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

16 May 2018

Fulham await at Wembley on Saturday week after Villa, playing with resilience and courage, frustrated a Middlesbrough side who were left to rue the goal that Mile Jedinak headed in at the Riverside in the first leg.

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.

Tony Pulis will be all too acutely aware Villa have lost only one of their past 10 home games at Villa Park, winning seven and drawing two.

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Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce admits he inherited a club in a "mess" after taking them to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

The home team has failed to win any of the last 12 clashes between Middlesbrough and Aston Villa in all competitions, with the Villans being the last side to secure a home victory, in March 2005 in the Premier League (2-0).

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, have won just two of their past nine away games - although four of those have ended level (L3).

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"It was intense. I think our game plan worked very well so the manager deserves a lot credit for that".

The Cottagers beat Derby County 2-0 last night (May 14) to book their place in the final, having narrowly missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season. "There's still 90 minutes to play and anything can happen", he said.

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

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That proved to be the closest they came to a shot on target all evening and manager Tony Pulis, who began this season in the Premier League in charge of West Bromwich Albion, knew his side were always outsiders to reach the final.

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