Mile Jedinak one game from Premier League return with Aston Villa

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Mile Jedinak's header in a 1-0 first-leg win for the visitors at the Riverside on Saturday proved enough as Middlesbrough failed to threaten until Stewart Downing's free-kick hit the bar late on.

Aston Villa and Middlesbrough face off later in the day in the return leg of the play-off semi-final.

After a quiet start this week, the game's first chance arrived after 19 minutes as Villa's Conor Hourihane forced Darren Randolph into a good save with a shot from the edge of the box. The boys are different class. It was important we didn't concede.

"If any team deserved to win the game tonight I think it was us". "One more step and it'll be the dream".

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A minute's applause was held before kick-off for Jlloyd Samuel, the former Villa defender killed in a auto accident on Tuesday, before a first 45 minutes of few opportunities was played out in front of a packed crowd.

It was a tight affair with few chances for either team.

"The players have worked so hard though, they have given everything".

"It was agony towards the end, if I'm being honest".

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By contrast the first half last night was edgy, tense and decidedly sloppy, with some early fire from Villa abating and Boro settling without possessing the final-third poise to crack open the hosts' rearguard, organised impeccably by John Terry.

Villa fans will be hoping this year's trip won't go the same way, because they were humbled 4-0 that time, barely putting up a fight. Boro winger Adama Traore was shackled particularly well by a Villa side determined not to let those in red past them.

'We've given ourselves an advantage, we're playing against a very experienced team and a very experienced manager (Tony Pulis).

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