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Aston Villa picks up much-needed victory over West Ham

Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Christian Benteke celebrates his penalty kick that gave Aston Villa a 1-0 lead.

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) -Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone by beating West Ham 2-1 on Sunday, ending an eight-match winless run in the Premier League.

Christian Benteke's penalty was added to five minutes later by Charles N'Zogbia's superb free kick as Villa went into a 2-0 lead after 78 minutes.

The hosts had to hang on for victory, however, after conceding an own goal in the 87th when Ashley Westwood glanced Joe Cole's cross into his own net.

A first league win since Dec. 15 lifted Villa above Wigan and Reading in the standings, leaving Paul Lambert's side a point and a place clear of the bottom three.

West Ham has now lost its last five Premier League games.

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