Martinez masterclass denies Brighton at every turn to rescue sluggish Villa

An imperious goalkeeping performance from Emiliano Martinez frustrated Brighton from start to finish to ensure Aston Villa escaped with a draw.

Brighton started the brighter of the two sides and could’ve taken the lead inside 10 minutes.

Joel Veltman’s accurate cross picked out Alexis Mac Allister making a late run from deep. The Argentine rose high to meet the ball uncontested but powered his header over the bar.

Aston Villa were lacking their usual attacking verve. But for a few moments of magic from Jack Grealish, the visitors were largely anonymous in the final third.

Emiliano Martinez was in fine form, however, pulling off superb acrobatic stops from Leandro Trossard and then Dan Burn to preserve the stalemate going into the break.

The second half began in the same way the first ended, with Martinez again denying Brighton’s attackers with crucial saves.

Veltman was next to test the Villa stopper but once more the ex-Arsenal keeper answered the call with another leaping one-handed save.

Grealish then had green grass in front of him as a rare opportunity to counter opened up.

The Villa talisman uncharacteristically dribbled back into traffic, however, as Brighton were able to scamper back and shuffle the ball to safety.

A late Trossard free-kick provided Brighton’s last chance to snatch a winner. The Belgian’s effort was struck straight into the wall, however, with his rebound a tame effort that Martinez again hoovered up comfortably.

 

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