World class Benteke scores three to ease Villa’s relegation worries


ASTON Villa manager Paul Lambert labelled striker Christian Benteke “world class” after his hat-trick moved them five points clear of the relegation zone.

The Belgium striker, who finished second in the PFA Young Player of the Year award voting, took his season’s goal tally to 22.

And Lambert hailed his £7m summer signing from Genk.

“He’s [Benteke] been world class,” said Lambert. “For somebody who has just come to this country he has been brilliant. The best compliment I can give him is that he is such a humble guy and he can go on and be anything he wants.”

The margin of defeat for Sunderland, who had Stephane Sessegnon sent off for jumping into a tackle with Yacouba Sylla, left manager Paolo di Canio red-faced.

“I have to apologise to the fans who travelled in numbers,” he said.

“Only one team played like it was the last chance of their life.”

Villa captain Ron Vlaar opened the scoring, but Danny Rose levelled moments later. Andreas Weimann restored Villa’s advantage before Benteke ran riot and Gabriel Agbonlahor completed the scoring.