Celebrations galore as Villans progress courtesy of a Made-In-Egypt goal!
There was very late drama as two of Villa's Egyptians combined to score the decisive goal to knock Leicester City out of the 2019/2020 Carabao Cup.
After having drawn 1-1 at the King Power Stadium some three weeks ago, both teams needed to win to be at Wembley for the final. Dean Smith made three changes to his team that beat Watford a week ago, bringing in his new signing from Genk, Mbwana Samatta.
Brendan Rodgers himself made two changes to his team that beat West Ham last week, bringing in Nigerians, Kelechi Iheanacho and key midfield enforcer, Wilfred Ndidi (probably hoping for some Nigerian magic).
Leicester City started the cold night as the better of the two teams with Iheanacho drawing a smart save from Villa's goalie Orjan Nyland. Nyland, in terrific form in front of goal, was again present to make two good saves in 5 minutes to deny James Maddison this time.
The Foxes were still pushing for the opening goal when Villa, against the run of play, took the lead. Matt Targett thumped a shot past Kasper Schmeichel after being teed up by Jack Grealish after some great hold up play from the Lions' star. This was their first shot on goal.
The Villans were then dominant for a short spell of the game; Anwar El Ghazi seeing a free kick just skim the roof of the net and Grealish having a shot blocked. Villa's new boy, Samatta had a goal disallowed after Frederic Guilbert was flagged offside just before he crossed for the Tanzanian to finish.
Leicester then went on the ascendancy. Maddison's shot going off target and Youri Tielemans' effort just tipped onto the crossbar by Nyland and Ezri Konsa getting a chest block off the resulting shot from Maddison which got a handball appeal from the Foxes' players.
Leicester had a 2nd appeal for handball quite controversially disallowed by Mike Dean who deemed that Maddison's shot coming off Marvelous Nakamba's arm this time wasn't intentional. Leicester had possession for most of the half but were unable to make it count as the first half was whistled to a close.
The 2nd half started as the 1st had ended, with Leicester in control and asking all the questions. Villa however ensured they were not left out. Grealish and Targett caused Pereira problems and combined to each have a shot on goal, dragging their shots narrowly wide.
With 56 minutes played and no feasible change to his side's position, Brendan Rodgers opted to bring in Jamie Vardy for Ayoze Perez.
Iheanacho was involved again following Harvey Barnes' short run, but his shot was straight at Nyland. Grealish grew increasingly into the game and was pulling the strings as Villa looked to secure a Final spot with a 2nd goal.
First, shooting into the stands and then placing a perfect tantalizing cross in behind the Leicester defence only for Samatta to miss the ball completely. A few minutes later Samatta was substituted off for Keinan Davis. Konsa headed agonisingly wide from a corner shortly after before Rodgers' blues got their equaliser.
With Vardy barely seeing much of the ball, Iheanacho was again on hand, smartly turning in Barnes' cross-cum-shot across goal at the back post to get his team level and in the game. At the 77th minute, Dean Smith brought in Mahmoud Trezeguet to replace his compatriot El Ghazi for the final 15 or so minutes.
It was then Maddison's turn to have a moment to impress with the Foxes looking for a 2nd goal to nick a win. He ran at the Villans' defence time and again and another Leicester moment of pressure ended with him firing a shot over the bar.
Trezeguet had an initial chance to be the hero but his weak shot after being fed through by the substitute Davis was comfortably saved by Schmeichel. Guilbert was then brought off to be replaced with Ahmed El Mohamady. Rodgers then made his own substitution, bringing on Demarai Gray for Barnes.
Both sides were doing all they could, fashioning half chances here and there. With two minutes in added time played, Villa got a long range freekick which was repelled by the Leicester defence.
El Mohamady got on the ball and crossed a fantastic ball that was seemingly guided by the Egyptian gods deep into the box behind Pereira and Trezeguet made no mistake this time, drilling the ball with a sweet left-footed volley into the in-side of the net across a petrified Schmeichel. This goal had the production mark "Made in Egypt".
This was definitely the decisive goal that would see them through to the final at Wembley. However, with a few minutes left to play, the Foxes tried to once again turn the tides and force the game into penalties. First, from a corner kick which was blazed over by Pereira and then a freekick which Maddison shot straight into the wall.
Aston Villa however held on to that lead to send their fans into a celebratory frenzy after the final whistle was blown. These players had come from the Championship to take their team to their first Carabao Cup final since 2010. What a moment!! The Birmingham-based club's fans may just have found themselves their Egyptian King. And Long may he reign.