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Leeds United vs Aston Villa. Sky Bet Championship.

Elland RoadAttendance36,786.

Leeds United 1

  • M Klich (72nd minute)

Aston Villa 1

  • A El Ghazi (sent off 75th minute)
  • A Adomah (77th minute)

Leeds 1-1 Aston Villa: Marcelo Bielsa lets Villa equalise after controversial opener

Report and highlights as the result sees Sheffield United promoted to the Premier League

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa

Aston Villa were allowed to walk the ball into the net after a controversial Leeds United opener as the sides played out a bizarre 1-1 draw in the Sky Bet Championship.

Chaos reigned in the 73rd minute as Leeds scored while Villa's Jonathan Kodjia was down injured. His team-mates had stopped while asking their opponents to put the ball out of play, but the calls were not heeded.

As Mateusz Klich controversially curled home, a confrontational melee ensued with Anwar El Ghazi sent off for apparently hitting out at Patrick Bamford - although replays suggested there was no contact.

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Leeds' Championship match with Aston Villa descended into chaos when the hosts scored a controversial goal while Jonathan Kodjia was down injured

As the players lined up for the restart, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa instructed his players to let Villa equalise and Albert Adomah obliged as he rolled the ball in at the other end.

Pontus Jansson tried in vain to stop him and was scolded by his team-mates, with the game eventually ending level.

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After a controversial opener, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa ordered his team to let Aston Villa score at the other end!

The result confirms Leeds' spot in the play-offs - where they could face Aston Villa again - and confirms Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League.

How chaos reigned at Elland Road

It was an end-to-end first period but it took until just after the half-hour mark for either goalkeeper to be worked. Ahmed Elmohamady curled a wonderful cross into the area, which John McGinn flicked towards goal. However, Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla got down low to make a one-handed save.

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Jonathan Kodjia lay on the ground injured as Leeds controversially continued to play on
Image: Jonathan Kodjia lay on the ground injured as Leeds controversially played on

The remainder of the half was littered with fouls - some given and others not - and free kicks, mostly to the chagrin of the Leeds fans.

Frustrations boiled over just before the break as Bielsa was booked by referee Stuart Attwell for coming out of his area after yet another contentious decision.

The half-time whistle was then blown in the middle of a Leeds attack, producing more anger and dismay from the home contingent.

Aston Villa had the best chance of the game nine minutes into the second half. It was Elmohamady again who put a great cross into the area, which Jansson failed to clear. Kodjia was waiting behind to control the loose ball but he could only scoop it over the crossbar.

Player ratings

Leeds: Casilla (7), Dallas (6), Cooper (7), Jansson (7), Ayling (7), Phillips (7), Klich (6), Forshaw (6), Harrison (6), Hernandez (6), Bamford (5).

Subs used: Roberts (6), Berardi (4).

Aston Villa: Steer (7), Elmohamady (7), Tuanzebe (7), Mings (8), Taylor (6), Hourihane (6), McGinn (7), Grealish (7), Green (6), El Ghazi (6), Kodjia (6).

Subs used: Adomah (5), Jedinak (4), Whelan (n/a).

Man of the match: Tyrone Mings.

But the real action started in the 73rd minute. A tackle from Liam Cooper flattened Kodjia and having earlier put the ball out for an injured Leeds player, the Aston Villa side appealed to their hosts to allow him to receive medical treatment.

Tyler Roberts looked as if he was about to do so, but instead played the ball down the left wing for Klich, who eventually curled home past Jed Steer with few Aston Villa players nearby.

Klich was unable to celebrate as Conor Hourihane grabbed him in angry protest, with every outfield player involved in a huge melee.

Pontus Jansson vents his frustration after Aston Villa were allowed to level the score
Image: Pontus Jansson vents his frustration after Aston Villa were allowed to level

After a discussion with his linesman, Attwell showed El Ghazi a straight red for an apparent push in Patrick Bamford's face, although replays showed there was no contact whatsoever.

Team news

Leeds made two changes with Stuart Dallas and Kalvin Phillips coming in as Ezgjan Alioski (injury) and Tyler Roberts (bench) dropped out. Aston Villa made three changes as Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan and Albert Adomah started on the bench and Axel Tuanzebe, Connor Hourihane and Andre Green replaced them.

As the aftermath continued and the players made their way into position for the restart, Bielsa told his players to let Villa equalise to make up for some poor sportsmanship.

Adomah then trotted up to the other end and scored, although Jansson did try to stop him despite the instructions from his manager. He was chastised by his team-mates for doing so, but there were handshakes with Adomah at the final whistle.

Leeds continued to push for the winner which would have maintained their mathematical chance of automatic promotion, but they were unable to make the breakthrough as the game ended in a bizarre draw.

The managers

Marcelo Bielsa: "We just gave the goal back. The facts are what everyone saw, and we express our interpretation of the facts by doing what we did.

"English football is known for sportsmanship, so I don't have to comment on this kind of thing. I think today's performance against the best team in the Championship at this moment puts us close to what our possibilities are."

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Leeds boss Marco Bielsa explains why he ordered his team to allow Aston Villa to score following his side's controversial opener in the 1-1 draw at Elland Road

Dean Smith: "First of all, the referees missed a foul on Jonathan Kodjia in the centre circle and what happens then, Tyler Roberts should probably put the ball out. Everybody stops, he doesn't. We'd just done it for their lad when we were attacking in the corner.

"Klich has just apologised to me after the game. He said he shouldn't have done that, it's wrong. Every credit to Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa for giving us the opportunity to put that right.

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Dean Smith says he instigated Leeds' decision to allow Aston Villa to equalise following their controversial opener at Elland Road

"I said they should let us walk a goal in then. They had a talk about it and said okay. Fair play to them, I'm full of respect for them for that. It was a good game of football up until that moment and probably would have ended up 0-0.

"Without a shadow of a doubt [El Ghazi's red card was not a sending off]. I've seen it back, you've all seen it back and everybody else has. I'll be absolutely amazed if that's not rescinded so we will certainly appeal that and I have no doubts that Anwar should be okay for the last few games because he doesn't do anything."

Man of the match - Tyrone Mings

It is difficult to pick just one player after the game was decided in such unusual circumstances but Mings put in a superb performance for Aston Villa and acted as the peacemaker while those around him were fuelled by anger.

He won eight of his 11 duels, made five clearances and three blocks as Leeds peppered the Aston Villa area and will be vital for the club as they enter the play-offs.

What's next?

There is just one more game of the regular Sky Bet Championship season to play. Leeds travel to already-relegated Ipswich on Sunday while Aston Villa face a tough test against Norwich, who were promoted to the Premier League this weekend.

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