The EFL Championship saw intense drama on Sunday when Leeds United hosted Aston Villa in Matchday 45 of 46.
Dean Smith and his boys arrived at Elland Road vying for the fourth spot, and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds were hoping to secure their grip on third place. However, both clubs are firmly in the promotion playoffs.
Smith went for a more youthful lineup with three changes to the starting 11 including Andre Green, Axel Tuanzebe and Conor Hourihane coming in for Albert Adomah, Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak.
Bielsa made two changes to his squad, with Kalvin Phillips and Stuart Dallas coming in for Gjanni Alioski and Tyler Roberts.
The travellers looked fresh at the beginning, with Anwar El Ghazi creating a couple of great opportunities. It was fast paced with chances at both ends and tackles flying left and right. The first half ended with the result very much up in the air.
It took until the 72nd minute for the first goal to arrive, when a tackle left Jonathan Kodija on the floor, with Leeds continuing play and breaking the deadlock while Villa players were still trying to process what happened.
A scuffle broke out inside the Villa box as the away team argued that their player was still down and the whistle wasn’t blown the referee, El Ghazi getting sent off in the aftermath. This in turn led to a war of words between the two coaching staffs and the referees.
Shortly before play resumed, Bielsa instructed his players to stand still after kickoff to let the away side score, with Villa equalising through Adomah after he was let through on goal.
The game finished 1-1, with Villa’s chances of fourth place gone, and both teams looking for promotion through the playoffs.