BERTRAND TRAORE scored a debut wondergoal as Aston Villa cruised past Bristol City into the Carabao Cup fourth round.
The 25-year-old winger signed for the Villains last week in a £19m deal, and only missed out on the club’s Premier League opener against Sheffield United due to work permit issues.
But ex-Chelsea graduate Traore has certainly hit the ground running with a sublime side-footed volley from 15 yards that lit up the third-round tie at Ashton Gate.
It was a strike that sets up a fourth round home tie against Stoke City.
Fellow new-boy Ollie Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi also netted – while Villa’s academy products Keinan Davis and Jacob Ramsey both produced impressive displays.
But it was Traore who stole the show, and looked like a man with a point to prove back in England after last appearing for the Blues during the 2015/16 campaign.
Villa started on the front foot and kept their foot on the pedal in the opening stages, with El Ghazi rattling off four shots in just 10 minutes.
But it was his fourth that earned Dean Smith’s men an early lead after some outrageous trickery from Davis to leave Robins defender Tommy Rowe on his backside in the box.
Davis, 22 – who has recently signed a new four-year deal with the club – then pulled back from the byline to find an unmarked El Ghazi who stroked it into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later and the lead was doubled in world class fashion. Ramsey drove from the half way line and found Traore just inside the box with a neat dink.
The Burkina Faso international struck it first time with a side-footed volley, which arrowed over keeper Max O’Leary and into the side netting.
A muted celebration, but Smith and assistant John Terry showed their appreciation from the touchline.
With the likes of Ollie Watkins and John McGinn on the bench – as well as Emiliano Martinez and skipper Jack Grealish not even in the squad – Villa now look to have real strength in depth.
Villa had a huge call for what looked a stone-wall penalty dismissed with 10 minutes left of the half after Ramsey was bundled over in the box as he was about to tap El Ghazi’s cross into an empty net.
But after the break Villa continued to dominate, and Traore continued to impress, this time as a creator as he fed through El Ghazi one-on-one but for a rushed finish.
Yet another chance fell to El Ghazi to kill the game with 20 minutes remaining – this time after a lovely lofted pass from Henri Lansbury – but smacked his effort straight at O’Leary.
But the arrival of Watkins from the bench in the 70th minute gave Villa a renewed clinical edge.
After grabbing his first for the club in the previous round against Burton Albion, he found the net once more, this time from close range just three minutes minute after coming on.
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