CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE FINAL: ASTON VILLA V FULHAM

Aston Villa Vs. Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final:Second Leg

James Bree, John Terry, and Birkir Bjarnason of Aston Villa celebrate at the full time whistle during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final second leg match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on May 15, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE: ASTON VILLA BOOK FINAL VS FULHAM

Aston Villa 0-0 Middlesbrough (1-0 agg)

Aston Villa are through to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final after holding off Middlesbrough at Villa Park on Tuesday night as the goalless draw seals Aston Villa's path to Wembley. Jedinak's header had given Villa the advantage to take into the second leg, and the scrappy goalless draw was enough for manager Steve Bruce's side to ensure their passage to Wembley Stadium on the road back to the Premier League. Boro kept a clean sheet but was unable to score a single goal and rarely threatened on the night with Adama Traore unable to make a difference in the game.

The only real opening in the first half went to Villa after 39 minutes as the ball ricocheted to James Chester in the box, but his effort went wide of the target. Villa would have the second chance of the game just before the hour mark. Albert Adomah speeded down the left and found Lewis Grabban in the middle, but Darren Randolph quickly denied the striker from close range. Villa worked hard to put the tie to bed, and went close again near the end as Jack Grealish shot from the edge of the area, but Randolph was there again to deny Villa with a flying save. There was controversy late on as Boro pushed hard for a goal. Traore found his way through and tried to lift the ball over Sam Johnstone, who handballed outside the area to give away a free-kick, but referee Mike Dean saw fit to only book the goalkeeper. Stewart Downing rattled the crossbar with the resulting set-piece that was their final chance.

Man of the match - Mile Jedinak

Jedinak produced an impressive performance in the center of Villa's midfield at Villa Park winning headers, tackles, and balls as key to his side getting over the line. Jedinak scored the crucial goal in the first leg that proved to be the difference between the two sides in the end.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce was interviewed after the match.

"We've just shaded it over the two games,” said Bruce. “We've got a goal from a set-piece which has won two games, basically. There's not much in the teams but I don't think they've had a shot on target in the two games. That stood us in good stead, obviously."

Bruce admitted Aston Villa were in a "mess" following their relegation from the Premier League, but is now "delighted" to have led his side to the play-off final. Villa were relegated from the Premier League in 2016, losing their top-flight status for the first time in 29 years. They came in 4th in the Championship League this season and Bruce, who was appointed the manager in October 2016 with Villa 19th, knows it has been a long uphill climb.

"Eighteen or nineteen months ago this club was in a mess but the experienced players have done the job for us and we're delighted about that," Bruce added. "As a one-off, it's fantastic if you go up through the playoffs, although I would love to have been second and sitting on a beach now. It was always going to be tough but what has got us through is our defense over two games. If any team deserved to win the game tonight I think it was us."

Bruce previously led Birmingham and Hull to promotion via the Championship play-offs.

"We've just shaded it over the two games. We've got a goal from a set-piece which has won two games, basically. There's not much in the teams but I don't think they've had a shot on target in the two games. That stood us in good stead, obviously,” continued Bruce. "I thought in the first half we gave the ball away too cheaply and we got caught up a little bit. In the second half, if I'm being honest, if there was one team that was going to win it I thought it might have been us. It was agony towards the end. It means so much and you can see what it means. Thankfully it looks as if we've got the club turned round a little bit."

Villa captain John Terry praised Steve Bruce's game plan as Villa look to end a two-year Premier League exile when they take on Fulham and Bruce is expecting a tough challenge against Slavisa Jokanovic's side.

"We've given ourselves an outstanding chance and we've got to beat a very, very good team in Fulham so we'll have a couple of days' rest and then prepare for what turns out to be a huge, huge game for everybody,” said Terry. "Fulham are a good football side, that's why they are where they are. We beat them here and they beat us down there. They've got some good players but, then again, so have we. It's something to look forward to. Go to Wembley, let's enjoy it."

Squads

Both clubs made one change from the first leg. James Bree came in for Ahmed Elmohamady at right-back for the home side while Dael Fry started in Middlesbrough's defense ahead of Daniel Ayala.

Aston Villa

Johnstone; Bree, Terry, Chester, Hutton; Hourihane, Jedinak, Grealish; Snodgrass, Grabban, Adomah. Subs: Bunn, Samba, Whelan, Onomah, Hogan, Kodjiah, Bjarnason.

Middlesbrough

Randolph; Shotton, Fry, Gibson, Friend; Howson, Clayton, Besic; Traoré, Assombalonga, Downing. Subs: Dimi, Cranie, Fabio, Leadbitter, Harrison, Bamford, Gestede.

Referee: Mike Dean.

Championship League Road to the 2018-19 England Premier League

The Cottagers will play Villa, the winner of the second play-off semi-final between Middlesbrough and Aston Villa in the showpiece final on Saturday 26th May.

Aston Villa 0-0 Middlesbrough (agg 1-0)

Aston Villa drew 0-0 with Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off semi 2nd leg, winning 1-0 on aggregate.

Fulham 2-0 Derby (agg 2-1)

Fulham reached the Championship play-off final after a 2-0 win over Derby (2-1 on aggregate).

Sessegnon smashed the match opening goal (47), and an Odoi header made it two (66).

How can you buy great football tickets for the 2018 Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Fulham? Villa will play Fulham at Wembley Stadium in London for a place in the 2018-19 England Premier League tournament. The Sky Bet Championship play-off final is at Wembley on Saturday, May 26, with kick-off at 5pm. Great seats and affordable Aston Villa and Fulham football tickets are still available to watch the match.

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May 26 2018 Football League Championship Play-Off Final 2018 Tickets Wembley Stadium - London, UK

2017-18 FOOTBALL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE

Last updated: May 15, 2018

# Team, Points

1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 99

2 Cardiff City 90

3 Fulham 88

4 Aston Villa 83

5 Middlesbrough 76

6 Derby County 75

7 Preston North End 73

8 Millwall 72

9 Brentford 69

10 Sheffield United 69

11 Bristol City 67

12 Ipswich Town 60

13 Leeds United 60

14 Norwich City 60

15 Sheffield Wednesday 57

16 Queens Park Rangers 56

17 Nottingham Forest 53

18 Hull City 49

19 Birmingham City 46

20 Reading 44

21 Bolton Wanderers 43

22 Barnsley 41

23 Burton Albion 41

24 Sunderland 37

Aston Villa Vs. Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final:Second Leg

Aston Villa captain John Terry celebrates at the full-time whistle during the pitch invasion during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final second leg match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on May 15, 2018, in Birmingham, England.