Match Report: Leeds United 3-4 Millwall - Whites lose frenetic thriller at the death
Sunday, 21st Jan 2018 10:34 by @LucasMonk_
Leeds United were, yesterday, cruelly defeated as a compelling clash against Millwall at Elland Road neared its conclusion.
Leeds United are still yet to win a match since the turn of the year after having the ignominy of defeat inflicted upon them by Millwall for the second time this season.
In an enthralling spectacle, United’s captain Liam Cooper was sent off in a first half that also yielded two Millwall goals - with former Leeds striker Steve Morison assisting Aiden O’Brien and Lee Gregory in the scoring of them.
United, though, emerged from the tunnel for the second half and produced a mettlesome fightback after the restart. The vigour with which they played the opening 20 minutes of the second period - whilst at a numerical disadvantage - contrasted strikingly with their slovenly disposition in the first. By the 62nd minute, Leeds possessed the advantage owing to a thunderous brace by Pierre-Michel Lasogga and a goal by Kemar Roofe - following a glaring error by Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer - from close quarters.
But United’s Herculean effort greatly enervated them and, after the now languid attacking pair of Lasogga and Roofe were withdrawn, the Lions began to turn the screw. Leeds defended gallantly as their opponents exerted much attacking pressure, but, notwithstanding their application, an equaliser still arose with only three minutes of normal time remaining. Millwall substitute Tom Elliott, a product of the United academy, fired a low, right-footed effort past Leeds goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald after Jake Cooper headed the ball downward.
There remained time for the hosts - and their dutifully faithful supporters - to suffer further anguish. After United relinquished possession carelessly from a throw-in in the second minute of added time, Millwall’s Jed Wallace scampered toward goal before chancing his arm; his attempt ricocheted off Pontus Jansson and into the net to prompt delirious celebrations amongst the travelling fans.
After Leeds’ Conor Shaughnessy saw a late effort saved by Archer, the referee blew his whistle to conclude the match. United have not lost four of their last five matches in all competitions and they are consequently now 10th in the Championship table. For Millwall, their first triumph in an away league fixture since their return to the division sees them elevated to 15th place.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1) - Wiedwald; Berardi, Jansson, Cooper, De Bock; Vieira (Pennington 43’), Phillips; Hernández, Roofe (Dallas 74’), Alioski: Lasogga (Shaughnessy 83’).
Unused Substitutes: Lonergan, Anita, Sacko, Cibicki.
Millwall (4-4-2) - Archer; McLaughlin (Romeo 82’), Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith (Elliott 66’); Wallace, Williams, Saville, O’Brien (Ferguson 63’); Morison, Gregory.
Unused Substitutes: Martin, Craig, Thompson, Tunnicliffe.
Half-Time: Leeds United 0-2 Millwall - O’Brien (18’), Gregory (42’)
Full-Time: Leeds United 3-4 Millwall - O’Brien (18’), Gregory (42’), Lasogga (46’, 62’), Roofe (55’), Elliott (87’), Wallace (90+2’)
Match Statistics (Leeds / Millwall)
Possession: 49% / 51%
Attempts: 19 / 26
On Target: 11 / 8
Pass Success: 66% / 64%
Aerial Duel Success: 53% / 47%
Corners: 1 / 9
Fouls: 12 / 13
Booked: Jansson, Phillips, Alioski (Leeds), Hutchinson, Elliott (Millwall).
Sent Off: Cooper (Leeds).
Man of the Match: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Leeds).
The 26-year-old German forward, who is on loan at Elland From from Hamburger SV of the Bundesliga, has been subjected to much opprobrium of late, but this stellar performance may have perhaps secured him some new admirers. Two goals, taken in consummate style, in addition to his winning of more aerial duels than any other player on the field will doubtless - despite the eventual defeat - stand the maligned forward in good stead for United’s forthcoming fixtures.
Venue: Elland Road (capacity of 37,890).
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
A fourth defeat in five matches, and a third red card in three. Liam Cooper may not have been sent off owing to malice as Samuel Sáiz and Eunan O’Kane were at Newport County and Ipswich Town respectively, but United’s season nonetheless appears to be on the precipice of cataclysmic collapse.
In the first half of this match, Leeds were inexcusably docile and timorous. I cannot recall Steve Morison - who peerlessly took on the mantle of the pantomime villain - losing a single aerial battle against Cooper in the first half. The Lions manufactured copious opportunities and United were perhaps fortunate to have only trailed by two goals come the half-time interlude.
The tale of the second period was one of fortitude, determination, exultation and eventual melancholy. Leeds exuded great fortitude and determination to eradicate, to the surprise of all present, a two-goal deficit; Pierre-Michel Lasogga then engendered the exultation amongst the home supporters and players with his second goal of the match, a rasping effort from 25 yards that flew into the bottom-left corner; then, following the withdrawal of Lasogga and Kemar Roofe, United’s other goalscorer, came the melancholy, with a double salvo engineered by Tom Elliott and Jed Wallace condemning Leeds to another acrimonious defeat. A defeat that, one must say, necessitates the asking of difficult questions.
Why was it that United only began to mirror the impassioned disposition of their opponents after ceding two goals and having their captain dismissed for a ludicrous lunge? Why was it that Thomas Christiansen did not deign to replace either Lasogga or Roofe with an attacking player - Hadi Sacko and Paweł Cibicki were amongst Leeds’ remaining substitutes - when both players became too enfeebled to continue? And why was it that Jed Wallace was meekly allowed to score the winning goal in such a facile manner?
There is only one way and one way alone in which Christiansen and his charges can countervail the asking of those questions: by defeating Hull City in their next match. Fail, and perhaps questions infinitely more difficult will be posed concerning a United team that, at this moment, looks rudderless, leaderless and anything but a firm candidate to secure a play-off berth come May.
Photo: Action Images
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