Aston Villa 0-0 Middlesbrough (1-0 agg): Goalless draw seals Villa's path to Wembley
By Simeon Gholam at Villa Park
Last Updated: 16/05/18 8:16am
Aston Villa are through to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final after holding off Middlesbrough at Villa Park on Tuesday night.
Mile Jedinak's header had given Villa the advantage to take into the second leg, and a nervy goalless draw was enough for Steve Bruce's side to ensure their passage to Wembley.
Boro, in truth, rarely threatened on the night and struggled to get their key threat in Adama Traore into the game. Villa, meanwhile, will now face Fulham for a place in the Premier League.
Both sides made one enforced change from the first leg. James Bree came in for Ahmed Elmohamady at right-back for the home side while Dael Fry started in Middlesbrough's defence ahead of Daniel Ayala.
The only real opening in the first half fell Villa's way after 39 minutes as the ball ricocheted its way to James Chester in the box, but he could only pull his effort wide of the target.
Villa would have the next big chance of the game as well just before the hour mark. Albert Adomah, up against his old club, raced down the left and found Lewis Grabban in the middle, but Darren Randolph got off his line quickly to deny the striker from close range.
Bruce's side were working hard to put the tie to bed, and went close again with 15 minutes to go as Jack Grealish worked himself some space to shoot from the edge of the area, but Randolph was there again to deny Villa with a flying save.
Aston Villa: Johnstone (6), Bree (7), Chester (7), Terry (8), Hutton (7), Snodgrass (6), Hourihane (7), Jedinak (8), Adomah (7), Grealish (8), Grabban (5)
Subs: Whelan (n/a), Bjarnason (n/a), Kodjia (n/a)
Middlesbrough: Randolph (7), Shotton (6), Fry (7), Gibson (7), Friend (6), Clayton (6), Besic (6), Howson (6), Traore (5), Downing (5), Assombalonga (6)
Subs: Fabio (n/a), Bamford (n/a), Gestede (n/a)
Man of the match: Mile Jedinak
And there was controversy late on as Boro pushed desperately forward for a goal. Traore found his way through and tried to lift the ball over Sam Johnstone, who handballed outside the area to give away a free-kick, but referee Mike Dean saw fit to only book the goalkeeper, while Stewart Downing would rattle the crossbar with the resulting set-piece that would turn out to be their final chance.
Man of the match - Mile Jedinak
Jedinak produced a massive performance in the centre of Villa's midfield. He covered every blade of grass of the Villa Park pitch to his back four, winning headers, tackles and second balls to help his side get over the line.
Let's also not forget he scored the crucial goal in the first leg that proved to be the difference between the two sides in the end.
Steve Bruce: "We've just shaded it over the two games. We've got a goal from a set-piece which has won two games, basically. There's not much in the teams but I don't think they've had a shot on target in the two games. That stood us in good stead, obviously."
Tony Pulis: "We've had good spells in both games, but we had to create a little bit more and score goals. That's been the difference really, a set play has cost us over the two games."
When's the play-off final?
The Sky Bet Championship play-off final is at Wembley on Saturday, May 26, live on Sky Sports Football with kick-off at 5pm.