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Steve Bruce: Characters are key on Villa's big night

16 May, 2018, 11:21 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • Boro v Ipswich- Post-match reaction & 2nd leg debate

There have been times when it looked as though neither would make it, with a succession of managers despairing at their youthful indiscipline, but ahead of tonight's play-off semi-final second leg at Villa Park, they find themselves cast as potential match-winners on opposite sides of the field.

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce backed his players to handle the occasion as they continue to plot their promotion assault.

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

Three of the four that managed to keep a clean sheet in the first leg retained their places with only the injured Ahmed Elmohamady missing from the game at Villa Park. The boys are different class. "We'll go into Tuesday night with great confidence having come here and got a result".

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

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A minute's applause was held before kick-off for Jlloyd Samuel, the former Villa defender killed in a vehicle accident on Tuesday, before a first 45 minutes of few opportunities was played out in front of a packed crowd.

The referee awarded Boro a free kick just outside the box, which Stewart Downing blasted against the bar, but Sam Johnstone only received a yellow card for handling the ball outside his area, much to the bemusement of viewers at home.

Villa may have displayed an inability to move through the gears in the first half, but they were afforded every incentive to strive to finish off the tie attacking the jam-packed Holte End.

A goalless draw with Middlesbrough on Tuesday secured a 1-0 aggregate win and a meeting with Fulham at Wembley on May 26.

The home fans erupted in wild celebrations at fulltime and flooded onto the pitch to join the players.

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