Friedel set for Premier League record

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel is still on track to become the first player to appear in 200 consecutive Premier League matches after he had a red card rescinded.

The 37-year-old former United States international’s record streak of 182 straight games without injury, suspension or omission looked set to end after he was sent off for conceding a penalty kick in Sunday’s 5-0 Premier League loss at Liverpool.

But he avoided a ban after Tuesday’s successful appeal to the Football Association against the ban, giving Villa a boost for its final eight matches of the season.

”I’m delighted for Brad and pleased with the decision overall,” Villa manager Martin O’Neill said on Wednesday. ”From Brad’s viewpoint, I don’t think he went out and made a deliberate attempt to upend him.”

Friedel conceded the penalty when he tried to duck under the onrushing Fernando Torres. The Spain striker tumbled over Friedel, who had turned away in an attempt to avoid a collision, and Steven Gerrard scored with the resulting kick to complete the scoring.

Friedel, who started his record run while at Blackburn and this season beat fellow goalkeeper David James’ record of 166 straight games, is available for Villa’s next match, at Manchester United on April 5. — Sapa-AP

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