Leeds United 1-1 Aston Villa: Championship – as it happened

Marcelo Bielsa told his side to allow an equaliser after Leeds scored a controversial opener, in a result that sees Sheffield United promoted

Here is the match report from a wild game:

Here’s the whole incident:

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith tells Sky Sports: “Klich has apologised. Every credit to Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa for putting that right. I asked him and he agreed. He said ‘yes’. He apologised for what happened. Fair play to them. It was a good game of football until that moment.”

On whether Villa will appeal against El Ghazi’s red card, Smith added: “Without a shadow. I will be absolutely amazed if it’s not rescinded. We will appeal that. He doesn’t deserve it. We needed emotional control from everybody.”

Here’s Bielsa: “We gave the goal back … English football is known for its sportsmanship so I don’t need to comment on this kind of thing, which is common in English football.”

Here is the goal Leeds allowed Villa to score

Tyrone Mings on the match: “It was everything we expected and we’re delighted to come away with a point.”

On that incident: “We kicked it out for them ... but listen each to their own – and fair play to their manager for saying we can go and score a goal ... full credit to them for saying we could go and score.”

Sheffield United are now officially promoted, incidentally.

That was absolutely wild, and I cannot wait for the playoffs.

Full-time: Leeds United 1-1 Aston Villa

Not much to say about that one, then.

90+8 min Hourihane has the ball in a decent position down the left, but takes it to the corner.

90+7 min “Can we play each other every week?” is what fans of both sides should be singing.

90+7 min Leeds stick a succession of balls into the box but Villa stand strong to clear.

90+5 min Leeds are chasing the win now, and force the ball into the box where Hernandez tries a shot, thumping straight at Steer!

90+4 min Leicester have beaten Arsenal 3-0. What a shower these “top four challengers” are.

90+3 min Steer is hurt but Leeds are allowed to take a corner and again the ball drops to Roberts who quickly makes room for a shot ... and Mings kicks it off the line! Ayling is there but his shot is charged down at source by Hourihane! What a finish!

90 min There’ll be 7 [seven] added minutes.

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90 min Grealish, who’s been quiet, is replaced by Whelan. The crowd dispense aggravation.

89 min Lovely from Roberts, who weaves an angle for a cross before teasing one towards the back post - Forshaw isn’t far off it, but was on his heels when it came in and the ball drifts wide.

88 min Looking again at Cooper’s challenge on Kodjia, the ref was right there yet didn’t blow for a foul. Thank heavens for that.

87 min As it goes, that kerfuffle worked well for Leeds - Villa were looking the likelier.

86 min This is fizzling out now, pathetic.

84 min Can’t believe Bielsa didn’t order one of his players to hammer one of Villa’s players to even out the red card. Typical Dirty Leeds, no wonder the Kingslayer is a fan.

83 min Roberts has made a difference since coming on and he sways left then right, opening up space for a shot, and fades a low one that needs just a touch; it does not get one, dribbling past the far post.

81 min McGinn ploughs through Forshaw and is booked. Can these two play in the playoff semi and final, please?

80 min Finally, we see what happened - Bamford was actually the aggressor, yanking yerman who shook him off, and Bamford then makes like he’s been walloped. Must not make private school joke.

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79 min Kodjia is down the tunnel now - Jedinak replaces him - but the slapstick is that Al Ghazi is off the pitch and for what? Meanwhile, Adomah is less than gruntled with Jansson trying to tackle him as he scored. And how to evaluate that - on the one hand, the ref knew Kodjia was down and didn’t stop play; on the other, Villa stopped earlier; and it did seems like Leeds pretended to stop too; which was sort of snide; but sort of clever; I don’t know.

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GOAL! Leeds United 1-1 Aston Villa (Adoma 77)

Leeds have given the goal back! Bielsa orders his players to allow Villa through, though Jansson just can’t have it, swiping into a challenge as his mates stand about. But it’s not enough and Adomah walks the ball in! This is absolutely wondrous, mad, unbelievable, ludicrous, pure and uncut football! I have no idea, really I do not!

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75 min We wait for the ref to make a decision - this is sensational! - and Al Ghazi is sent-off for putting an arm in Bamford’s face during the repechage! That’s a three-game ban! Bamford is booked. Meanwhile, John Terry has plenty to say - all of it gorgeous, I’m sure.

