Aston Villa drew first blood in the first leg of their play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough thanks to a 1-0 win at The Riverside.
Before this clash, Bruce said that he’d be content if Villa were still in the tie come the end of the match, so he must be extremely happy with the fact that his side will be starting the second leg on Tuesday evening with a one goal advantage.
The home team started off brightly, but the Villa defence coped with everything that came their way. Villa took the lead in the 15th minute, when Jedinak got away from his marker and glanced Grealish’s corner into the bottom corner of the net.
Assombalonga had three chances to bring Middlesbrough level before half-time, but he couldn’t convert any of them. Things nearly got worse for the home side, but Randolph produced a fine save to prevent Snodgrass from doubling Villa’s advantage.
After the break, Villa decided to sit back and defend their lead, and they did such a good job that Johnstone barely had a save to make. They are now halfway to Wembley and they will look to finish the job quickly at home on Tuesday.
Here are our Villa player ratings for today’s match: