BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Aston Villa climbed above Tottenham on the English Premier League table after being held at Brighton to 0-0 on Saturday.
Emiliano Martinez made crucial saves for Villa, including an outstretched palm to deny Dan Burn’s header, to ensure his side left with a clean sheet and a point.
Brighton dominated possession and chances, having 24 shots on the Aston Villa goal — including nine on target — while Dean Smith’s men had just four attempts of which just one was on the home’s side goal.
Jack Grealish, who has seven goals, was unable to make a significant impact as Villa struggled to find its feet and force goalkeeper Robert Sanchez into making any significant saves.
The result left Brighton in 15th place and 11 points clear of Fulham, which occupies the third relegation spot. Fulham has played two matches fewer than Brighton.
Villa moved up to eighth. It is three points behind fifth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.
Brighton started brightly, forcing Villa back into its own half, and had a chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when Alexis Mac Allister was found in space in the center of the box, but his header went narrowly over the crossbar.
Martinez was forced into his first save of the game shortly after to keep Joel Veltman’s low drive from crossing the line.
He also made two last-ditch saves just before halftime to first keep out Leandro Trossard’s angled drive and then palm a Burn header behind, with the Brighton defender just inches away from his first club goal.
Brighton started the second half in almost identical fashion to the first with Mac Allister again testing Martinez with a shot and the goalkeeper was able to make the low save with his legs following a deflection.
With the home side still looking the more likely to break the deadlock, Trossard had two more chances, with his second fired into the side-netting in the 60th minute.
Martinez was called upon again with just under 10 minutes left, stopping Danny Welbeck from turning home Adam Lallana’s cross at the near post.
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