Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa: Premier League – as it happened | Football
Dean Smith’s verdict. “It’s a really tough place to come … our gameplan came off really well, we pressed well in the first half … in the second we went with a low block and gave them few chances … we wanted to play safety first and did that today … we got on the front foot early … we got our rewards … our intensity level was much better than last week … the players have shown today that they’re a good team … they played a team who score goals freely and kept a clean sheet.”
Here’s the hero of the hour, Anwar El Ghazi, speaking to Sky. “The last time we were here was hectic and chaotic, so I’m happy this time was a better end for me … the last time I was really disappointed. I was very upset because of the play-offs and everything, so I am happy with the result today … we know Jack Grealish is very important for us, and without him it’s going to be a hard game, so the boys played really well … I will have a talk with Marcelo Bielsa [his former boss at Lille] inside, I have a very good relationship with him, he is a very good coach, one of the best I have ever had, I have a lot of respect for him.”
Villa remain in eighth place, but now they’ve got 39 points and a game in hand on sixth-placed Liverpool. Leeds also stay where they were, in tenth spot with 35 points. A tight game, but on balance Villa deserved to edge it. They were effervescent in attack during the first half, and resolute at the back in the second. Leeds had most of the ball after the break, but did very little with it. A rare low-scoring game involving Marcelo Bielsa’s side. He warmly congratulates his opposite number Dean Smith, who will be extremely happy with the way his side performed without their talisman Jack Grealish.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa
Redemption and revenge for Anwar El Ghazi, sent off in the famous Championship brouhaha a couple of seasons ago, and the scorer of the only goal tonight!
90 min +5: Harrison works his way down the left. His low cross flies straight through the box. Nobody in white can get near to it.
90 min +4: Raphinha whips it into the mixer. Martinez rises to claim. Targett, again tiptoeing on the tightrope, gives Bamford a little shove, but not enough for a penalty.
90 min +3: Hernandez dribbles down the right and digs out a cross. Martinez claims, but it’s taken a clip off Mings and it’ll be a corner. Meslier comes up for it!
90 min +2: Leeds press but Villa intercept and break. Watkins wanders towards the corner flag, managing the clock in the professional style.
90 min: If Villa are to avenge their defeat by Leeds at home earlier in the season, they’ll need to survive for five more minutes.
89 min: A huge chance for Leeds. Harrison dribbles down the inside left. He scoops towards Raphiniha at the far post, six yards out. He’s got to work Martinez at the very least, but heads weakly downwards and wide right.
88 min: El Ghazi, as things stand tonight’s matchwinner, is replaced by Trezeguet. He has been fantastic tonight, especially in the first half.
87 min: Hernandez, his blood perhaps still boiling in the wake of his slightly unfortunate booking, miscontrols when found by Ayling on the penalty spot, the ball clanking between his feet. Just for a split second, a glorious chance presented itself.
86 min: Ayling crosses from the right. Bamford bravely dives low to meet it with a diving header. His effort is deflected for a corner. Raphinha’s delivery is below par.
84 min: In the age-old traditions of the insult-injury double whammy, Hernandez is booked for complaining about the challenge.
83 min: Hernandez is clattered from behind by Targett, who really is chancing his arm now. Hernandez claims he’s been elbowed in the back of the head. The referee isn’t interested.
81 min: Dallas intercepts a loose Traore ball, allowing Dallas to scamper up the other end. The ball’s shuttled wide right for Raphinha, but Nakamba closes down the space and shuts down all the options.
80 min: El Mohamady is booked for taking his sweet time over a free kick.
79 min: Villa make their first change of the evening. Sanson, their new purchase from Marseille, comes on for Ramsey.
77 min: Targett should probably be walking. Having already been booked, he catches the back of Raphinha’s leg with his studs. Just a foul, and a free kick that comes to nothing. Targett’s a lucky chap.
75 min: Hernandez has a whack from distance. Ramsey blocks and deflects out for a corner. The set piece is half-cleared, finding Klich, 30 yards out. Nothing wrong with backing your talent, of course, but even the great Peter Lorimer – godspeed, Lash – would think twice about volleying home from there. Miles high and wide.
74 min: Marcelo Bielsa cuts a frustrated figure as he prowls panther-like up and down the touchline. He’s played all his cards now, and time is running out. His team haven’t managed to create a single thing in this second half. He’ll keep pounding.
72 min: McGinn is clipped from behind by Klich, who having been booked already wants to watch himself here. Just a free kick.
