The most lucrative game in world football was decided today.
Aston Villa beat Derby 2-1 to win promotion to the Premier League.
In front of a packed Wembley stadium Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn both scored headers to send Villa to England’s top division and secure a £170million windfall.
Derby were left to reflect on what could have been having not really troubled Villa on the day.
There was little of the hunger, emotion or drive that they showed in the win against Leeds at Elland Road as Villa scored either side of half time to go up comfortably in the end.
Substitute Jack Marriot pulled one back, but despite Derby’s best efforts Villa held on for the win.
The first 20 minutes was very tight with both teams probing but the tension of the ocassion clear for all to see.
Derby were marginally in the ascendcy but Villa were creating chances before half-time with Jack Grealish having more and more influence on the game.
Then with 43 minutes on the clock Anwar El Ghazi snuck in at the back post to flick a header in.
It was the perfect ending to the first half for Villa.
Tempers began to flare at the beginning of the second half with both sides picking up quick yellow cards before Tom Huddlestone sparked a few handbags by scything Grealish down as he looked to break.
As Derby began to lose their composure Kelle Roos made a horrendous error to somehow fail to collect a high ball and let John McGinn nod in from five yards.
With a two-goal lead with half an hour remaining Villa had one foot in the Premier League.
Frank Lampard made an instant substitution with Jack Marriot, the player who scored with pretty much his first touch against Leeds in the semi-final, replacing Huddlestone.
He popped up to swipe home inside the box but Villa’s two goals were enough to join Norwich and Sheffield United in the Premier League next season.
This match was pitted as a tactical battle between Lampard and John Terry (Villa’s assistant to Dean Smith) but in the end JT was the only one smiling.
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