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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Football
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Lambert hopeful of Villa comeback

Aston Villa will have to repeat history if they are to overturn their shock two-goal deficit and beat Bradford City to a place in the Wembley final of the Capital One Cup.

• Blog:A night to forget

Nineteen seasons ago Ron Atkinson's side lost by the same score in the first leg of their semi-final at Tranmere in the same competition, only to edge through in the return and then overcome Manchester United 3-1 in the final.

Newly-appointed Wolves manager Dean Saunders, who was a TV pundit at last night's pulsating tie, is one of those who believes Villa are still capable of turning round the problems they have landed themselves with against a club 60 places below them in the League structure.

But Villa boss Paul Lambert said: "That (performance) certainly wasn't good enough for me. If you defend corners like that, that's what is going to happen.

"I have seen these results loads of times and it's never good when it happens. We're going to have to regroup.

"We're still in the tie, absolutely. It will be a different game at home and it's only half-time. You have to regroup and go again.

"We have to get out of the blocks. There's no grey area. We know what we have to do. We have to play better."

The psychology behind Villa's 1994 recovery was somewhat different. They were trailing 3-0 at Prenton Park - and against a side then in the second tier - until Dalian Atkinson pulled one back right at the end.

Now, they are licking their wounds after the late Andreas Weimann goal that had appeared to give them some control of this tie was quickly matched by one at the other end from Carl McHugh. That meant the underdogs ended the evening on top of the world.

Speaking on Wednesday to compare the tasks of the two Villa teams, Ron Atkinson said: "They have got a mountain to climb. We had a better side than the current one. It's 'do-able' but they have to play better than they have been and better than they did last night."

As well as casting an eye on the January 22 return, Lambert has to hope that this latest downturn in the club's difficult season doesn't spill over into a huge Premier League home game against Southampton on Saturday.

Villa had shown signs of recovering from their festive maulings as they drew at Swansea and then beat Ipswich in the FA Cup, only for League Two opposition to re-open the defensive cracks with ease.

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