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Aston Villa boosted their chances of European football with a 2-1 home win over sixth-placed Tottenham to move level on points with them.

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Jacob Ramsey’s eighth-minute finish and Douglas Luiz’s second-half free-kick (72) lifted Unai Emery’s side up to seventh, which is set to be a Europa Conference League place.

Tottenham endured a miserable first half at Villa Park as they failed to have a shot, had only one touch in the opposition box and registered an expected goals of zero.

Ryan Mason’s side did, however, come close to equalising in the second half before Luiz’s set-piece strike as Emiliano Martinez denied Harry Kane, while substitute Dejan Kulusevski curled an effort just wide of the post.

But Kane scored a 90th-minute penalty to set up a nervy finish at Villa Park with Heung-Min Son having a last-minute goal ruled out for offside.

Villa eventually managed to hold on to dent Spurs’ hopes of playing European football next season as they remain sixth and are only ahead of Villa on goal difference, with both sides having two games left, while eighth-placed Brighton have three games in hand on the pair.

How Villa turned up heat on European rivals

Tottenham have had a habit of conceding early goals in recent games and that continued at Villa Park as Ramsey swept home first time from Leon Bailey’s cross to give the home side an eighth-minute lead.

The visitors failed to react as they produced a woeful first-half performance that was met by boos at half-time by the away fans, who had not seen their side have an attempt at goal in the opening 45 minutes.

Villa, meanwhile, should have been further ahead going into the break. Fraser Forster denied Bailey in the 32nd minute with a fine one-handed save after the winger hit a low first-time shot from Ollie Watkins’ cross.

Two minutes before half-time, Emiliano Buendia hit the woodwork after curling an effort from Ramsey’s pass.

Normal service resumed early in the second half as Forster saved from Buendia, but the visitors were nearly gifted an equaliser moments later.

Luiz was robbed near his own box as the ball rolled into Kane’s path only for the striker to fire straight at Martinez from just inside the area.

Kane’s chance sparked Spurs into life as Kulusevski curled just inches wide of the far post in the 65th minute.

But seven minutes later Villa made it 2-0 as Luiz curled in a free-kick from 25 yards out beyond Forster, who would have been disappointed with his one-handed effort.

Douglas Luiz celebrates making it 2-0 with a free-kick

Spurs were then given the chance of an unlikely comeback when the visitors were awarded a late penalty after Martinez brought down Kane following a lengthy VAR check.

The Tottenham captain hammered in for his 27th Premier League goal of the season but it was too late despite Son having a 95th-minute goal disallowed for offside.

What’s next?

Up next for Aston Villa is a crucial game in their quest for Europe as they face fellow contenders Liverpool at Anfield next Saturday, kick-off 3pm. Unai Emery’s side then host Brighton on the final day of the season.

Tottenham will also get a better understanding of which European competition they will be in after their next game against Brentford next Saturday, kick-off 12.30pm. Spurs then visit Leeds on the final day of the season on May 28.


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