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Benteke closes in on Villa record

Christian Benteke has had more praise heaped on him by Paul Lambert as he closes in on a 32-year goalscoring record at Aston Villa.

• Agbonlahor - a man for all seasons

On the same day that Gabby Agbonlahor moved level with Dwight Yorke as the club's all-time joint scorer in the Premier League, Benteke struck at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to leave himself within sight of Peter Withe in a separate chart.

The Belgium international's late clincher in the 3-1 victory over Stoke means he has scored 25 goals in 2012-13 for clubs (Villa and Genk) and country.

And his tally of 15 goals in England's top-flight is just five behind the 1980-81 record of Withe, who is the last man to have hit 20 league goals in a season for Villa.

"He was brilliant," Lambert said of the 22-year-old's contribution at Stoke. "He was up there on his own, he has played every game for Belgium and for ourselves and I don't think you can turn around and say he looked tired. The guy has been absolutely fantastic.

"He has been terrific. He played for Genk before our season started, he played every game for the national team and then played for us.

"His goal was great; that bit of skill to get through and then to put the ball in the back of the net is the hardest thing."

Benteke has scored 19 goals for the Midlands side in all, including four in the Capital One Cup, and is well placed to become the first Villa player since Juan Pablo Angel, nearly a decade ago, to score 20 in all competitions in a season.

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