Saturday 21 September 2019

Leeds raise the Roofe as late winner secures Christmas No 1

Aston Villa 2 Leeds United 3

John McGinn of Aston Villa is surrounded during the match. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
John McGinn of Aston Villa is surrounded during the match. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

John Culley

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted he was "overwhelmingly happy" with Kemar Roofe's goal five minutes into injury-time that enabled his side to secure the Christmas No 1 spot in the Championship after a stunning second-half fightback at Villa Park.

Bielsa's injury-hit side, who had six academy players on the bench, had been two goals down within 17 minutes, after Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane had given Villa early control.

John McGinn of Aston Villa and Leif Davis of Leeds United battle for the ball. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
John McGinn of Aston Villa and Leif Davis of Leeds United battle for the ball. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

However, 18-year-old Jack Clarke left the bench to score his first senior goal to launch the comeback 11 minutes into the second half, curling in a right-footed shot after cutting in from the left, before Pontus Jansson headed Leeds level after the hour.

They snatched victory in the dying seconds when Ahmed Elmohamady's attempt to clear an Ezgjan Alioski cross presented a gift to Roofe, who swept the ball past Orjan Nyland.

"Before we scored that goal we were thinking it was going to be a draw and we were satisfied with that," Bielsa said.

"It is not common to change a game from 2-0 behind to win 3-2 and it is not common that the game is defined in the last minute, so we felt a lot of euphoria.

Adam Forshaw of Leeds United tackles Yannick Bolasie of Aston Villa. Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Adam Forshaw of Leeds United tackles Yannick Bolasie of Aston Villa. Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

"We were overwhelmingly happy, almost too much, because sometimes the emotion prevents any kind of analysis."

In each of the past 10 seasons the team leading the Championship at this stage has been promoted, a fact that was brought to Bielsa's attention afterwards.

"I hope we will not be the exception, because we all know rules have exceptions," he said. (©Daily Telegraph)

Kemar Roofe of Leeds United is tackled by James Chester of Aston Villa. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Kemar Roofe of Leeds United is tackled by James Chester of Aston Villa. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds United controlls the ball under pressure from Alan Hutton of Aston Villa. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds United controlls the ball under pressure from Alan Hutton of Aston Villa. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Telegraph.co.uk

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