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GOAL! Leeds United 1-0 Aston Villa (Klich 72)

OH MY DAYS! Kodjia goes down with an injury following Cooper’s tackle, Leeds look ready to put the ball out, and then a knock down the line from Roberts, disguised as a putting the ball out, sees Klich in space outside the box! He despatches a glorious, low, curling finish inside the far post, and then it all goes off! He’s bundled between Villa players, incandescent with rage, we remember that earlier in the game, Villa kicked the ball out for Forshaw to be treated, and there’s mayham on the benches!

Klich scores for Leeds and it kicks off.
Klich scores for Leeds and it kicks off. Photograph: Malcolm Bryce/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

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70 min Tuanzebe is very assured on the ball, and he zones forward with the ball, resumes possession, and eventually the ball goes right to McGinn, who lifts a corss for Al Ghazi at the back post. Rather than drill into shins, which looks his best hope, he cuts back for the onrushing Taylor! But Jansson is there to hurl every fibre of his being into a block, and the resultant corner comes to nowt. Villa are by far the better side now.

69 min Klich and Hernandez exchange a pair of passes outside the Villa box, moving from centre to right, and when the ball comes back inside it nearly falls for Forshaw, but Mings manages a slight touch to intercept.

66 min Change for Villa: Green, who’s just come into the game, is replaced by Adomah.

67 min Villa work Green free again, McGinn nipping a pass for him to chase, and his cross drifts away ... forcing Casilla to tip over! The resultant corner comes to nothing.

65 min This has been a proper physical battle, but here’s some skill from Green, dancing past to tackles before dinking into the box. No one’s there to profit, but the flow has reversed.

63 min Villa have improved slightly, and have a pleasant situation on the edge of the box, McGinn sliding a reverse-pass into Kodjia, who is quickly ploughed through by Berardi. That looked penalty-like, but yerman got a little bit on the ball before proceeding, and the ref says no. I’m not so sure.

63 min At the KP, Leicester now lead Arsenal 1-0, thanks to Youri Tielemans’ goal.

61 min Forshaw gets a fair whack of treatment, but he’s back on now.

60 min Bit of possession for Villa as they try to lift it, and Forshaw finds himself in agony following a tackle with Green who, when you slow it down, does looks a little late. In real time, though, the challenge was a fair one - there was just a clash of knees.

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58 min I wonder if Dean Smith is thinking about a change - Albert Adomah, perhaps - because his team aren’t doing enough here.

56 min Again it’s Ayling crossing, this time for Hernandez, and again the shot is off target, wafted over the bar. None of these have been great chances, but they’ve all been better than the finishes they’ve received.

56 min Hernandez finds Ayling - he’s been excellent today - and his cross is directed at Roberts, but a loose touch allows McGinn to bring it away.

54 min Back come Leeds, Roberts trying a shot from the edge that Mings, loitering inside the box, manages to deflect away - a foot either side and Steer was struggling.

53 min Al Ghazi, not on the right, sees Elmohamady outside him and slides him in; the cross is a fair one, but two excellent touches from Kodjia turn it into a fine one, before a careless finish ruins everything, the ball flying high over the bar.

53 min Roberts finagles a bit of space down the right side of the box and nips a pass into Bamford, whose touch is heavy.

52 min You’ve got to credit Leeds - the first ten minutes apart, we’ve seen more or less nothing from Villa this afternoon.

51 min Another foul on Grealish yields another free-kick, 25 yards out, right of centre. It looks nice for Hourihane but Grealish pulls rank, swiping over the wall and over the bar.

Grealish watches his free-kick go over.
Grealish watches his free-kick go over. Photograph: Malcolm Bryce/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

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49 min Lovely from Klich who, with his body facing right, clips a pass left for Forshaw, and suddenly a route to goal opens up! He has a look, shapes, and fades a shot wide of the left post. That wasn’t a terrible effort, but he really needed to make Steer do something.

49 min Leeds are into this.

48 min I wonder if that corner flicked a hand on the way behind - it’s hard to see - but Leeds send the ball into the middle and Cooper can’t quite introduce head to ball. Still, though, Roberts gets out to it down the left and snaps a low cross into the middle that Jansson misses entirely.