70 min: Roberts is replaced by Hernandez. “I’d advocate a sin bin for hauling back,” writes Andy Tuohy. “10-15 mins? A paltry yellow card isn’t enough if someone has a clear chance going forward.” Yes, a good idea. Or a free swing. I’d be easy either way. The punters would love it, although obviously we also have to think of the kids.
68 min: Some space for Alioski down the left. His low cross is dangerous, but somehow evades all the white shirts in the box. Mings clears. Villa tear up the other end, Ramsey feeding El Ghazi down the left. He’s one on one with Ayling, and beats him easily enough, but takes his shot early and sends it off down the M1.
66 min: A free kick for Villa, out on the right. Mings meets it with a header that’s deflected over by Cooper. Nothing comes of the corner.
61 min: Both players are booked. You’d have to have some sympathy with Roberts, who was just trying to get on with things, and lashed out in frustration at the brazen cynicism. There wasn’t any contact either, but Targett went down clutching his shin. Players should be allowed a free pop when they’re stopped from taking quick free kicks. That’d stop it soon enough.
60 min: Leeds launch a quick break. Targett fouls Roberts, to put a stop to their gallop. Roberts tries to take a quick free kick to regain the momentum. Targett sprawls cynically on his back to stop him. Roberts attempts to shove him away in frustration. Targett collapses to the floor in theatrical style. Here we go.
59 min: All of a sudden, the pace of the game drops significantly. This will help Villa more than Leeds. The hosts could do with raising the tempo again.
57 min: Nothing coming off for Leeds at the moment. Alioski chases another long pass down the left, but again El Mohamady has his opponent’s number. Goal kick.
55 min: Cooper tires to release Raphinha down the inside-left channel. Raphinha can’t reach the sliderule pass, eased away by El Mohamady. That’s some fine off-the-ball defending.
53 min: Struijk, who was ignominiously hooked early in the corresponding fixture at Villa Park, doesn’t complete the 90 tonight either. He’s replaced by Alioski.
52 min: Cooper strides out from the back and sends Costa romping down the right. Costa wins a corner off Mings, who insists the Leeds man got the last touch. Happily for those tired of confected controversy, nothing comes of the resulting set piece.
50 min: Costa and Ayling combine well down the right. Ayling’s cross is headed clear by Konsa, under pressure from Bamford.
48 min: Leeds’ turn to have a free kick. Raphinha takes, out on the right. For once, his delivery is no good, bouncing over a row of players on the edge of the Villa box and harmlessly into Martinez’s arms.
47 min: Struijk hauls Ramsey down, and it’s a free kick to Villa on the left touchline. A chance to load the box. Traore takes. Bamford half clears. Traore dribbles back towards the Leeds area. The door slams shut, but that’s a fast start to the half by the visitors.
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HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa
How has there only been one goal in this?
45 min: Llorente is kicked by Watkins. There’s not much in it, but Llorente rolls around theatrically, then threatens to knock Watkins’ block off when the striker tries to haul him up off the floor. The referee reminds both players that they’re grown men, and we move on.
43 min: Ayling loses his scrunchie and for a couple of minutes his locks flow free in the mid-1980s hair-metal style.
41 min: Free kick for Leeds out on the right. Another opportunity for Raphinha to showcase his wonderful dead-ball skills. He curls in high, inviting the flick-on. Ayling obliges, looping the ball towards the top left. Martinez claims.
40 min: … Villa nearly score on the break! Roberts is dispossessed by Watkins, who tears upfield and eventually sends a bobbling shot into the arms of Meslier. Such a dangerous counter, but having done all the hard work to get there, Watkins should have done better.
39 min: Raphinha, ever the threat, wins a corner down the left and takes it himself. He pulls it back for Costa, surprising everyone in the crowded box. Costa fires it goalwards, but there are too many players in the road, and his shot deflects out for a second corner. From which …
37 min: Nakamba is clipped from behind by Roberts, who is perhaps fortunate not to go into the book. The game’s been played in a good spirit, though, and so the referee just delivers a quiet lecture.
35 min: Raphinha whips in low from the left. Martinez handles perfectly, the ball having just evaded Bamford at the near post. Leeds are certainly knocking.
34 min: Raphinha buzzes in from the left and finds Ayling in the centre with a low diagonal pass. Ayling spins and tries to float a chip over Martinez and into the top left from 25 yards. It’s always going wide, but full marks for artistic ambition.