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Aston Villa 1-1 Leeds: Kodja’s late penalty denies Monk’s men third place

Date Posted,December 29, 2016

Steve Bruce will lobby the Ivory Coast for permission to play top scorer Jonathan Kodjia on Monday after he rescued a point from a controversial late penalty.

The frontman struck four minutes from time to preserve Villa’s unbeaten home record and deny Leeds third place in a thrilling finale.

But the nine-goal hitman,27, is now due to fly out with the Ivory Coast to the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

Villa boss Bruce has permission from Ghana to play Jordan Ayew at Cardiff on Monday and now wants his star striker to be available for the trip to Wales too.

Bruce needed him here after Leeds centre-back Pontus Jansson put the visitors ahead with a 54th-minute header which keeper Mark Bunn should have stopped.

Leeds celebrate Jansson’s opener (Photo: Alex Pantling)

Jansson also hit the bar but Villa were given a lifeline when Liam Cooper handled under pressure from sub Rudy Gestede.

Kodjia stepped up to bury his latest goal following an £11million summer switch from Bristol City.

Referee Roger East initially did not give the spot kick but awarded it after his assistant flagged.

Bruce said: “It was the right decision, it was blatant handball. Fair play to the linesman.

“He has got the right decision for us.

“Kodjia missed the last one but he showed a pair of balls to step up and stuck it away well.

“We have permission from Ghana and now want the Ivory Coast.

“Really I can’t understand why they can’t just play the game and join up afterwards.

“They are in training camp for 10 days and we hope the Ivory Coast federation see a bit of sense and allow us Jonathan to stay.

Kodjia made no mistake from the spot (Photo: Neville Williams)

“We are waiting to hear. It is Christmas and the Ivory Coast is I think shut-down.”

Kodjia had a deflected shot in the fifth minute which keeper Rob Green did well to palm away one-handed to his left.

James Chester also headed narrowly wide from Jordan Amavi’s delivery with Green scrambling.

But Leeds grew into the game and broke the deadlock when Jansson shook off Nathan Baker to head in Stuart Dallas’ delivery.

The ball squirmed over the line as Bunn fumbled it ito the net for Janson’s second goal for the club following his loan from Torino.

Leeds United's Pontus Jansson (left) and Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodija
Jansson put in an impressive performance at Villa Park (Photo: PA Wire)

Incredibly moments later the big Swedish defender rattled the bar with a fine right-foot volley from Luke Ayling’s lay-off.

Villa tried to fight their way back as Bruce made changes to go more direct and it paid off.

Both sides might have won it in a dramatic finale as Hadi Sacko also had a shot deflected on to the bar by Amavi and Kodjia had a shot saved by Green.

Leeds boss Garry Monk, whose side are fourth after 25 points from a possible 33, reflected: “We were the best team.

“Even when they equalised we wanted to win the game.

“We should have taken the three points but it shows how far we have come.”

Player rartings

Villa: Bunn 6, Hutton 6, Chester 7, Baker 7, Amavi 7, Ayew 5 (Adomah 78, 6), Bacuna 5, Westwood 6, Jedinak 5 (Gestede 77, 7), Grealish 6 (McCormack 49, 6) Kodjia 7.

Leeds: Green 7, Ayling 8, MOTM Jansson 9, Cooper 7, Berardi 7, Bridcutt 7 (Vieira 83, 6), Phillips 7, Sacko 7, Dallas 7 (Hernandez 57, 7 ), Doukara 7, Roofe 7 (Wood 69, 6).

Referee: Roger East

Attendance : 37,078

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