47 min Nice from Leeds, Ayling feeding Klich who finds Hernandez; he megs McGinn but instead of shooting, tries to play Bamford in. The pass isn’t on, though, but Villa dally and Leeds force a corner, then another.

46 min Off we go again.

Leeds are making two changes: Dallas is injured, so Berardi replaces him, while Harrison is hooked for Roberts. He goes onto the right, with Hernandez moving left.

I think I might be a proper football man. Paul Robinson reckons Liam Cooper might well have been sent off for his foul on Grealish, saying that he was out of control. I’m still not sure - if he’d got less on the ball, I’d have more of a problem with it.

Half-time entertainment: this is the match between the sides earlier in the season.

Half-time: Leeds United 0-0 Aston Villa

Stuart Atwell has the audacity to blow his whistle when the time’s up. The crowd don’t like this because Leeds were on the attack, and Bielsa is equally frustrated, but really they should be pleased because their team have come back well from an awful week. Villa, on the other hand, have been poor.

45+2 min At the KP, it’s Leicester 0-0 Arsenal, but the visitors have had Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off for two bookable offences. That law really could do with some work - you can see why it happened, but it’s not enough for a player to be stopped playing as far as I can see.

45+1 min Harrison finds himself on the right and when his cross is headed clear by Tuanzebe, Dallas thunders into a low shot, making a lovely connection but sending it just wide.

45 min There’ll be three additional minutes.

45 min Free-kick Villa, close to the right corner of the box ... and Grealish goes low, but it’s an easy save for Casilla at his near post.

44 min Tuanzebe pulls back Bamford and the ref does nothing, then Grealish earns a free-kick for a similar offence. On the touchline, Bielsa’s head flies off, and he’s booked for putting hands on an official.

Bielsa is shown a yellow card by referee Stuart Attwell.
Bielsa is shown a yellow card by referee Stuart Attwell. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images

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43 min Elsewhere...

Follow that here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2019/apr/28/brighton-v-arsenal-womens-super-league-live

I believe Michael Oliver is married to the ref.

41 min It’s pretty scrappy now. Leeds have neutralised Villa, but are struggling to get their own combinations going.

39 min Grealish floats away from Phillips, who upends him in short order. He’s warned that his next offence will earn him a caution, then the free-kick sees Forshaw trip over Cooper and the ref penalises Tuanzebe. The crowd enjoy a prolonged cheer in celebration of past injustice.

38 min Kodjia drives at the Leeds defence, sees Green outside him, and goes to caress a pass out wide only to be too careful, tickling directly to Cooper.

38 min This hasn’t been a bad game, but so far, neither keeper has had to make a serious save.

36 min Jansson and Kodjia tangle - the ref apprises a free-kick to Villa. Grealish clips it in and Mings is up, climbing all over Dallas, then Jansson - his flick goes wide.

35 min Leeds are winning almost all of the second balls in midfield, and after a few ricochets, Hernandez picks one up in centrefield, advancing before smacking a shot wide. He had enough time to come up with something better there.

32 min “Villa fan stuck at Heathrow on my way home,” emails David Bertram. “Would you have played Grealish today? He’s targeted every game but to have a chance in the playoffs you have to think we need him firing. Good to see a full house at Elland Road.”

I think so. I see your point, but a football team has a lot of moving parts, and momentum is hard to get but easy to lose. The last thing Villa want is to hand theirs to Leeds.

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31 min But here’s one! Elmohamady crosses quickly from the right, and McGinn, a good ten yards out and right of centre, meets it beautifully on the twizzle, nodding down hard, and Casilla has to scramble to save.

29 min Villa haven’t mustered an attack worthy of the name in quite some time.

27 min “Grealish is clearly too good for the championship,” emails Jimesy, “his return from injury one of the main reasons for 10 wins. But how good? Hard to say without seeing him against Premier League defences, but I would hope somewhere around Christian Eriksen. He won’t be in a Villa shirt if they don’t get promoted, to be honest.”

No, I’m certain about the last bit. And as good as Christian Eriksen is plenty good enough - he’d do well to match Eriksen’s numbers, but he has a bit more gas and the ability to run past men in the middle of the pitch. Not many can do that.

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26 min This has been excellent from Leeds. They’ve had the best chance so far, but more than that, have built themselves a platform from which to regain some form.

