Middlesbrough and Norwich City will meet at Wembley on 25th May in what is probably the most lucrative match in world #Football. The winning club will not only face the elite teams in the glitzy #Premier League next season, they will also pocket around £120 million as a bonus. The two clubs earned their places in the Championship play-off final after Brentford and Ipswich Town were knocked out of this year's competition in the semi-finals.
Middlesbrough 3 - 0 Brentford (aggregate 5-1 to Middlesbrough)
Boro were thought to have set the foundations for overall success against Brentford with their 2-1 away victory at Griffin Park. So it proved in the second leg at home, as Boro were in command throughout. Lee Tomlin curled in their opener midway through the first period, before Kike and Albert Adomah calmly completed the task in the second-half.
It was a sad end to Brentford's season, after they had sneaked into the play-offs. It is also likely to be the end of Bees' manager Mark Warburton's time in charge, as the chairman of the club is looking for a new manager in the summer.
By contrast, Boro manager Aitor Karanka seems to have pulled his side together admirably after the disappointment of missing out on the top two places. He will no doubt seek to engineer a winning game plan in an attempt to maintain the upper hand over Norwich in the Wembley final.
Norwich City 3 - 1 Ipswich Town (aggregate 4-2 to Norwich)
After their close tussle at Portman Road in the first leg had left the tie tantalisingly poised at 1-1, Norwich ultimately proved to be the stronger at Carrow Road. No love is lost between the two East Anglian rivals, but the Suffolk side have had more than their fair share of heartache against the Canaries this season, as Saturday's defeat was their third in all against them this campaign.
There was still nothing to separate the two sides after the first-half of the second leg, but the action hotted up after the break when Town were reduced to ten men on 50 minutes. Scottish international defender Christophe Berra handled Nathan Redmond's shot, resulting in a penalty decision for City and a red card for the Town player. Wes Hoolahan converted the spot-kick to edge the home side ahead in the tie.
The ten men grittily drew themselves back into the tie on the hour mark, when Tommy Smith equalised with a close range effort. Yet the extra man began to take its toll on the away side, with Redmond firing Norwich back ahead on 64 minutes and Cameron Jerome effectively settling the result twelve minutes later.
Although Norwich finished a place ahead of Boro in the regular season, there was only one point separating them after an arduous 46-game campaign. Both sides flirted with the automatic promotion places, but suffered poor results just as Bournemouth and Watford stepped up their efforts. Perhaps the head to head record would suggest that Boro may have the edge, after defeating City home and away in the Championship in 2014-15. Wembley one-off finals are notoriously difficult to predict though, especially when so much rests on the outcome.That special "x-factor" can sometimes prove to be the difference in tight games. City will look for the lively Redmond to perhaps give them the edge, while Boro could have the match-winner in Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford. His place in the starting line-up will depend on whether he recovers fully from the injury that kept him on the bench against Brentford.