Aston Villa progressed to within one game of a return to the
Premier League after edging West Midlands rivals West Brom 4-3 on
penalties in the Championship playoff semi-finals on Tuesday.
West Brom won 1-0 on the night at the Hawthorns to level the tie
at 2-2 on aggregate thanks to Craig Dawson's first half header.
However, the Baggies' hopes of an immediate return to the
top-flight were dented when captain Chris Brunt was sent-off 10
minutes from the end of normal time.
The hosts held out manfully during extra-time, but Villa
goalkeeper Jed Steer saved West Brom's first two penalties of the
shootout from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi.
"There's obviously a lot of luck involved but wow," Steer told
Sky Sports. "We practice penalties, so I think I must've faced a
100 a day the last few days."
Conor Hourihane, Mile Jedinak, Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham
kept their cool from the spot as Villa set up a Wembley meeting
with Leeds or Derby on May 27th for a lucrative place in the
Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds hold a 1-0 first leg leads over Frank
Lampard's Rams ahead of the second leg at Elland Road on
Villa missed out in the playoff final last year, losing 1-0 to
Fulham and Grealish, who has been linked with a summer move to
Tottenham, is keen to make amends in what could be his final game
for the club.
"The crowd made it tough with the atmosphere but in the end I
felt we ran out worthy winners," said the midfielder.
"It's no good getting to Wembley and falling at the final hurdle
again, so fingers crossed. All of us are very hungry."