Leeds United and Aston Villa came into this match knowing that they were guaranteed playoffs and that there was a better than even chance that these two teams would be facing each other again in a few weeks. Aston Villa came into the match on the end of a 10 game winning streak while Leeds were looking to get a positive result after an absolute nightmare during the Easter period, in which Leeds lost to Wigan Athletic and Brentford, allowing Sheffield United (and Norwich City) to claim automatic promotion.
Leeds started the game looking like the Leeds we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, one dominant in possession and in creating chances, but also not being able finish in front of goal. What else is new.
However, the story of the match would not be fine goals or how the teams matched up, knowing that these two teams will probably play again.
Kodjia down injured— SPORF (@Sporf) April 28, 2019
⚪ Leeds pretend to stop play
⚽ Leeds score after Villa players stopped
Brawl breaks out
Bielsa tells players to concede a goal
♂Adomah runs & scores from kick off
Jansson tries to stop the goal
Terry & Bielsa square up
♂ Mad. pic.twitter.com/0tsKG05cuv
Any attempt to sum up what happened will probably not be adequate, but here it goes.
Jonathan Kodija went down “injured,” and not for the first time in the match. While he was rolling around in “pain” the Aston Villa players appealed for Leeds to kick the ball out of play. Leeds players did not, fair enough.
However, what caused everything to set off was Tyler Roberts more or less motioning that he was going to kick the ball out of play and instead playing a through ball for Mateusz Klich. Klich went into to score after all of the Villa players had stopped and then chaos reigned on the pitch.
A scuffle broke out, Patrick Bamford got Anwar El Ghazi sent off by pretending that El Ghazi had hit him in the face, and John Terry squared off against Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines, although Terry did back down, probably once he was reminded that Bielsa once confronted people who wanted to do him ill with a hand grenade.
After all of the arguing, Bielsa ordered his team to allow Aston Villa to score straight from the kickoff, as he basically said something to the effect of “that’s not how we play” in response to Robert’s chicanery. Pontus Jansson still couldn’t exactly bring himself to allow the goal, but even he was persuaded in the end to let Villa score. And when Gaetano Berardi plays peacekeeper, you know everything has gone mad.
In a funny sort of way, a day which might just have picked Leeds up. It's all going to be about the 72nd minute though. Fun and games if these two meet in the play-offs. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 28, 2019
Ref having a beast in Leeds v Villa game— Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) April 28, 2019
The story of this match will be the referee’s absolute inability to control the match. From the very beginning, neither side was very happy with how the referee was dealing out cards and fouls, and he even carded Marcelo Bielsa on the bench after the fourth official tattled on the Argentine. Everything that happened later, from the “injury” on Kodija to the chaos following the Leeds goal, is simply down to a referee who simply wasn’t up to the occasion. And while Villa fans may not like to hear it, there was a lot of simulation whenever there was a challenge on a Villa player, so it was hard to take any “injury” seriously when the players got up running seconds after lying on the floor in agony, right or wrong.
So, both teams end up with a point, Aston Villa’s winning streak is over, and their is a real possibility that these two teams meet again at Wembley for the playoff final. What a time to be alive.