high and wide. Villa stayed fourth in the table on 52 points, three behind Arsenal while Forest are 16th on 24 points, four above the relegation zone. After the game Luiz credited Villa coach Unai Emery with giving him the confidence to go and attack. “I just think he has lifted me, it is the truth. He has told me every day, you need to defend, and if you go you need to score,” he said in a TV interview. “We train at this every day, the gaffer helps us so much. The character of Ollie and Leon, it is great to have them in my team,” Luiz added.

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