2018-19 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Mateusz Klich (72')
  • Albert Adomah (77')
  • Anwar El Ghazi (75')

Leeds let Aston Villa score equaliser which seals Sheffield United promotion

Leeds United's action-packed 1-1 draw against Aston Villa saw Sheffield United clinch the final automatic promotion to the Premier League after Norwich had clinched their place in the top flight on Saturday.

Despite knowing anything but a victory would end their hopes of automatic promotion, after opening the scoring on 72 minutes while Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia was injured, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa allowed the visitors to equalise.

Leeds' Mateusz Klich had scored despite Villa players calling for the ball to be put out of play, and a mass brawl ensued on the pitch that involved both sets of players and saw Anwar El Ghazi sent off for the away side.

Meanwhile, a separate row broke out on the benches, with Bielsa going head-to-head with Villa assistant boss John Terry.

When play eventually restarted, Villa were allowed to run unchallenged as Albert Adomah ran the length of the half to equalise, although Leeds' Pontus Jansson did try unsuccessfully to put in a tackle.

Leeds pressed for a winner deep into the eight minutes of stoppage time, knowing only a win would earn them promotion, but had to settle for a point.

Villa boss Dean Smith said Klich apologised for his goal and also gave credit to Bielsa for allowing Villa to score unimpeded.

"Klich has apologised," Smith told Sky Sports. "Every credit to Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa for putting that right.

"I asked him and he agreed. He said 'yes.' He apologised for what happened. Fair play to them. It was a good game of football until that moment."

Bielsa said he had allowed Villa to score in the spirit of sportsmanship.

"We gave the goal back," Bielsa said. "English football is known for its sportsmanship, so I don't need to comment on this kind of thing, which is common in English football."

Villa defender Tyrone Mings also praised Leeds for allowing them to score the equaliser after failing to put the ball out of play so Kodjia could get treatment.

"We kicked it out for them," Mings said after the game. "But listen, each to their own. Fair play to their manager for saying we can go and score a goal, full credit to them for saying we could go and score."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told Sky Sports at the team celebration: "First and foremost, Marcelo Bielsa full respect, Patrick Bamford not. He [Bielsa] did the right thing, Bamford didn't.

"At the moment we're the second-best team in the division and we're going to try and be the best next Sunday."

The result means Leeds can no longer catch the top two in the Championship and are guaranteed a playoff spot alongside Aston Villa and West Brom.

The final place will be between Derby, in sixth place, and Middlesbrough in seventh, as the two sides are level on points with only one match remaining in the season.

Information from Reuters was used in this report

English League Championship Standings

1 Sheffield United 11 +14 24
2 Norwich City 11 +8 23
3 Reading 11 -2 21
4 Burnley 11 +7 18
5 Queens Park Rangers 11 +4 18
6 Blackburn Rovers 11 -1 18
7 Sunderland 11 +5 16
8 Luton Town 11 +3 16
9 Wigan Athletic 10 0 16
10 Swansea City 11 -1 15
11 Rotherham United 10 +4 14
12 Bristol City 11 +2 14
13 Watford 10 0 14
14 Preston North End 11 -1 13
15 Birmingham City 11 -2 13
16 Millwall 11 -4 13
17 Stoke City 10 0 12
18 Cardiff City 11 -4 12
19 Blackpool 11 -6 11
20 Hull City 11 -12 11
21 West Bromwich Albion 11 0 10
22 Middlesbrough 11 -3 10
23 Huddersfield Town 10 -6 7
24 Coventry City 8 -5 6