Leeds United chooses sportsmanship over victory as Sheffield United clinches promotion

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
LEEDS, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa at Elland Road on April 28, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)
LEEDS, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa at Elland Road on April 28, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Any supporters of Aston Villa who made the journey to Elland Road on Sunday may want to get out of town as quickly as they can.

A tightly-contested match against Leeds United quickly devolved into chaos down the stretch with LUFC scoring a controversial goal, then baiting Villa into a red card before allowing AVFC to net an unchallenged equalizer in the spirit of sportsmanship — which not all United players supported.

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The resulting 1-1 draw secured a promotion for Sheffield United and likely setup a playoff rematch between Villa and Leeds.

Leeds takes the lead

The fracas began in the 72nd minute when Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia fell to the turf at midfield with a clear injury. Instead of putting the ball out of play, Leeds continued to attack, setting up an easy goal for Mateusz Klich as their opponents went ballistic.

In the middle of the skirmish, Patrick Bamford fooled the refs into thinking he had been knocked down, tricking them into handing out a red card to Anwar El Ghazi.

LUFC responds with disgruntled sportsmanship

When the two sides were ready to play on, LUFC boss Marcelo Bielsa came back with a stunning decision, directing his team not to defend the kickoff and to concede the equalizer to Villa.

Ten of the 11 players on United listened to their coach. Pontus Jansson, however, wasn’t ready to let the lead go without a fight and put forth a futile defensive effort while the rest of his teammates obeyed Bielsa’s directive.

The 77th minute tally to Albert Adomah clinched a promotion for Sheffield United, leaving Leeds in a playoff battle as it works on a return to the EPL. Making matters more interesting is the fact that a rematch with AVFC could be in the works.

After the events that ended Sunday’s match, there’s no question that will be a must-see competition should the two sides meet again.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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