Sheffield Wednesday's play-off hopes suffer setback as Aston Villa strike twice
Aston Villa dented Sheffield Wednesday's play-off hopes with a 2-0 Championship win thanks to two goals from striker Jonathan Kodjia.
It was a big setback for Wednesday who played with only 10 men for most of the second half after Vincent Sasso received a red card
The sending off of Sasso for a heavy tackle on Conor Hourihane on the halfway line effectively killed off any hopes of them completing the double over Villa.
The Frenchman, who had been recruited from the Portuguese club Braga, could have no complaints. Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal did complain and was sent to the stands.
Wednesday now have only one win in five games after Kodjia took his tally for the season to 15 with his latest brace of goals.
Villa went into the game with the joint fourth worst goalscoring record in the Championship and based on their early play it was not difficult to understand their present predicament.
It was the Owls who were the more positive in the early stages with Sam Winnall having an excellent chance to open the scoring only to fire his shot wide of the post.
Winnall was then set up by Adam Reach but on this occasion his shot was blocked by Sam Johnstone.
With the emphasis on attack Wednesday were a persistent danger in sharp contrast to Villa operating with just Kodjia as the sole striker.
Villa's first serious goal attempt came from a Conor Hourihane's free kick which was narrowly headed wide by Mile Jedinak.
The rampaging Winnall continued to be a thorn in Villa's defence. Along with Jordan Rhodes they increasingly became a difficult duo to handle by an over-stretched Villa defence.
Rhodes, who nearly joined Villa in the January transfer window, did manage to get the ball into the net in a goalmouth scramble but it was disallowed.
Many of Wednesday's attacks were set up by former Villa midfielder Barry Bannan.
Out of the blue Villa went ahead in the 35th minute when Kodjia notched his 14th goal of the season.
Hourihane played a corner back to James Bree who returned the ball to the Irishman who in turn produced a perfect cross to the far post where Kodjia was on hand to head into the far corner of the net.
Ross Wallace, who had scored in his last two games, immediately had an opportunity to put Wednesday back on level terms but blasted his effort wide from a good position.
Two minutes into the second half Wednesday's game plan fell apart when Sasso was sent off for an over-zealous tackle on Hourihane.
Carvalhal protested vigorously and was sent to the stand by referee Lee Probert.
Two minutes later Villa should have put the game out of Wednesday's reach. Kodjia made a run down the right and pulled the ball back into the path of the unmarked Hutton who screwed his shot wide.
But Kodjia ran through unchecked to notch his second goal in the 79th minute when the Ivory Coast striker casually slipped the ball past Keiren Westwood.