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SAVO SALVO!; Aston Villa 3 Leeds Utd 0 All Dwight on the night for Little.

SAVO MILOSEVIC picked the perfect moment to deliver on his season- long promise to give Aston Villa "a big goal".

Serbian striker Milosevic chose the Wembley stage to launch a stunning 21th minute shot which shattered Coca-Cola Cup final opponents Leeds.

Super Savo's flash of magic wiped away the memory of so many wasted Premiership chances which led to the 22- year-old Yugoslav international being cruelly labelled Missalotevic!

Villa's pounds 3.6 million summer signing from Partizan Belgrade left Leeds dazzled and dazed as he drifted forward from just inside the opposing half.

Team-mate Ian Taylor scattered United's defence with a dummy run which drew their cover - and Milosevic did the rest with a ferocious, swerving left-foot drive which dipped under the bar from 22 yards.

Chasing

Keeper John Lukic had no chance. And sadly for Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson, the same could be said about his entire team as well, because the Yorkshire outfit were always chasing the game from then on.

Hard-working Taylor, Villa manager Brian Little's first signing, widened the gap by firing Villa's second goal after 55 minutes.

When Lucas Radebe hooked out Alan Wright's left-wing centre, pounds 1m midfielder Taylor lashed a 12-yard volley inches inside Lukic's right hand post even though John Pemberton was guarding the line.

In the final minute Milosevic released a killer pass inside the box which top scorer Dwight Yorke gleefully belted past Lukic for his 23rd goal this season.

Milosevic said: "This is a dream come true for me. At the moment, I can hardly believe what is happening. Many of your footballers spend years and years without being allowed to tread the Wembley turf. Now, I have done it and scored a goal as well."

Villa's delirious fans chanted: "There's only one Brian Little."

And no wonder. Less than 12 months after escaping the threat of relegation by one place in the table, the 42-year-old boss seems to have found the key to soccer success.

The Coca-Cola Cup is heading for Villa's trophy cabinet, together with a guaranteed passport to Europe.

And on this form who can bet against them overcoming Liverpool in next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford? Little will now be rewarded with a new contract - extended until 1999 with a pounds 1,000 a week pay rise increasing his salary to pounds 250,000.

Drumming

He said: "I feel so pleased for all my players, because they rose to the big occasion exactly as I had hoped.

"I stressed all along that simply reaching Wembley was not enough - when you get there, you have to win the game or face total disappointment. We have one cup on the sideboard, and I shall spend this week drumming in the message that we are good enough to beat Liverpool, and then go on to add the FA Cup to our collection of silverware."

Wilkinson had taken the brave step of tossing in 18-year-old Andy Gray, son of Elland Road hero Frank and nephew of Eddie.

The kid did well enough in only his fourth start, even forcing a couple of saves by Villa keeper Mark Bosnich early in the second half.

But there was precious little threat from United, even though Brian Deane and then Tomas Brolin were sent on as substitutes in the second half in a desperate bid to halt the one-way traffic.

Tony Yeboah's danger man tag was destroyed by Villa's cast-iron defence.

They were superbly organised by the ageless Paul McGrath, who blocked Yeboah's only chance in the 76th minute.

Then Carlton Palmer planted a firm header over the bar from Brolin's left-wing cross. But that was the top and bottom of it from Leeds, who simply found Villa too hot to handle.

HOW THEY RATED

IN WEMBLEY'S COCA-COLA CUP SHOWPIECE

ASTON VILLA

MARK BOSNICH: The Aussie enjoyed a fairly quiet afternoon..................7

GARY CHARLES: Looked so at home and composed on the Wembley turf..........7

ALAN WRIGHT: Sat tight instead of going on his usual forward runs.............7

GARETH SOUTHGATE: Recovering from ankle trouble, but immediately hit form with cool display.8

PAUL McGRATH: The Irish veteran produced yet another top display............8

UGO EHIOGU: Spoken of as a future England captain and you could see why on this display.........................8

IAN TAYLOR: Topped off non-stop running with a superb second goal.............8

MARK DRAPER: Ran the game for lone periods. Surely deserves an England chance soon........................9

SAVO MILOSEVIC: Villa's super Serb celebrated his Wembley debut with the wonder opening goal..........8

DWIGHT YORKE: Villa's top scorer was always a handful for Leeds, and deserved a goal for his non-stop endeavour...................8

ANDY TOWNSEND: Skipper used all his international experience to steady things down. Always driving on. Hardly wasted a ball..............8

LEEDS UNITED

JOHN LUKIC: Handled everything well and couldn't really be faulted for the goals...............................7

GARY KELLY: Got forward with his usual pace and enthusiasm down the right...7

JOHN PEMBERTON: Had his work cut out coping with Yorke and Milosevic at the heart of defence.........6

DAVID WETHERALL: Stood firm under a lot of pressure and dependable as ever......6

LUCAS RADEBE: Found wanting as Villa poured forward (Replaced by Tomas Brolin, 66mins).......6

GARY SPEED: Battled bravely just a month after fracturing a cheekbone but little chances to shine.......6

MARK FORD: Unlucky to be sacrificed at half-time when Leeds decided to make a change. (Replaced by Brian Deane, 45mins).................6

GARY McALLISTER: Not his usual assertive self at the heart of a midfield that was simply outplayed...........6

CARLTON PALMER: Worked tirelessly but struggled to make any real impact..................6

ANDY GRAY: Given a shock call-up, and the 18-year-old responded superbly down the left flank.............8

TONY YEBOAH: Solitary figure up front and frequently outnumbered. Little chance to produce his usual fireworks.........................6

REFEREE: Robbie Hart (Darlington)...........................8
COPYRIGHT 1996 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Moore, David
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 25, 1996
Words:975
Previous Article:SHAY STADIUM!; the young keeper Given his chance at Lansdowne Road.
Next Article:Not a lot to pick, Mick!


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