Middlesbrough ultimately came up short, however, and it is Villa, who were relegated from the Premier League two years ago, who have a shot at redemption.
Bruce was appointed in October 2016, with Villa 19th, and has previously questioned the mentality and ability of some players to handle the pressure.
Fulham await at Wembley on Saturday week after Villa, playing with resilience and courage, frustrated a Middlesbrough side who were left to rue the goal that Mile Jedinak headed in at the Riverside in the first leg.
"The boys were different class".
"It was intense. I think our game plan worked very well so the manager deserves a lot credit for that".
Boro boss Pulis know that there's a tricky challenge facing his side tonight, but isn't refusing to give up hope of making a comeback; "Villa are in the ascendency in the tie, we've got to go to Villa Park in front of a full house so that gives them the advantage".
Improved Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket debuts
SpaceX blamed "a basic ground system auto abort" for stopping the countdown 58 seconds prior to liftoff. "I hope fate does not penalize me for these words, however that is unquestionably the intent.
Nwankwo, Lokosa, Ajiboye make W'Cup list
Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye and Daniel Akpeyi are battling for the team's goal keeping spot. I'm honoured to be listed in the World Cup provisional squad.
Ramadan fasting to begin on Thursday, Saudi says
It is the most holy month in the calendar for Muslims as it is believed the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during Ramadan. Astronomers in Kuwait and Sharjah have also indicated May 17 will be the likely start date for the month of Ramadan.