Derby County stuns Leeds, will face Aston Villa at Wembley in Championship playoff final

For Derby County, the fourth time was the charm. After losing to Leeds United three times this season, the Rams came away with a crucial victory away from home on Wednesday, and in the process it kept their Premier League hopes alive while ending that of their opponent. In the English Football Championship playoff semifinals, Leeds United entered with a 1-0 lead over Derby after winning the first leg on the road. Leeds went on to take a 1-0 lead in the second leg to go up 2-0 on aggregate, but Derby came roaring back with four goals, winning the second leg 4-2 (4-3 win on aggregate). The result pushes Derby to the Championship final at Wembley Stadium against Aston Villa, where a spot in next season’s Premier League is on the line. 

 

In what was a stunning, physical and at times crazy game, Derby got three goals in a 14-minute stretch, and both teams finished the game with 10 men. Jack Marriott came on as a substitute and scored two goals for Derby — the first with his very first touch of the game and his second the clinching goal in the 85th minute. Derby had bounced back to take a 3-1 lead in the second leg, but Leeds managed to tie it up through Stuart Davis’ second goal before Marriott’s winner.

For Derby, how sweet it is. The club, coached by Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, gets revenge on Leeds. In his first season, he has the club one win away from promotion, the team’s main objective, and knocking out Leeds has to feel even better. The two teams were involved in quite the story earlier in the season where Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa sent someone to spy on Derby during training. Bielsa later apologized and said he didn’t realize what was being done was considered unethical, and it certainly rubbed Derby the wrong way. 

Now, Lampard and company move on to the final to face Aston Villa. Derby hasn’t been in the Premier League in over 10 years, spending just one season in the top flight since 2002. Derby finished the Championship season in sixth place, with placed third through sixth making the playoff. Derby played Villa twice this season losing 3-0 and 4-0. 

The final is set for Monday, May 27. 

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