Aston Villa v Middlesbrough: Championship play-off semi-final – live!

Hello. Aston Villa and Middlesbrough could both be forgiven for throwing in the towel after watching Fulham overwhelm Derby County in the other play-off semi-final last night. Fulham really were excellent, thriving thanks to the teenage brilliance of Ryan Sessegnon and the brute strength of Aleksandar Mitrovic up front, and it is going to take something special to stop Slavisa Jokanovic from joining Cardiff City and Wolves in the Premier League next season. The neutrals’ favourites are looking strong.

Yet there’s no point in Villa and Middlesbrough feeling glum when there’s still so much to play for before this season’s done and dusted. The Championship play-offs are nothing if not gloriously unpredictable and even the most optimistic Fulham fan won’t be getting too giddy just yet. Mind you, Villa will be hoping for no funny business this evening. They’re in the driving seat here, having won the first leg of this semi thanks to a solitary strike from Mile Jedinak, and they’ve got play-off specialist Steve Bruce in their corner. Middlesbrough, however, could still make it an uncomfortable occasion for the locals at Villa Park. Tony Pulis sides specialise in being awkward (apart from when he hangs around too long and everyone gets bored). Villa should win but don’t be surprised if we’re in for a long evening.

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via Football | The Guardian

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