What happened when Aston Villa played Bristol Rovers in a secret friendly at Bodymoor Heath

Diego Carlos made his long-awaited return to action for Aston Villa when Unai Emery’s men were beaten 3-1 in a closed-doors friendly against Bristol Rovers at Bodymoor Heath.

The Brazilian started alongside Tyrone Mings in the Villa defense with Lucas Digne, Calum Chambers, Ashley Young, Alex Moreno, Ezri Konsa and Ollie Watkins all in attendance. Leander Dendoncker also made his return as a player after missing recent Villa games with a serious hand injury.

Villa’s squad also consisted of some under-21s, including goalkeeper James Wright. Villa meanwhile fell behind on 16 minutes when Rovers striker Josh Coburn beat Wright into the Villa goal.

Villa centre-back Konsa hit the bar with a header before that while, in the second half, Rovers extended their lead to make it 3-0 with Ryan Loft and John Marquis both scoring.

Young prospect Omari Kellyman, a benchmark for Villa’s academy teams this season, scored a late goal. The 17-year-old placed his effort well from the edge of the 18-yard box as the game ended 3-1 in favor of the League One side, with former Villans Scott Sinclair and Glenn Whelan coming off for Joey Barton’s side. . Villa also came close when Watkins had a saved effort while Young had his bold chip clear from the goal line.

Villa’s injured duo of Philippe Coutinho (hamstring) and Boubacar Kamara (ankle) were not involved this afternoon as they continue their rehabilitation ahead of Chelsea next week (1 April).

Here are the two starting XI

ASTON VILLA: Wright; Konsa, Diego Carlos, Mings, Digne; A. Young, Dendoncker, Chambers, Alex Moreno; Raikhy, Watkins.

BRISTOL ROVERS: Belshaw, Gordon, Gibbons, Connolly, Finley, Evans, McCormick, Sinclair, Macdonald, Loft, Coburn.


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