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

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

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.

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.”