Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Aston Villa, Sheffield in goalless draw on Premier League return

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, left, challenges for the ball with Sheffield United's John Lundstram during their English Premier League football match at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Shaun Botterill /Pool via AP).

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, left, challenges for the ball with Sheffield United's John Lundstram during their English Premier League football match at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Shaun Botterill /Pool via AP).

Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland was spared by malfunctioning goal-line technology as Dean Smith's side played out a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United at Villa Park.

Three minutes before half-time in the English Premier League's first game back from the coronavirus shutdown, Nyland collided with team-mate Keinan Davis after catching Oliver Norwood's free-kick and tumbled inside the side-netting – appearing to carry the ball over the line.

But referee Michael Oliver was not given the signal on his watch to award the goal.

That apparent mishap could prove crucial for second-bottom Villa, who are a point behind Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham immediately above them with nine matches remaining in the 2019-20 campaign.

Villa were largely the better side, although not to the extent that they merited such a stroke of fortune, with Nyland's opposite number Dean Henderson making fine saves from Conor Hourihane, Davis and the returning John McGinn in a contrastingly accomplished showing.

United's John Lundstram had a shot blocked by Douglas Luiz with 20 minutes to play but Chris Wilder's side was unable to secure a win that would have overhauled Manchester United in fifth place.

Players from both teams took a knee for the first 10 seconds of the match in a show of support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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