West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa AET (2-2 agg): Villa into Championship play-off final after 4-3 win on penalties
Aston Villa are through to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final after beating West Brom 4-3 on penalties in the second leg of their semi-final at The Hawthorns.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg at Villa Park on Saturday, Craig Dawson scored the only goal on Tuesday night to level and send the tie all the way to penalties, even while finishing with 10 men – having seen Chris Brunt sent off after 79 minutes.
Jed Steer then saved two penalties for Villa, while Tammy Abraham converted the final kick to send his side to Wembley for the second consecutive season. They will face Leeds or Derby, who meet at Elland Road for their second leg on Wednesday night, with Leeds leading 1-0 on aggregate.
West Brom: Johnstone (8), Holgate (8), Dawson (8), Hegazi (7), Bartley (7), Gibbs (7), Johansen (7), Brunt (6), Phillips (6), Murphy (6), Rodriguez (6)
Subs: Morrison (6), Harper (6), Adarabioyo (n/a), Leko (n/a)
Aston Villa: Steer (8), Elmohamady (6), Mings (7), Tuanzebe (6), Taylor (6), McGinn (6), Grealish (6), Hourihane (7), Green (5), El Ghazi (6), Abraham (6)
Subs: Adomah (6), Kodjia (n/a), Davis (n/a), Jedinak (n/a)
Man of the match: Jed Steer
- As it happened
In a first half lacking genuine quality in the final third, it was unsurprising to see the breakthrough come from a set-piece after 29 minutes. Mason Holgate launched a long throw-in from the right that was latched onto by Dawson – who had been forced off at half-time due to illness in the first leg – and he showed admirable desire to evade his marker and head smartly past Steer.
West Brom boss James Shan just made one change from the first leg as Jacob Murphy came in for the suspended Dwight Gayle. For Aston Villa, Conor Hourihane and Andre Green started in front of Glenn Whelan and Albert Adomah.
Villa came out improved in the second half but the first big chance fell the way of West Brom after 54 minutes when Steer’s attempted clearance dropped into the path of Jacob Murphy. The winger’s attempt from the edge of the box was blocked by Tyrone Mings, and Jay Rodriguez then hit the rebound over the bar.
In fact, it took until the 68th minute for Villa to really test their former goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, and even that was only an effort from the edge of the area by Anwar El Ghazi, who saw his low effort towards the bottom corner denied by the West Brom stopper.
Just like in the first leg, West Brom would fail to complete the game with 10 men. Brunt had spent most of the night making heavy challenges on Villa’s midfield trio, but one challenge too many on John McGinn saw him pick up his second booking with 11 minutes to go.
Villa then nearly stole the tie in the 87th minute as the ball dropped kindly for substitute Albert Adomah in the area, but his low drive was kept out brilliantly by Johnstone, diving low to his right to tip the ball wide. Villa huffed and puffed in extra-time but couldn’t find any way through the West Brom rearguard, as they were limited almost entirely to shots from range.
Steer then saved early kicks from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi, while Conor Hourihane, Mile Jedinak and Jack Grealish all converted for Villa.
Penalty shoot-out – Aston Villa win 4-3
Adomah then smashed Villa’s fourth over the bar to add a bit of edge to proceedings and Kieran Gibbs scored to ensure it went all the way. But Abraham saw his weak penalty slip just past Johnstone to decide the tie.
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