Aston Villa secured a 4-2 victory over Nottingham Forest with Douglas Luiz scoring twice, aiding Villa in maintaining their course towards the Champions League.

Aston Villa extended their lead over Tottenham by five points in the quest for Champions League qualification following their 4-2 triumph over Nottingham Forest.

Villa surged ahead with a commanding first-half performance, taking a 3-0 lead through a dynamic and efficient display. Ollie Watkins opened the scoring within four minutes with his 14th Premier League goal of the season, setting the tone for the match. Douglas Luiz then netted twice, leaving Nottingham Forest in a vulnerable position and at risk of facing a heavy defeat.

It looked a damage limitation job for the visitors, but Moussa Niakhate reduced the deficit just before the break to give them hope. Villa had to substitute key defender Pau Torres at the break which made them weaker, and Morgan Gibbs-White escaped in behind the Villa defensive line to make it 3-2.

Just before Leon Bailey reinstated Aston Villa’s two-goal advantage, Anthony Elanga missed a golden opportunity to score.

The result leaves Villa fully in command in the race for fourth, five points clear of Tottenham, who do have a game in hand.

Luiz emerged as the standout performer as Villa demonstrated their superiority.

They dominated their hesitant opponents from the outset, with Watkins providing an ideal beginning by converting a chance created by Bailey’s skillful play on the wing.

Shortly after, Watkins had an opportunity for his second goal as Villa attacked from another flank, but his attempt from Jacob Ramsey’s pass was thwarted on the goal line by Niakhate.

The right-hand flank became a productive area for Villa, with Matty Cash playing a significant role in the creation of the second goal. Cash delivered a pass to Jacob Ramsey, who then set up Luiz to slot the ball into the corner.

Villa extended their lead to three goals in the 39th minute when John McGinn delivered a superb cross from a corner that had been recycled. Luiz capitalized on the opportunity, directing a header into the corner to secure his second goal of the match.

The game seemed to be firmly in Villa’s grasp, but Niakhate injected some hope back into the contest just before halftime by chesting the ball over the line from close range.

Forest made three substitutions at halftime, and it proved to be impactful, particularly with Divock Origi playing a key role. Origi set up Gibbs-White, who calmly finished past Emi Martinez to narrow the gap.

Shortly after, Forest had a golden opportunity to level the score at 3-3 when Elanga broke through on goal, but he disappointingly missed the target wide.

Villa Park was filled with tension as the momentum shifted, but Villa started to regain control. They came close to scoring a fourth goal when Alex Moreno set up Youri Tielemans, whose shot struck the post.

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