Aston Villa win away at Middlesbrough in playoff semi
Aston Villa will take a 1-0 lead back to Villa Park for the second leg of the Championship Playoff semi finals having beaten Middlesbrough away thanks to a Mile Jedinak glancing header early on before a stunning defensive effort.
Middlesbrough XI: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Besic, Howson, Traore. Assombalonga, Downing.
Aston Villa XI: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Terry, Chester, Hutton, Hourihane, Jedinak, Snodgrass, Grealish, Adomah, Grabban.
After enduring several waves of Middlesbrough attacks for the opening 15 minutes, Aston Villa made the early breakthrough against the run of play when a corner was whipped in towards the near post where Australia international Mile Jedinak’s glancing header flew off the bottom of the inside of the far post to make it 1-0.
Middlesbrough now had the onus to score, and created several chances for Assombalonga however the closest he came to scoring was hitting the side netting. Just before half time, Villa almost scored against the run of play once again however Snodgrass was denied by an excellent Randolph save.
While Middlesbrough created some chances, mainly from crossing situations, their usually potent attack was neutralised by Villa’s deep block which saw Egypt international Elmohamady operating as a left back to counterct Stewart Downing cutting in onto his left foot.
Elmohamady was forced off with injury in the 88th minute, however Villa’s defence maintained their focus and kept the clean sheet with the match finishing 1-0.
The result means that Aston Villa take a goal advantage to the East Midlands for the second leg. No team in history has been eliminated from the Championship playoffs after winning the first leg away from home, however they will need more than just past stats to make it to Wembley where they will meet either Derby County or Fulham.
The second leg takes place on Tuesday night at 8:45PM Egyptian time.
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