Leeds 1-1 Brighton: Player ratings as Struijk header lifts Whites out of bottom three | OneFootball
Leeds 1-1 Brighton: Player ratings as Struijk header lifts Whites out of bottom three
FROM ELLAND ROAD - An injury time header from Pascal Struijk gave Leeds United a 1-1 draw with Brighton and lifted them out of the Premier League drop-zone.
Brighton had dominated for large periods and looked on course for victory thanks to Danny Welbeck's goal midway through the first-half.
But deep into injury time Leeds manage to salvage a point and possibly their season as substitute Struijk headed home from close range after great work from Joe Gelhardt.
The point lifts them above Burnley - who were beaten at Tottenham earlier in the day - and Leeds go into the final day knowing they will have something to play for, although Mike Jackson's side do have a game in hand.
Leeds started well in the opening minutes and from the first corner of the game almost scored but Liam Cooper inadvertently blocked Gelhardt's goal-bound effort. That was just about as good as it got for the home side in the first 45.
Thereafter it was all Brighton. Moises Caicedo had his shot well saved by Illan Meslier before Solly March pulled wide with only the Leeds number one to beat.
Pascal Gross was then denied from March's pass, but the deadlock was broken soon after the 20-minute mark with a brilliant counter-attack.
Rodrigo was dispossessed easily by Yves Bissouma and he strode forward before delivering a great ball into the box for Welbeck
The former Manchester United star, whose every touch was being booed by the home fans, turned Diego Llorente inside out before chipping the ball over Meslier.
Leeds had little answer to Brighton's football but they almost got themselves back on level terms from a corner just before the break.
Raphinha played it short to the edge of the box for Mateusz Klich, but his goal-bound effort was brilliantly pushed wide by Robert Sanchez, who was called into action for the first time in the game.
As you would expect Leeds came out strong in the second-half with the crowd getting behind them.
Jack Harrison and Raphinha blazed over before Lewis Dunk deflected a Rodrigo effort over his own bar. Sanchez continued to have nothing to do - that was until just after the hour.
Moises Caicedo gave away a free-kick 30-yards out and Raphinha unleashed a thunderous drive, only for Sanchez to produce a top-draw save. He was called on again not long after to deny Klich as the Spaniard stood firm.
Indeed Brighton could and should have extended their lead late on and it looked like Welbeck had but his header flew just wide of the post.
Then as six minutes of added time was announced it gave the home side a lift and suddenly they were level.
Gelhardt took the ball down in the box and got the better of the Brighton defence before chipping the ball up to the back post where Struijk - who had been brought on a striker - headed the ball home.
Just minutes before the equaliser there were chants for Marcelo Bielsa and sack the board, but the goal meant that instead of boos the players and Marsch walked off with a standing ovation for the point they battled so hard for and that could yet keep them in the Premier League.
1. Leeds United (4-2-3-1)
Leeds United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / George Wood/GettyImages
GK: Ilhan Meslier - 7/10 - Pulled off some excellent saves, but won't be happy to have been chipped for the goal.RB: Robin Koch - 4/10 - Not a natural right-back and it showed. Brighton attacked him at will.CB: Liam Cooper (C) - 4/10 - Blocked a clear opener for Gelhardt, far from his usual solid self. CB: Diego Llorente - 3/10 - Will be glad to see the back of Welbeck who gave him a torrid time.LB: Junior Firpo - 3/10 - Hard to imagine him ever playing for Barcelona. Given a tough afternoon by March, Gross, or basically anyone who went up against him.CM: Kalvin Phillips - 6/10 - Battled throughout, kept his shape.CM : Mateusz Klich - 6/10 - Improved as the game went on and was denied twice by the brilliance of Sanchez.LW: Jack Harrison - 6/10 - One of the few players who looked like he might do something, but struggled to find room or runners when he had the ball.CAM: Rodrigo - 3/10 - His opening 45 was probably one of the worst displays in the Premier League this season. Improved slightly after the break, but not much.RW: Raphinha - 6/10 - Showed with his second-half display why Barcelona are looking at him. Sanchez produced a brilliant save to deny him with a thunderous free-kick.CF: Joe Gelhardt - 7/10 - Worked hard, and did superbly to create a late equaliser.SUB: Jamie Shackleton (68' for Koch) - 4/10 - Didn't see much of the ball.SUB: Sam Greenwood (82' for Koch) - N/ASUB: Pascal Struijk (82' for Raphinha) - 7/10 - Huge goal which could save Leeds' season.
2. Brighton (3-4-2-1)
Leeds United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / Stu Forster/GettyImages
GK: Robert Sanchez - 7/10 - Produced a number of top-class saves to keep Leeds out but just beaten in injury time.CB: Joel Veltman - 7/10 - Comfortable and brought the ball out of defence well.CB: Lewis Dunk (c) - 6/10 - Marshalled the defence but will be disappointed by the late equaliser as Gelhardt got the better of him.CB: Marc Cucurella - 7/10 - Such a good outlet to have in central defence. He joins the midfield seamlessly. RWB: Solly March - 7/10 - Cutting inside onto his left-foot he was picking passes at will. Excellent.CM: Yves Bissouma - 8/10 - Helped dominate the midfield for Brighton. His interception and pass for the goal were brilliant.CM: Moises Caicedo - 7/10 - The Ecuadorian looks some player - never missed a beat in the middle of the park. LWB: Leandro Trossard - 7/10 - Constant threat with Cucurella down the left but a tad wasteful at times.CAM: Pascal Gross - 7/10 - Could and should have scored in the first half but a constant threat throughout.CAM: Alexis Mac Allister - 7/10 - Some nice passing but should have got on the scoresheet.ST: Danny Welbeck - 8/10 - Gareth Southgate should be watching Danny Welbeck in this form. Brilliant performance including a world-class finish. Solid enough.
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