Aston Villa heading to Wembley after draw with Middlesbrough in Championship play-offs


If Grealish maintains his form tonight, it should push Villa over the line to Wembley, where his career had its lift-off moment in the 2015 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

But in the final analysis a lame performance in the final third was the main reason for Boro's limp elimination last night.

Pulis said: "We have had opportunities but we have to change those opportunities into chances and goals". Cardiff also secured automatic promotion, pipping Fulham to second place on the final day.

Villa will face Fulham at Wembley on Saturday, May 26 in what is often dubbed the richest game in world football due to the Premier League TV riches at stake.

Bruce has led two teams through the playoffs to the Premier League but expected a tight encounter against the Londoners.

As expected, key defender Daniel Ayala's knee problem ruled him out for Boro, with young defender Dael Fry handed his first start since February 20.

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A minute's applause was held before kick-off for Jlloyd Samuel, the former Villa defender killed in a auto accident on Tuesday, before a first 45 minutes of few opportunities was played out in front of a packed crowd.

In truth, the Villans had the game in control and deservedly progressed to the final, but it's another season in the Championship for Boro. In the 87th minute, as Middlesbrough were pouring forward in search of an equaliser, Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone appeared to step out of his penalty area and make a save with his hands in an illegal position.

"The players have worked so hard though, they have given everything".

Stewart Downing hit the bar for Middlesbrough late on but they did not register a shot on target.

On Saturday, Grealish won their personal battle, setting up Mile Jedinak's victor with a pinpoint set-piece and finding pockets of midfield space while Traore was running up a series of blind alleys.