BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Aston Villa revived their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League and ended a 10-game winless streak as two goals by Egyptian forward Trezeguet gave them a 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The result lifted Villa one place to 18th on 30 points from 35 games, but they are still four points adrift of safety, while Palace stayed 14th on 42 points after a fifth successive defeat.
Villa manager Dean Smith praised his lively forward Trezeguet, who has endured a patchy start to his Premier League career since joining Villa from Turkish side Kasimpasa last year.
“He’s performed really well in the last two games,” said Smith. “He fully deserves his place. It’s funny, Trez is another one who came into the place last summer and it’s taken a while to adapt. His attitude is spot on, he works his socks off.”
Palace made a bright start and had a goal disallowed in the seventh minute after a VAR check deemed that the ball came off Mamadou Sakho’s arm although it appeared to have struck his shoulder.
Trezeguet fired Villa ahead in first-half stoppage time when he met a Conor Hourihane free kick at the far post and side-footed it superbly into the opposite corner from close range.
The home side had a penalty awarded by referee Martin Atkinson overturned after a lengthy VAR check, before Trezeguet doubled their lead in the 59th minute with a clinical finish from seven metres.
Atkinson sent off Palace striker Christian Benteke, a former Villa player, after the final whistle when the towering Belgian aimed a kick at home defender Ezri Konsa.
Tempers also flared in the first half when Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Palace winger Wilfried Zaha were both booked after a scuffle involving several players from the two teams.
Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond and Hugh Lawson