Report: Leeds United 2-2 Bristol City
Sunday, February 18th 2018
City were denied a first win at Elland Road since 1979 after a late fightback from the hosts in a televisied four-goal thriller.
Famara Diédhiou and Bobby Reid both scored inside the opening 16 minutes as City started brilliantly in West Yorkshire.
Hordur Magnusson - restored to the starting XI in place of Jamie Paterson - did all the damage, his long throws the catalyst behind City's super start.
However, the hosts managed to claw their way back into it, with Pierre-Michel Lasogga firing home before substitute Kemar Roofe’s close-range finish ten minutes from time.
Lasogga headed against the crossbar at the death, as Leeds narrowly failed to complete the ultimate turnaround.
Eight days after surrendering a 3-0 lead to draw with Sunderland, head coach Lee Johnson opted to make just one change to his team.
Magnusson joined Aden Flint in central defence, allowing Bailey Wright to switch across to right-back, with Josh Brownhill pushed back into midfield.
The first chance of the game fell the way of the home side as Magnusson was left grounded following an aerial tussle. Caleb Ekuban helped the ball on for Stuart Dallas, but his right-footed drive was palmed away by Frank Fielding.
However, City forged in front with just 11 minutes on the clock and quickly followed it up with a second.
Both goals came from Magnusson long throws, with Flint beating shaky goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald to the ball, leaving Diédhiou with a glorious chance ten yards out. The Senegalese striker took his time before steering a low shot through a cluster of bodies into the near corner.
Delight turned to dreamland moments later when another launched throw from the Icelandic defender again picked out Flint’s head. His looping effort dropped for Marlon Pack to volley goalwards and Reid was on hand to touch in from two yards out.
City's strike partnership had now tallied up ten and 15 goals for the campaign in all competitions.
The Leeds support had been stunned into silence and it hardly helped that their team were unable to muster anything to test Fielding further.
One of their better moves saw Vurnon Anita freed down the right by Ekuban, but as his driven cross flashed through the six-yard box, not a single white shirt was on hand to tuck the ball in.
Lasogga then dragged an effort wide from distance and shortly after jeers were ringing around Elland Road as City pressed for a third.
Neat football saw Reid clip a pass around the corner to Ryan Kent and the Liverpool loanee took one touch before sending a powerful attempt straight at Wiedwald. This time the keeper was up to the task.
Moments later Flint’s glancing header from Kent’s corner kick flashed wide of the far post.
CITY BATTLE ON
Far from sit back on their half-time advantage, City continued on the front foot in the second period.
When Leeds were caught over-playing around their own box, Pack put enough pressure on to nick the ball away. Brownhill drilled a cross in from the right and Diédhiou’s downward header was well saved by Wiedwald.
Pack and Flint were called on to block efforts from distance and then new Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom opted to throw on Kemar Roofe and Hadi Sacko in a double change.
City were still after a third goal to seal it. Magnusson curled a free kick over the top after Kent was chopped down by Eunan O’Kane, having shown quick feet to initially evade his man.
With 18 minutes to go, Leeds had the goal they needed to change the mood.
Out of nothing home skipper Pablo Hernandez clipped a cross towards the back post and Lasogga beat Wright to the ball to stick his shot between Fielding’s legs.
Now those same fans who were jeering at the break and singing sarcastically were very much behind their team.
The visitors were breathing a sigh of relief after substitute Kalvin Philips hit the deck in the area under pressure from Kent, but there was to be no penalty; instead a caution came his way for simulation.
A hobbling Brownhill was replaced by Paterson, with Cauley Woodrow following soon after – but only after Leeds’ equaliser.
A Hernandez corner from the left was flicked on at the near post and Roofe slid in before Bryan at the back post to level.
Now Leeds were scenting blood. Adam Forshaw sent a curling shot wide of the upright and, in the 90th minute, Phillips headed over from two yards out.
There was still time for Lasogga to power a header against the bar in stoppage time, via a slight touch from Fielding, and it proved the last action of the enthralling contest.