Norwich City 1 Aston Villa 4 - match report
Andreas Weimann scored twice to give Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert a happy return to Carrow Road after a thrilling Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Norwich City.
The home side took the lead through Steve Morison in a pulsating first half before Brett Holman equalised for Villa with another 20-yard screamer.
Norwich had their chances in the second half but Austria international Weimann pounced twice from close range before Christian Benteke put the icing on the cake with a fine team goal late on.
Villa boss Lambert made four changes from the side which drew 0-0 with Stoke at the weekend including a recall for striker Darren Bent in place of Gabby Agbonlahor in attack.
Shay Given replaced Brad Guzan in goal while Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi came in for Barry Bannan and the cup-tied Ashley Westwood in midfield.
The match began at frenetic tempo and Norwich hit the post from their first attack when Morison's cross-shot rebounded out off the upright.
Bent then had a golden chance at the other end when he was put through by Holman only to see his low shot saved at the near post saved by Mark Bunn in the Norwich goal.
Delph's sweetly-struck long-range effort brought a fingertip save from Bunn in the 12th minute while Given had a let-off shortly afterwards when his clearance was closed down by Morison and rolled across the box with the net unguarded.
Both sides continued to create chances aplenty and Norwich took the lead in the 19th minute when Grant Holt flicked on a long ball to Morison who lifted the ball over Given as the Villa keeper attempted to narrow the angle.
Villa equalised two minutes later when Matthew Lowton lifted a high ball into Benteke on the edge of the Norwich box and the Belgium international knocked it down into the path of Holman who blasted a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from 20 yards.
There was no let up in the game and Bunn denied Lowton, Benteke and Bent in quick succession while Nathan Baker cut out a dangerous cross in the six-yard box with Morison ready to pounce.
Villa were dealt a blow in the 35th minute when Bent limped out of the action clutching the back of his leg and was replaced by super sub Weimann.
The second half began in a similar fashion and Morison almost scored a carbon copy goal when he was put through only to lift his shot on to the roof of the net this time.
Morison put the ball in the net when he got on the Robert Snodgrass' cross from the right moments later but the assistant referee had already flagged.
Benteke then did the same at the other end when he was picked out by Weimann only for the linesman on the opposite flank to signal for offside.
Lambert threw on Charles N'Zogbia for the tiring Holman in the 73rd minute , although Villa were indebted to Given four minutes later when he made a world-class save to deny a Holt header from a corner.
And Villa made Norwich pay for their profligacy in the 79th minute when Eric Lichaj delivered a low cross into the six yard-box which missed Benteke but Weimann was hand to slam past Bunn from close range.
The claret and blues struck again six minutes later when Weimann pounced again from close range to smash the ball home after he was teed up by Benteke.
And the Belgium powerhouse also got his name on the scoresheet in injury time when he smashed a low effort into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box after he was set up by El Ahmadi to leave Villa supporters dreaming of Wembley.
By Timothy Abraham
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