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Leeds v Norwich: Championship playoff semi-final, second leg – live | Championship

Written by on May 16, 2024

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46 min: Chance for Leeds! Joel Piroe should haev made it 4-0 after 35 seconds. Norwich couldn’t play through the Leeds press and were opened up yet again in transition. Rutter slid an angled pass into the area to Summerville, who touched it off to the unmarked Piroe 10 yards out. He could have passed the ball into either corner but instead leathered it straight at Gunn with his left foot.

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46 min Norwich begin the second half having made a substitution: Borja Sainz is on for Josh Sargent.

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“When I watch Championship football, I am always struck by the quality (such as it is) of the defending,” says Joe Pearson. “It strikes me that Championship defenders will often make a challenge, when just holding a disciplined position is the better option. Am I imagining this?”

Erm, I’m not sure. But as I’ve spent much of the season watching Manchester United, I can’t really criticise anybody’s defending.

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Half time: Leeds 3-0 Norwich (agg: 3-0)

Leeds have run Norwich ragged at Elland Road and are almost certainly heading to Wembley. Ilia Gruev’s audacious early goal set the tone for a performance of thrilling intensity. Joel Piroe headed the second, Illan Meslier made a vital save moments later and then Georginio Rutter scored a euphoric third just before half-time.

It’s hard to say whether Norwich have played badly or not. They have been completely overwhelmed.

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45+4 min “I get that it’s difficult to turn down a move to a ‘Big Club’ (even if it’s United!), but I do wish Dan James had stayed at Swansea a little longer,” writes Matt Dony. “When he first came through. He was so exciting, and seemed to improve with every game he played. Then, after a bright-ish start at United, just stagnated. Of course, it’s impossible to tell if that was down to him, or the coaching, or (most likely) a combination of the two. But I just can’t help wondering how he would have developed with another season at Swansea. He’s clearly never going to be the player he looked like he’d be, but he can still improve. It’s been a better season for him, but he’s still wildly erratic with his end product. I hope he gets another decent crack at the Premier League. And I hope he gets that chance at Leeds, alongside Ampadu, who is definitely a Premier League player.”

You’ve been watching that Sliding Doors again, haven’t you? (I totally agree btw – I’m fascinated by the parallel careers of young footballers. For example, if Uefa’s foreigner rule had gone a year earlier, Keith Gillespie would have stayed at Man Utd, which could have had a major impact on his career and those of David Beckham and Paul Scholes.)

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45+2 min: Giannoulis clears off the line! Leeds are battering Norwich. Firpo’s low cross is pushed away by the diving Gunn, but only as far as Rutter. He shows eerie composure to walk round Gunn and is about to score when Rowe challenges him from behind. Rutter still gets his shot away but it’s not the cleanest and Giannoulis clears off the line.

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45 min Four minutes of added time.

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43 min Almost a fourth goal on the break. Summerville does marvellously to beat two players in the centre circle and push the ball through to Gnonto. He charges to the edge of the area, knows he’s about to be challenge and whacks a hopeful shot towards goal. It’s too close to Gunn and he beats it awya.

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It’s been a devastating first-half performance from Leeds, one that will go down in Elland Road folklore. The third goal came from another slow-slow-quick move, this time down the left. Piroe danced over the halfway line into space, kept going and eventually screwed a cross towards Summerville at the near post. The ball took a couple of ricochets, then Summerville fell over – but he still had the presence of mind to poke the ball square to Rutter. He ran onto the ball, eight yards out, and rammed it gleefully into the net off the underside of the bar.

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GOAL! Leeds 3-0 Norwich (agg: 3-0; Rutter 41)

Well you can forget that previous entry: Leeds are off to Wembley!

Rutter makes it three! Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/Shutterstock
There’ll be a few croaky throats in West Yorkshire tomorrow morning. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters
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40 min Norwich need to get to half-time with their 2-0 deficit intact. We all know how quickly and dramatically the mood can change in playoff games, so they shouldn’t give this up. Stay in the game, make it 2-1 between the 60th and 70th minutes and then see what type of human nature kicks in.

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37 min Jon Rowe is booked for diving on the edge of the Leeds area. A brave decision from the referee, backed up by the replay.

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36 min Norwich can’t keep the ball at all. Even their one great chance, for Sargent, came out of nothing.

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35 min After another slick, mostly one-touch move from Leeds, Gnonto shoots straight at Gunn from the edge of the area.

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33 min Leeds have been marvellous. One of the most impressive things about their passing has been the sudden change of pace in the final third; Norwich have struggled to cope.

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32 min Rutter and Summerville combine to find Firpo, whose low cross is kicked behind by Gibson. Gnonto’s inswinging corner is headed wide of the far post by Rodon; it wasn’t an easy chance, because he was fighting with a defender, but it was a chance.

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30 min Here’s that second goal from Joel Piroe, created beautifully by Willy Gnonto.

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28 min Leeds win three corners in quick succession, the last of which is punched away by Gunn. His internal monologue would make for an interesting listen; he was at least partially at fault for both goals.

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27 min “What a journey for Willy Gnonto this season,” says Alex Adams. “From complete outcast and refusing to play in August, to a vital cog in the Leeds machine in May.”

