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Villa's three-point Conti Cup deduction knocks Man Utd out
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Adam Drury
Noelle Maritz was not eligible to play for Aston Villa in the Conti Cup
Noelle Maritz was not eligible to play for Aston Villa in the Conti Cup

Aston Villa have been deducted three points after fielding an ineligible player in the Conti Cup, a ruling that knocks Manchester United out.

January signing Noelle Maritz had already made three appearances for Arsenal in the competition earlier this season before being introduced off the bench in Villa's 7-0 rout of Sunderland last Wednesday.

And an independent tribunal have awarded the Wearsiders the three points, meaning they win Group A and Villa drop into second place.

The two best group-stage runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals — and the Villans' superior record means they qualify with Tottenham and United are dumped out.

An official statement confirmed the club had breached Cup Rule 8.19 by bringing Maritz on to the pitch.

And boss Carla Ward admitted last Friday that frank talks had already taken place as to how the error had been allowed to happen.

She said: "As a club we understand there has been a horrible mistake and there have been some internal conversations and investigations.

"We have to take a collective responsibility on what is a horrible moment and we have to ensure we get the right processes in place so this doesn't happen again.

"We performed excellently, won 7-0, but we're not talking about that. 

"That would have made it five wins in seven."

Ward can now prepare for a quarter-final, having insisted Villa are targeting "the semi-final, if not the final".

The draw for the final eight takes place this evening, with Chelsea joining the competition at this stage.


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