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Leeds 1 Aston Villa 1 - Report and pictures

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa's record winning run was brought to an end by a chaotic 1-1 draw at Leeds.

Mateusz Klich scored a controversial opener for the home side when Jonathan Kodjia was down injured and Villa expected Tyler Roberts to put the ball out of play.

Anwar El Ghazi was shown a straight red card for pushing Leeds striker Patrick Bamford during the ensuing melee.

Home boss Marcelo Bielsa then instructed his team to let Albert Adomah score Villa's equaliser.

Analysis

That moment capped an extraordinary passage in a game between two play-off bound teams which was, to a large extent, supposed to be a dead rubber.

Yet neither gave an inch during a pulsating 90 minutes.

Villa showed tremendous commitment to then see out the draw despite being a man down.

Their biggest concern is that El Ghazi is now facing a three-match ban which would rule him out of both legs of the play-off semi-finals.

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The draw means Villa can now finish no higher than fifth in the table and they could still find themselves back at Elland Road early next month.

Villa’s team featured three changes from the 1-0 Easter Monday win over Millwall but was still strong.

The fit again Axel Tuanzebe replaced Mile Jedinak in defence, while Conor Hourihane came in for Glenn Whelan.

On the wing, Andre Green was handed his first start since the 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month, with Albert Adomah the man to make way.

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Results on Saturday meant there was considerably less riding on the result than looked likely a few weeks ago.

Yet any fears it might have prompted either team to take their foot off the gas were quickly dispelled.

Villa started impressively, with both Green and Jonathan Kodjia sending headers off target in the opening 10 minutes.

The best chance of the early flurries fell to the hosts. But Jack Harrison could only shoot weakly at Villa keeper Jed Steer, after Luke Ayling's cross had found its way to him at the far post.

It was a lack of composure which seemed to afflict both teams in the final third.

The only serious save of the half was made by Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla, who dived to his right to keep out John McGinn's glancing header from a Green cross.

Instead the chief focus, as the half wore on, became referee Stuart Attwell.

The official, who had already enraged home supporters when he booked Liam Cooper for a strong challenge on Grealish, further raised their ire with a series of decisions as half-time approached.

That included booking home boss Marcelo Bielsa for his complaints, while Attwell ensured he left the field to a chorus of boos by blowing up for the break with Leeds on the attack at the edge of Villa's box.

It was the hosts who were quickest out of the blocks in the second period and they came within inches of taking the lead when Forshaw flashed a drive just wide of the post, having been given time to shoot 25 yards out.

Yet the best chance of the game to that point would then fall to Villa. After El Ghazi was dispossessed having driven into the Leeds half, Grealish picked up the pieces and found Elmohamady out on the right. His cross found Kodjia, who had time to control the ball and pick his spot, only to blaze over.

Villa were enjoying the better of it before Klich's goal sparked ugly scenes with 18 minutes to go.

With Kodjia down injured, Roberts looked set to kick the ball out of play but instead knocked it down the line to Klich, who cut inside before finishing past Steer.

Pandemonium ensued, with El Ghazi pushing over Bamford as Villa's players reacted with fury and referee Attwell tried in vain to calm things down.

When the game eventually restarted, Adomah was allowed to run freely through the Leeds ranks to score, despite Jansson even then at one point trying to stop him.

The hosts, with a man advantage, dominated the remainder of the match.

But Tyrone Mings blocked on the line from Roberts, while Steer saved impressively from Hernandez in stoppage time.

Key Moments

72 - GOAL Mateusz Klich puts Leeds ahead in controversial fashion. Villa stop play as Tyle Roberts looks set to put the ball out of play but he plays the ball to Klich, who finishes past Jed Steer.

74 - RED CARD Anwar El Ghazi is shown a straight red card for pushing over Patrick Bamford in the melee which follows Klich's goal.

77 - GOAL Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa directs his team to let Villa score and Albert Adomah does so, despite Pontus Jansson even then trying to stop him.

Teams

Leeds (4-1-4-1): Casilla, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Dallas (Berardi HT), Phillips, Hernandez, Forshaw, Klich, Harrison (Roberts HT), Bamford Subs not used: Brown, Shackleton, Clarke, Bogusz, Peacock-Farrell (gk).

Villa (4-3-3): Steer, Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor, McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish, Green (Adomah 68), Kodjia, El Ghazi Subs not used: Hutton, Jedinak, Bjarnason, Whelan, Lansbury, Sarkic (gk).

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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