25 min Leeds are making such good use of Ayling, and Cooper drives a pass out to him, close to the corner flag. There’s not much on, but he crosses into Taylor to win a corner; it comes to nothing.

24 min McGinn attacks the box from centre to right, somehow skirting around Dallas and through Jansson before running out of balance and dragging wide of the near post while falling.

21 min I’m not sure about this one either: Cooper hammers into a tackle with Grealish, arriving first to take the ball properly, cleaning out yerman with a trailing leg. He’s booked, but that looked fair enough to me - the ball wasn’t there for Grealish to move off had he not been knocked over, and contact isn’t forbidden according to the laws. Grealish, meanwhile, is still complaining following treatment - he must’ve fancied a red card for that.

20 min McGinn inserts his body between Hernandez and the ball - it’s a hard, painful challenge, but a fair one ... except the ref disagrees.

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19 min The initial kick is cleared, but Hernandez picks up the loose ball on the right and curls in for Bamford at the near post. He ducks into a glance, but sends the effort wide of the near post.

Bamford heads wide.
Bamford heads wide. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images

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18 min Ayling has been a good outlet for Leeds so far, and another cross of his is headed away by Hourihane, but only as far as Klich, who shepherds out for a corner.

17 min Leeds into Bamford, who flicks out to Klich, heading for the by-line. He can’t quite catch up with it, but his team are bang on top at the moment.

16 min Leeds appear top be going man-for-man in midfield - Forshaw is on McGinn, Phillips is on Grealish and Glick is on Hourihane. That’s clever from Bielsa, because if he takes the midfields out of the game, he immediately improves his side’s chances of winning.

Grealish, marked by Phillips.
Grealish, marked by Phillips. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images

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14 min And Villa break with Green, until he’s tripped by Hernandez - that’s a booke-ing.

13 min Suddenly Leeds are swarming Villa, Ayling swiping crossfield to Harrison, who plays a one-two off Bamford and sees his low shot deflected behind by Elmohamady. The corner comes to nowt, headed away by Mings.

12 min Leeds are coming - gently but nevertheless - and when Hernandez flights in a free-kick, Mings heads away and Klich hammers over the top.

11 min “Leeds, Leeds are falling apart, again,” chorus the away fans.

9 min What a chance! Leeds have improved over the last few minutes and find Ayling down the right once more. He looks up and dinks a cross which is behind Bamford, only to fall to Harrison, backing up on the far side of the box. He’ got time and space, but can only drag a shot wide of the near post. That’s very poor.

8 min I’ve not seen as much of Grealish this season as I’d like - those who have, what level of player is he? I love what I have seen, so would like to think he can be elite - he has all the qualities I’d be after, but can he deploy them against the best?

7 min A few seconds of blessed possession for Leeds, but Villa give them very little time to craft anything. Still, they eventually work it wide to Ayling and he clips to the edge of the box, but Hernandez’s touch is heavy and Grealish is in immediately.

6 min If someone told you that one of these sides had won ten straight and one had lost four of seven, you’d know exactly which was which.

4 min It’s all very frantic from Leeds and Hernandez tries a hopeful one down the line for Bamford only for Mings - who’s made several galumphs downfield already - to intercept. He moves the ball on, glides onwards, and finds himself beating a man outside the box, then dipping inside Jansson and falling over.

3 min Villa look so confident, and Green easily steals a yard from Dallas before chipping onto Kodjia’s head; he heads down and wide, but the pattern of this game looks set, which is to say that Leeds have a problem.

Kodjia heads wide.
Kodjia heads wide. Photograph: Clint Hughes/PA

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2 min No side can manage more than one accurate touch before the wonderful McGinn strolls through midfield and finds El Ghazi, who screams by Ayling and sticks a cross on Green’s head; but it’s a n awkward height, and he coils underneath it before heading over the bar.

1 min Ok, Dean Smith is wearing a life preserver. Immediate relegation.

1 min Away we go!

Patrick Bamford looks pensive, and well he might. These are the days of his life, pretty much - perform over the next three weeks and who knows, but fail and he’s probably found his level.

Elland Road is in decent voice, and their team will need that today. People are standing in the expensive seats, which is a good sign.

Here come the teams!

