Aston Villa promoted to Premier League after beating Derby in Championship play-off final

Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn scored the decisive goals to end Villa’s three-year absence from the English top-flight

Aston Villa have been promoted to the Premier League after beating Derby 2-1 in the Championship play-off final on Monday. 

Villa held off a late fight back from Frank Lampard’s team at Wembley to book their return to the English top-flight after three years in the Championship.

Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring late in the first half when he met Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross to beat Kelle Roos and John McGinn headed into an open goal on the hour mark after an error from the Derby goalkeeper. 

Jack Marriott pulled one back for the Rams in the 81st minute in a tense finish to the game, as Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount also came close to finding the net. Towards the end of the seven minutes of injury time, Harry Wilson proved lively down the wing for Derby, but saw one cross cleared by the Villa defence and another claimed by goalkeeper Jed Steer.

Dean Smith’s team held on to seal the win in a game that is said to be worth around £170 million ($216m) for the victors because of the increased revenue available in the Premier League.

“It feels very good. To be honest, the lads are a terrific bunch,” Smith told Sky Sports after the game. “They take on different ideas, they deserve it. I believe pressure is what you put on yourself, we work hard every day, the only difference is expectation. We’ve got two owners have got a lot of money, and are in it for the long haul. The potential now is massive.”

The Wembley win completes a massive turnaround for the Villans under their current manager. Villa were 15th in the table when Smith replaced Steve Bruce at the helm in October and looked out of the race for a place in the play-offs.

But they went on to win 17 of their 34 league games under the 48-year-old, including a 10-match winning streak, to end up fifth in the Championship table and two points ahead of Monday’s opponents.

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The Birmingham outfit got the better of West Brom in the semi-final, beating their local rivals on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw to book a place in the final for the second time in a row, having missed out to Fulham last year. 

 

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