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Mount stars as Derby make history and defy all the odds to reach playoff final


Leeds United v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Play-off Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Derby County traveled to cauldron-like Elland Road, knowing they’d need something special to overturn their single-goal deficit from the first leg. Derby had lost to Marcelo Bielsa’s side all three times they’d faced them this season.

But not today.

The Rams conceded a terribly sloppy goal from a set-piece early on, and went 2-0 down on aggregate. Derby boss Frank Lampard responded by introducing Jack Marriott in the 44th minute and switching to a 4-4-2 diamond formation. It proved a master stroke. Marriott equalized on the night just a minute later, right on the brink of half-time.

The Derby blitz picked up where it left off in the second half. None other than Mason Mount, who put in a colossal, inspired performance, equalised on aggregate with an improvised finish before Harry Wilson tucked the ball away from the penalty spot to give Derby the lead over Leeds United for the first time all season.

Stuart Dallas then drew Leeds level in spectacular fashion as things reached fever pitch. The atmosphere was electric and the challenges were flying in from all sides. Leeds's Gaetano Berardi was the first of two players to see red, in the 78th minute.

Not long after, an inspired from defence by Derby captain, Richard Keogh, saw Frank Lampard’s side seal the win, with Jack Marriott getting his second and Mount playing a big part.

Derby left back Scott Malone was sent off as well just as injury time began, meaning that Ashley Cole came on to see out the last few minutes of the game and will thus most likely start at Wembley in the play-off final.

Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard at Wembley, written in the stars? Well, they’re up against a more than worthy adversary in the form of Aston Villa, including assistant coach John Terry. Prolific goalscoring talent Tammy Abraham, molded in the Chelsea academy, will square up against a defence containing the imperious, swashbuckling youth Fikayo Tomori and the grizzled veteran winner Ashley Cole.

In defeating Leeds, a truly remarkable side led by the incomparable Marcelo Bielsa, Derby have made history. They are the first team to progress to the play-off final after losing the home leg. May 27, mark your calendars for an absolute blockbuster of a play-off final with a significant amount of former and current Chelsea involvement.

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