Thursday 23 May 2019

Steer the hero in shootout as Villa advance

West Brom 1 Aston Villa 0 (2-2 on agg, Villa win 4-3 on pens)

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Jed Steer celebrate victory. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Jed Steer celebrate victory. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Aston Villa passed the test of nerve from 12 yards to book their place in the Championship play-off final with a tense penalty shoot-out triumph over their West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Goalkeeper Jed Steer was the hero as he saved from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi before Tammy Abraham scored the winning spot-kick to secure a 4-3 success after West Brom had won 1-0 on the night.

Villa are back at Wembley on May 27, 12 months after losing in the final to Fulham, and they will await the winners of Leeds or Derby, who meet tonight, as they attempt to return to the Premier League after a three-year absence.

The first leg had turned dramatically in Villa's favour as after trailing for nearly an hour, they overturned a 1-0 deficit and then saw Albion lose top scorer Dwight Gayle to a red card.

However, their aggregate lead was wiped out just before the half-hour mark as Albion made the most of a set-piece.

Holgate provided the long throw into the box, before centre-half Craig Dawson arrived with a perfectly-timed run and header which went in off the far post.

The Villa team celebrate after winning the penalty shootout. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters
The Villa team celebrate after winning the penalty shootout. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

The game began to open up and Chris Brunt was not far wide with a curling shot from his left-foot while Anwar El Ghazi forced Sam Johnstone to parry his low drive as the visitors' attack came to life.

But Villa were then given a huge lift when Brunt was booked twice in less than 15 minutes and was given his marching orders by referee Chris Kavanagh.

They dominated possession in the 30 minutes of extra-time, but apart from a late header from Keinan Davis straight at Johnstone, they could not find a way through their opponents' massed defensive ranks, until penalties decided it in their favour.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is challenged by West Bromwich Albion's Stefan Johansen. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is challenged by West Bromwich Albion's Stefan Johansen. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

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