Aston Villa v Middlesbrough: Championship play-off semi-final

Hope Soto
May 16, 2018

In the end, neither side could find a goal on the night, which meant Villa advanced to the playoff final with a 1-0 aggregate win.

A long, traumatic season for Steve Bruce could yet deliver a happy ending of sorts as Aston Villa moved to within 90 minutes of a return to the Premier League. "If I get my way there will certainly be a contract offered to him".

At the heart of that defence was former Chelsea and England centre back John Terry who joined the club previous year on a free transfer and whose appointment as captain appears to have had a significant impact.

That proved to be the closest they came to a shot on target all evening and manager Tony Pulis, who began this season in the Premier League in charge of West Bromwich Albion, knew his side were always outsiders to reach the final.

Yet again, like the first leg, Traore let his team-mates down with a poor final ball which saw his attempts either go out for a goal kick or hit the first Villa man after such promising dribbles.

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Mile Jedinak's first-leg header ultimately settled the tie on Saturday as the sides slugged out a scrappy stalemate at Villa Park.

Bruce is now just one game away from a fifth promotion as manager to the Premier League, having also taken Birmingham and Hull up via the playoffs. Boro boss Tony Pulis said: 'Obviously if there's any chance of Dani playing, he's going to play'.

This will give those fans another chance to tell Pulis their thoughts of him and his managements styles, something he may not be looking forward to, as it is certain to not be positive. Middlesbrough, however, could still make it an uncomfortable occasion for the locals at Villa Park.

"The boys have been superb and we're off to Wembley, one more to go".

Aston Villa players celebrate a win.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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