Leeds United 1 Aston Villa 1: Bielsa gesture secures Blades promotion
Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League was rubber-stamped on Sunday after Leeds United drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa, with Marcelo Bielsa seemingly ordering his side to allow the visitors to walk in their equalising goal.
Leeds' own hopes of climbing out of the Championship after 15 years away from the top flight had realistically slipped away thanks to successive defeats at the hands of Wigan Athletic and Brentford.
A bad-tempered first half saw both sides trade blows at Elland Road, Stuart Dallas going close with a long-range strike and John McGinn failing to make the most of a good headed chance, while Bielsa was booked for protesting to referee Stuart Attwell.
Villa, on a run of 10 straight league wins, should have taken the lead in the 53rd minute when Jonathan Kodjia blasted a great chance over the Leeds crossbar.
But the game exploded in the 72nd minute when Mateusz Klich curled in the opener, Villa feeling the ball should have been kicked out with Kodjia lying injured on the turf after a challenge in the build-up.
A mass brawl saw Attwell lose control, before he sent off Anwar El Ghazi for a clash with Leeds striker Patrick Bamford, who appeared to exaggerate any contact.
76: #LUFC 1-1 #AVFC— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 28, 2019
It's all happening at Elland Road as Leeds United go in front through Klich. It all gets out of hand in the aftermath. @AElGhazi7 is shown a red card following the mellay. Albert Adomah is then allowed through to equalise for Villa. Chaos.#PartOfThePridepic.twitter.com/O3SQA1sRAq
In response, Bielsa could be seen furiously gesticulating at his team, with Albert Adomah allowed to run through unopposed and slot in, although defender Pontus Jansson appeared to ignore his manager's message by trying to stop the winger.
Leeds needed a late winner to make Sheffield United wait, Tyler Roberts having an effort cleared off the line in added time, but a play-off final reunion against Villa - whose goalkeeper Jed Steer was struggling with injury late on - is now quite possible.