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

Boro v Ipswich - Post-match reaction & 2nd leg debate

Aston Villa take a slender advantage into the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough as the Villans hold a 1-0 lead, although both teams have had to make changes for tonight's game.

Fulham advanced after beating Derby 2-0 in their second leg on Monday, sealing a 2-1 win on aggregate.

Villa captain John Terry told Sky Sports: "It's unbelievable and incredible".

"They're a good football side".

Boss Tony Pulis, who replaced Garry Monk in December, was upset Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was not sent off by referee Mike Dean after he handled outside the area with three minutes left.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff were promoted automatically from the League Championship. But he was not missed as James Bree performed equally as well in his seventh start of the season, helping to soak up pressure and see out a goalless draw which was good enough to book their place in the play-off final.

Traore has scored five league goals and assisted 10 others so far this term, and while he is arguably Boro's biggest threat up front, Stewart Downing and 15-goal Britt Assombalonga are also capable of wreaking havoc to Aston Villa's defence.

Home teams just don't like winning when Aston Villa and Middlesbrough come together.

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

Steve Bruce's side will face Fulham in the final at Wembley as they look to return to the Premier League from which they were relegated in 2016. The neutrals' favourites are looking strong.Yet there's no point in Villa and Middlesbrough feeling glum when there's still so much to play for before this season's done and dusted.



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