Leeds’ late comeback stuns leaders Leicester

23 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Leeds seemingly blew the Championship title race open after coming from 1-0 down to beat Leicester 3-1 and reduce the Foxes’ lead at the top to six points.

Wout Faes’ header after 15 minutes had the Foxes leading heading into the final 10 minutes of the 90, while Patson Daka had a second controversially ruled out for offside just before the hour mark.

But Leeds – who did not hit a single shot on target in the first 67 minutes – found a way back in the most dramatic fashion.

Archie Gray celebrates Leeds' second goal vs Leicester

Image: Archie Gray celebrates Leeds’ second goal vs Leicester

Connor Roberts first lashed in his first goal since joining on loan from Burnley in January, before teenager Archie Gray hit a shot that deflected off Hamza Choudhury, then Faes, before nestling beyond Mads Hermansen to send Elland Road wild.

There was enough time for substitute Patrick Bamford to extend the lead even further, after helping in Daniel James’ late free-kick, too, which secured a ninth straight league win for Daniel Farke’s side.

How Leeds stunned the champions-elect

With Leeds having won eight on the spin and Leicester naturally unwilling to forfeit the top spot they have held for so long, there was expectation on this blockbuster clash to deliver.

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Wout Faes puts Leicester ahead against Leeds with a header

It certainly did. The teams traded half-chances in an intriguing start, before an unexpected source popped up with the opener that settled any nerves for those of a Leicester persuasion.

Daka made a diagonal run to the near post to salvage Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s outswinging corner, looping a header to the far post, where Faes was waiting to head down and over the line.

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Patson Daka’s goal is wrongly ruled offside denying Leicester a 2-0 lead at Elland Road

Leeds asserted themselves thereafter, but found it difficult to breach the Foxes’ defence and, though they did have chances – Willy Gnonto turned into trouble when through on goal, while Crysencio Summerville forced a superb last-ditch block from Jannik Vestergaard – they ended the first half without a shot on target.

Leicester should have had a second when Daka put the ball in the net after Vestergaard’s thumping header came back off the woodwork, but referee Craig Pawson ruled the strike out for offside.

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Connor Roberts levels the score at Elland Road as he bags his first goal for Leeds to peg Leicester back

It was a seemingly incorrect call, with the officials having judged that Hamza Choudhury had moved the ball onto the Zambia striker, even though, on closer inspection, Leeds’ Georginio Rutter had attempted to clear the ball and thus Daka was not in an offside position.

Daka should have doubled the lead shortly afterwards, but inexplicably struck wide first time after Ricardo Pereira’s breathless run and square ball into his feet.

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Archie Gray’s strike deflects off Leicester defender Wout Faes to put Leeds ahead at Elland Road

He was soon left to rue that missed chance. Roberts levelled proceedings after Rutter’s cut-back was deflected into his path and, within three minutes, 17-year-old Gray had turned the game in Leeds’ favour for the first time, again with the help of two deflections.

The points were wrapped up in the 95th minute when James’ free-kick went under the wall, before being turned over the line by Bamford to complete the most gripping of finales.

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Daniel James’ free-kick ricochets off Patrick Bamford’s knee to get Leeds’ third goal of the night and seal a victory over Leicester.

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Patrick Bamford discusses his goal to seal a 3-1 victory over Leicester and praises the crowd at Elland Road

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Archie Gray and Georginio Rutter stunned by Leeds turnaround against Leicester.

Farke: Leeds fans can enjoy their weekend in a proper way!

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Daniel Farke was thrilled with Leeds’ comeback victory over Leicester

Leeds’ Daniel Farke:

“It’s a great evening for everyone connected with Leeds United.

“To be there with a ninth win in a row, unbeaten here at Elland Road (this season) – there are many record-breaking statistics.

“But even more important is the feeling and the spirit. You could feel it in the celebrations of the whole stadium.

“You could see what it means to everyone connected with this club after some really tough years, many disappointments and days of suffering.

“To experience such a period when you feel everything is really united here – players, staff, supporters, the whole club.

“We’re delivering such performances and such results. It’s great and I’m delighted for our supporters. They can enjoy their weekend in a proper way, that’s for sure.”

Maresca proud despite second straight defeat

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Leicester boss Enzo Maresca was frustrated to see his side lose at Leeds after the Championship leaders dominated much of the game at Elland Road

Leicester’s Enzo Maresca:

“I didn’t watch to be honest, so I can’t say anything [about the disallowed goal].

“But until the goal we conceded in the 80th minute, we dominated and controlled the game.

“We created many chances and at the end it was a matter of the chances that we missed.

“In the last 10 minutes, in this kind of game in this stadium, it’s easy when you concede a goal that you drop a little or mentally they are better than us.

“We feel bad because we dropped points, but I feel very proud because we came here with the personality we showed.”

What’s next?

Both sides’ next games come in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Leicester travel to the south coast to take on Bournemouth at 7.30pm on Tuesday February 27, while Leeds go up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at 7.30pm the following evening.

On Saturday March 2, they both return to Sky Bet Championship action.

Leeds face Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium at 12.30pm – live on Sky Sports Football – while Leicester host struggling QPR at 3pm.

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