The more I look at these XIs, the more I fancy Villa. I know I’m offering little insight here - the side who’ve won 10 straight versus the side who’ve lost four from seven and two in a row - but that Villa midfield just looks too strong and too clever.

Elsewhere: follow Brighton v Arsenal!

Elsewhere: follow Leicester City v Arsenal!

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I’m looking forward to seeing Axel Tuanzebe today. The first times I saw him I thought I was seeing a player, but his career has stalled a little since then - he’d have expected to be making some Premier League appearances by now. I remember hearing that there some doubt over his ability to see runners in his peripheral vision, which seems like a very specific criticism, but at 21 he’s got plenty of time to work that out.

Dean Smith expects intensity from both teams, and after ten in a row, we’ll forgive him his “ourselves” reflexive pronoun abuse. He doesn’t think a win today will give his side any kind of advantage, and is taking things one game at a time. More news as I get it.

The Premier League could use both of these teams, and for sure could use their grounds. Anyone who’s ever been pretentious about football will have a yen to see how Bielsa goes in the top division, and who wouldn’t love to see Grealish sticking it to the self-importants?

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He goes on to explain that Leeds’ 4-1-4-1 system is predictable - opponents know what’s coming, so they’re able to prepare for it. Lee Hendrie adds that they lack a proper striker - Roofe and Bamford are both number 10s.

“Often, the third-placed teams always struggle in the playoffs,” advises Paul Robinson.

Bielsa speaks; the angels listen. He says that Villa are one of the big teams of the Championship and it’s a big challenge to beat them, which will strengthen Leeds’ confidence. His team are focused on assimilating the fact that they’re not going to be promoted automatically, and analysing the reasons.

It’s hard to know what to make of Leeds. Bielsa’s sides are usually accused of tiring, the result of the intensity he demands from them. But perhaps it’s just a levelling out - for a while, he got them performing at their maximum, but they’re not good enough to get results below that and no team can sustain top form for an entire season.

There’s no great secret about why things are going so well for Villa: it’s the middle of that midfield, where John McGinn and Jack Grealish have been outstanding, individually and in combination. With the security of Hourihane or Whelan behind them - Hourihane this afternoon - they’ve had freedom to play, and if Leeds are to do anything here, they’ll need to somehow restrict that axis. I’m not certain how, I must say.

Leeds make two changes: Dallas and Phillips come in for Alioski – out for the season – and Roberts, following Monday’s disastrous defeat to Brentford, which followed Friday’s disastrous defeat to 10-man Wigan. Which is to say that Bielsa is not replete with options, so it makes most sense for him to trust his players and hope things work out.

Villa, meanwhile, bring back Tuanzebe, Hourihane and Green, with Jedinak, Whelan and Adomah missing out. Tammy Abraham is unavailable through injury

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Teams!

Leeds United (an intellectual, impenetrable 4-1-4-1): Casilla; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Hernandez, Forshaw, Klich, Harrison; Bamford. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Roberts, Berardi, Brown, Shackleton, Clarke, Bogusz.

Aston Villa (a good, honest, old-fashioned 4-1-4-1): Steer; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor; Hourihane; Green, McGinn, Grealis, El Ghazi; Kodjia. Subs: Sarkic, Hutton, Jedinak, Whelan, Bjarnason, Lansbury, Adomah.

Preamble

It’s long since been agreed that the Championship is the greatest league in football, but even by the standard there’s a lot going on here.

For most of the season, Leeds have ploughed and scythed through the division, Bielsismed up to the eyeballs, a club once more, and certainties for promotion. But, like others before them, they’ve faded in recent weeks and must now attack the lottery of the playoffs*. The Elland Road fatalists know how this one ends.

Villa, meanwhile, are at the opposite end of the spectrum, on one of the most ridiculous buzzes of their 144-year history, following 10 wins on the spin. Dean Smith has inspired his team to a record-breaking run, which has seen them secure a place in the lottery of the playoffs**; they are now favourites to join Norwich and Sheffield United in the Premier League.

With both teams safely ensconced in the lottery of the playoffs*** but unable to achieve automatic promotion, in a sense this match means nothing. Except there’s a chance they’ll meet in the semi-finals or final, so today represents a chance for cards to be marked, stamps to be left and smack to be laid down. It should be excellent.

Kick-off 12pm BST

* not a lottery

** not a lottery

*** not a lottery

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