Brentford 2-0 Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa’s automatic promotion hopes suffer huge blow as goals from Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos condemn his side to second defeat in four days
- Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes suffered a huge blow at Brentford on Monday
- Neal Maupay gave the hosts the lead just before half-time with a lofted finish
- Sergi Canos then doubles Brentford’s lead with a scrappy finish on 62 minutes
- Leeds are now three points behind Sheffield United with just two games to play
The teasing and the taunting came thick and fast from the Brentford supporters.
‘You’re not going up,’ came the first ditty. Then the more cutting rendition rang out. ‘Leeds are falling apart again.’
For some Leeds supporters, it was all too much, as a dozen or so appeared to file out of the stadium shortly after the hour mark. Sergi Canos, the game’s outstanding player, had provided the cue for their exit, scuffing Brentford’s second goal beyond Kiko Casilla and all but ending Leeds’ flagging aspirations of automatic promotion.
Brentford ran out comfortable winners over promotion-chasing Leeds on Monday evening
Tyler Roberts looks dejected as Leeds’ hopes of reaching the Premier League suffered a blow
Marcelo Bielsa watches on as his team fell further away from Sheffield United in the table
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Brentford: Daniels, Konsa, Jeanvier, Sorensen, Odubajo, Mokotjo, Sawyers, Henry, Canos (Marcondes 81), Maupay, Watkins (Da Silva 87).
Subs not used: Gunnarsson, Ogbene, Racic, Forss, Oksanen.
Goals: Maupay 45, Canos 62
Bookings: Konsa, Maupay, Watkins
Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, Jansson (Clarke 64), Cooper, Alioski (Dallas 12), Forshaw, Hernandez, Klich, Roberts (Roofe 58), Harrison, Bamford.
Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Berardi, Shackleton.
Referee: Keith Stroud
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
So first to the mathematics. Leeds remain third with two games to play and need a minor miracle. Sheffield United are three points clear but their goal difference is eleven better than Leeds. So one win should do it and Chris Wilders’ team have the plum tie, at home to bottom side Ipswich next while Leeds host in-form Aston Villa. Prepare the confetti.
This has been a season of such hope, such promise for Leeds and their celebrated manager Marcelo Bielsa. Leeds have, for so long, been the division’s most watchable side and a club previously on its knees appeared set to stand tall once more. They may yet produce a glorious crescendo under the Wembley arch in the play-offs but this defeat, a fourth in seven games, was a stress signal.
Leeds were the superior side for much of this contest. They played bright, incisive football. They made intelligent runs. They had more shots than Brentford. Yet when the chances arrived, Leeds lacked the composure and mental fortitude to score.
This, sadly, has too often been the story of the latter part of their season. They have scored only four goals in their past five matches and despite having over 50 more shots any Championship rival over the course of the campaign, they have the 16th best shot conversion in the division.
Neal Maupay coolly lofted the ball past goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to give Brentford the lead
The Frenchman spread his arms out wide in celebration after scoring just before half-time
Patrick Bamford tried to get Leeds back into the match but saw his effort fly wide of the goal
Sergi Canos latched onto a pass from Maupay and dinked the ball over Casilla to make it 2-0
Leeds must now regroup and rediscover their scoring touch. As the league table stands, Spygate is set to be revisited as Derby County may be Bielsa’s opponents in the play-off semi-finals. Nobody will be more desperate than Frank Lampard to hammer the final nail into Leeds’ promotion hopes.
Knowing that Sheffield United had beaten Hull, the magnitude of Leeds’ task was clear before kick-off. Only a win would realistically do and Bielsa’s team did start with menace. Patrick Bamford spurned the first chance inside two minute.
Bamford then threaded a pass through to Tyler Roberts, whose touch was heavy and allowed goalkeeper Luke Daniels to gather.
It was not only their own profligacy that cost Leeds dear. With the scores level, Bamford was clearly tripped inside the penalty area by Julian Jeanvier. Referee Keith Stroud had an unobstructed view, yards from the scene, and only he will know how he turned away the appeals.
Canos celebrates his side’s second goal of the evening and was mobbed by his team-mates
Bielsa cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as his side lost for the second time in four days
A Brentford fans leans onto the pitch to grab hold of the shirt of Leeds’s Pablo Hernandez
Brentford goalkeeper Luke Daniels saves a header from Bamford to keep a clean sheet intact
Leeds lost Ezgjan Alioski early on to injury and there were signs Leeds may stumble. Casilla hit a simple pass out of play. Canos began to dictate proceedings, starting from the left but operating between the lines and unsettling Leeds.
A curling, dipping strike brought the best from Casilla and the Spaniard opened up Leeds for Brenford’s first on the stroke of half-time, sliding a pass through a wide open defence and Neal Maupay ran through to score.
Immediately, Leeds created another guilt-edged opportunity as Roberts scurried through again but with time to pick his spot, he sidefooted wide. Leeds started the second half with purpose.
Leeds started the second half much the same way as the first. Stuart Dallas drove on and his strike was tipped over before Jack Harrison curled over. Then came Brentford’s second and Leeds, as ever, will be doing it the hard way.
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