Middlesbrough and Aston Villa managers react to controversial decision in play-off semi-final

Both Tony Pulis and Steve Bruce were in agreement that Sam Johnstone could have seen red late on at Villa Park.

Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 11:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 11:56 pm
Boro boss Tony Pulis.

The Villa keeper handled outside of his area, palming away Adama Traore's attempted lob but referee Mike Dean only deemed it a yellow card offence.

A red card should have been shown if he was deemed to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, though there was a covering defender.

The incident in the 87th minute left Pulis angry, while Bruce conceded it could have been a red card.

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Pulis said: “You write want you want to write, it is a disappointing decision from what is one of our top officials.”

Bruce felt it could have been a red but didn’t feel the decision had an influence on the result given it happened so late but he had sympathy for Boro and Pulis.

Bruce said: “If I’m being brutally honest, maybe the referee got that wrong, maybe it could have been a red card.”