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Duran bags a pair of late goals to help Villa salvage draw against Liverpool

Jhon Duran Aston Villa Jhon Duran - Getty Images

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Substitute Jhon Duran was a late savior for Aston Villa on Monday, scoring twice in the last five minutes against Liverpool to grab a remarkable 3-3 home draw and edge his team closer to next year’s Champions League.

Watched by Villa fan Tom Hanks, who was in the ground in a claret tracksuit top, Villa played its part in a thrilling match in front of a packed house that Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp described as “rocking.”

A win would have confirmed a place in the English Premier League top four for Unai Emery’s side and a place in the European Cup for the first time since 1983.

But the home side went behind in the second minute with a bizarre own goal from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and although Youri Tielemans equalized soon after, goals from Cody Gakpo and Jarell Quansah put Liverpool in the driving seat.

Until Duran’s appearance after 79 minutes.

The Colombian scored in the 85th and 88th, the second an astonishing lob executed on the run that sent Villa and its supporters wild with joy.

“We created chances but we didn’t score,” Tielemans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “We got the draw and fought right until the end and that’s the most important thing. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score more, we felt like we deserved more in the first half. It’s unlucky but we’ll take the draw.”

Villa remained in fourth place, five points ahead of Tottenham.

Villa has one game left to play and Tottenham has two, starting with Tuesday night’s visit by league leader Manchester City.

The top four qualify for the Champions League. Liverpool was third, 14 points clear of Villa.

The atmosphere was electric at kickoff but the power was quickly sapped for the home side when Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net after just 62 seconds. Harvey Elliott’s cross from the right took a deflection and the wrong-footed Martinez fumbled the ball into his own net.

It took the home side just 15 minutes to recover. Ollie Watkins did well on the left flank and cut the ball back for the unmarked Youri Tielemans to slam home from around 16 meters.

Liverpool regained the lead but only after a lengthy VAR review. Luiz Diaz fed Joe Gomez on the overlap and his low ball across goal was turned in by Cody Gakpo.

Jarell Quansah made it three early in the second half when he headed home a cross from Elliott to bag his first league goal.

And then it was Duran Duran when the Colombian slotted home from just outside the box and then scored that astonishing lob.

“Jhon Duran is a special player," Emery said on Sky Sports. “He was very clinical and today was important for him.”

The Aston Villa players will tuned into Tuesday's Spurs-Man City game. Anything other than a Spurs win means Villa are into the Champions League.

“There’s some of us that have never been close to the Champions League in our life," Villa captain John McGinn said. "We’ll have our Man City tops on tomorrow.”


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