Dean Smith: Aston Villa boss praises Marcelo Bielsa 'sportsmanship'

Albert Adomah walks-in Aston Villa's equaliser against Leeds United
Marcelo Bielsa allowed his Leeds side to let Albert Adomah "walk-in" Aston Villa's equaliser

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was relieved "sportsmanship prevailed" as Leeds United allowed his side to equalise in a controversial 1-1 draw.

Smith's opposite number Marcelo Bielsa agreed to hand Villa a goal after they led through Mateusz Klich's strike.

Klich played on after players on both sides stopped for an injury to Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia.

Albert Adomah rolled in the leveller straight from the restart after Smith and Bielsa had agreed on the touchline.

The draw at Elland Road also confirmed Sheffield United's automatic promotion to the Premier League and sets up the prospect of Leeds and Villa meeting again in next month's play-off final.

"In the end, the right decision has prevailed," Smith told BBC WM 95.6.

"First and foremost, the referee makes a poor decision because Jonathan [Kodjia] gets fouled in the centre circle. If he gives that as a foul, then nothing happens and we just get on with the game.

"But unfortunately, he doesn't and then Tyler Roberts should put the ball out because their players have actually stopped and our players have stopped too.

"He feints to put it out before deciding to put the ball down the line. Klich goes on and scores and all emotional control has gone from everyone.

"Nobody wants to see that."

Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi was sent off for an apparent elbow to Patrick Bamford's face while Conor Hourihane and Bamford were also booked in the melee that followed.

Smith revealed Klich apologised to him at the full-time for his decision to play on. He also praised Bielsa for agreeing to allow Villa to walk the ball in from the restart.

"Full respect to Marcelo for doing that," Smith added. "I think sportsmanship has prevailed in the end."

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Aston Villa also intend to appeal El Ghazi's sending off which would see him miss their play-off semi-finals should the decision stand.

"That was farcical," Smith said. "I don't know what the officials have seen there, but Patrick Bamford will be a little bit ashamed of his part in it.

"It was never a sending off. We will appeal and I expect it will be rescinded."

Bielsa meanwhile chose not to elaborate on the reasons behind allowing Villa to "walk-in" an equaliser.

"Things that happened, happened and we behaved as we behaved," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

"That's all I can say about something that is very clear, regarding what happened before and what happened after.

"There was a circumstance in the game that deserved an answer from one of the two teams."

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