Aston Villa beat local rivals West Brom on penalties to book their spot in the Championship play-off final at Wembley for the second year in a row.
Villa, if we are being honest, were a shadow of what they can be and looked nervous and jittery for the majority of normal time. However, with the huge financial awards that are at stake, it is easy to understand why.
West Brom, who were trailing 2-1 in the tie, levelled things up in the 29th minute when Craig Dawson’s header trickled in off the post. However, the build-up to that goal should not have been allowed to happen as Tyrone Mings was clearly bundled over by Jay Rodriguez.
For the first 30 minutes of the second half, it looked like the only team that would score was Albion, but Villa weathered that storm and the game turned in their favour when Chris Brunt picked up a second booking in the 80th minute.
After that red, it was all Villa, but they just couldn’t find the goal that they needed. West Brom reached their objective of taking it to penalties, but they found Jed Steer in inspired form.
He saved their first two penalties, while only Albert Adomah missed for Villa.
Dean Smith’s men will now face either Leeds or Derby on the 27th May for the right to play in the Premier League next season.
Here are our player ratings against West Brom:
GK: Jed Steer - 8.5
Nearly gifted West Brom a goal in the second half, but was Villa’s hero with two penalty saves in the shootout.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady - 6
Didn’t do much wrong defensively, but some of his crossing was poor.
CB: Tyrone Mings - 7.5
Was composed whenever he had the ball and won most of his aerial duels. Had a much better game than he did on Saturday.
CB: Axel Tuanzebe - 7.5
Always calm on the ball and had Rodriguez in his back pocket for most of the game.
LB: Neil Taylor - 4
Taylor has been playing well these last few months, but this was the Taylor of old. His passing was poor and his crosses were mostly atrocious.
RM: Andre Green - 5
Tried his best to make something happen, but met a resolute West Brom defence.
CM: Conor Hourihane - 6
His passing was a bit off and he wasted possession a number of times with some speculative efforts. Took his penalty well, though.
CM: John McGinn - 7
Ran his socks off and was always the first there to try and win the ball back. Frustrated Brunt and was on the receiving end of two tackles that saw the West Brom captain get sent off.
CM: Jack Grealish - 6
Drifted in and out of the game, but when he got the ball he picked out clever passes and won free-kicks in dangerous positions. Held his nerve from the penalty spot.
LM: Anwar El Ghazi - 6
Whenever he had the ball he always looked to run at the West Brom defence and cause them issues. Tired as the game went on and was subbed.
ST: Tammy Abraham - 6
West Brom’s central defenders had him under control for most of the game and he could have done more to prevent Dawson’s goal. Made up for it by scoring the winning penalty.
SUB: Albert Adomah - 3
Missed a sitter that would have prevented extra-time and penalties and then was the only one to miss their penalty.
SUB: Jonathan Kodjia - 5
Came on in the 101st minute and did his best to make something happen.
SUB: Keinan Davis - N/A
Came on with just seven minutes remaining, so it’s not fair to give him a rating.
SUB: Mile Jedinak - N/A
Came on just to take a penalty, and slotted it calmly.
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