Aston Villa and Sheffield United marked the return of the English Premier League with a goalless draw at Villa Park on Wednesday.
The game comes exactly 100 days after the last Premier League fixture – on 9 March which featured Villa who were walloped 4-0 by Leceister.
The return of the Premier League came in unfamiliar settings in an empty stadium.
A beautiful moment heralded the start of the match when both sets of players, team and match officials took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the globe after referee Michael Oliver blew for kickoff.
Both teams also had Black Lives Matter emblazoned on their jerseys in place of players’ names.
But what started on such a beautiful note descended into farce in the 42nd minute when Villa goalkeeper appeared to cross the line with the ball but neither referee Michael Oliver the Goal Line Decision system or the Video Assistant Referee awarded the goal.
In a game of little chances, Villa edged the openings with an improved second-half performance but Dean Henderson in goal for Sheffield pulled a couple of good saves to ensure a spell of the spoils for the Blades.
The draw marks the end of a four-game losing run for Dean Smith’s Villa who miss the chance to lift themselves from relegation trouble as they remain a point from safety in 19th with 26 points having played their outstanding game.
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield, the surprise package of the season still have Europe firmly in their sights after leapfrogging Wolverhampton Wanderers into 6th place with 44 points.
The Blades are a point behind 5th-placed Manchester United who they face next and four points behind Chelsea who occupy 4th-place.