Posted: Saturday April 21, 2012 12:34 PM

Villa closer to safety after 0-0 vs. Sunderland

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) -Aston Villa inched farther away from relegation in drawing 0-0 with visiting Sunderland in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Martin O'Neill, returning to his old club with Sunderland, was welcomed with boos. Despite leading Villa to three top-six finishes, he walked out on the club just before last season.

Villa had the better first half despite dealing with injuries to James Collins and Gabriel Agbonlahor, who were substituted around halftime. Villa tired in the second half and Sunderland looked to set pounce, but found the home side's defense just as willing.

Former Villa midfielder Craig Gardner was sent off in injury time for his second yellow card, and Villa held on for a deserved 15th league draw.
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