Human beings gonna human be, or something.

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25 min Leeds will remember that they were 2-0 up on aggregate against Derby before it all went wrong, big-time. On the touchline, their manager Daniel Farke is making the universal signal for ‘calm down’. Good luck with that.

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24 min “It wasn’t for Leeds,” says Nick Smith, “but that goal had a touch of former Leeds legend Gary McAllister v Everton about it.”

Ah yes, that’s a good shout. McAllister scored some delightful goals, didn’t he. I’ve always loved this one v Arsenal.

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22 min: Huge save by Meslier! Norwich almost get straight back in the tie. Ampadu goes to cut out a through ball from Barnes and misjudges it, which allows Sargent to run through on goal. He tries to dink the ball over Meslier, who throws up his right arm to make a fabulous save. The roar when he did so was almost as big as for the two goals.

Meisler saves as Sargent fluffs his lines! Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
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Gray played a simple pass down the right towards Gnonto. He curved a q uite brilliant early cross that lured Gunn fatally from his line, and Piroe arrived beyond the far post to guide a smart header past Gunn.

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GOAL! Leeds 2-0 Norwich (agg: 2-0; Piroe 20)

Norwich weren’t over the worst: Joel Piroe has made it 2-0!

Joel Pireo heads past Angus Gunn to double the lead! Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images
Elland Road goes bonkers! Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters
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17 min Norwich have calmed things down a bit, partly by passing the ball between the centre-backs. They will feel like they are over the worst.

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14 min “Wow,” says Peter Oh, “what a way for Leeds to get into the Gruev!”

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13 min The corner is headed away at the near post.

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13 min Giannoulis makes a good run down the left to win Norwich’s first corner. Before they take it, here’s that goal from Ilia Gruev.

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11 min “The Farke arts meet Wagnerian drama,” exclaims Peter Oh. “What tension! The presence of Pierre Van Hooijdonk’s son on the Norwich bench could change the tenor of the match. A late flourish courtesy of the Sydney opera? Leeds exit stage left?”

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10 min Norwich are in danger of being overwhelmed; they’ve had 19 per cent possession in the first 10 minutes. But Leeds will take nothing for granted, not after the horror of 2019.

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8 min What a fine goal that was from Ilia Gruev. It’s the kind of goal Bernardo Silva would score, and there’s isn’t much higher praise than that when it comes to imaginative use of the left foot.

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GOAL! Leeds 1-0 Norwich (agg: 1-0; Gruev 7)

Rodon marches forward in the inside-right channel and is flattened by Nunez, 30 yards from goal. It’s too wide for a shot so Gruev… scores! Everyone expected a cross, including the Norwich keeper Angus Gunn, but Gruev curled the ball round the one-man wall and inside the near post!

Ilia Gruev hits it low and finds the bottom corner! Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
Gruev sends Elland Road WILD! Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
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6 min After a good run infield by Summerville, Rutter’s shot from the edge of the area is blocked.

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5 min A ball over the top almost bounces for Piroe in the area. Gunn springs from his line to claim at the second attempt. It’s all Leeds.

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4 min: Chance for Leeds! Summerville plays a slick give-and-go with Rutter on the left edge of the area, moves inside and whips a shot over the bar from a tight angle. It wasn’t an easy finish, though he might have had options in the middle, I’m not sure.

Crysencio Summerville with an early chance. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
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2 min “Evening Rob!” writes Simon McMahon. “As you might expect, I have a bit of a thing for once great teams who burned brightly for a short while, enjoying success previously unseen at the club, when they were mixing it with the best both domestically and in Europe, maybe even winning the odd trophy. Glory days, as someone once sang. So good luck to both these clubs as they try to recreate some of that past glory tonight and book a trip to Wembley. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

I didn’t know you were a Dunfermline fan.

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1 min Peep peep! Leeds kick off from left to right as we watch.

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There’s a pulsating atmosphere at Elland Road; of course there is. Norwich’s centre-backs, Ben Gibson and Shane Duffy, are likely to see a lot of the ball in the first 10 minutes.

LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS etc Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
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As does the Leeds manager Daniel Farke

[On his team selection] We want to be more attacking at home. It was also a bit forced because Sam Byram has a problem with his hip flexor. We trust Joel [Piroe] – he has scored many important goals for us.

Norwich are a brave side with technically good footballers in the middle. They have experienced strikers and we have to make sure we are compact and aggressive. We have to be spot on today.

We have a pretty good record when we go in the lead and scoring the first goal would make it easier from a tactical point of view. But the players know they have to be on it from the first to the last second.

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Norwich manager David Wagner speaks

We know it will be decided tonight and we are prepared for all scenarios. It’s important we start well, stay in the game. If we are able to score the first goal it will be a massive boost.

[On Ashley Barnes] The medical department worked tirelessly. Barnesy is a tough guy and he was desperate to be involved. Josh Sargent’s ankle is fine; he was never a doubt.

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Pre-match patter

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Team news

Both teams make one change from the first leg at Carrow Road. Joel Piroe replaces Sam Byram in the Leeds side, which means Archie Gray will return to right-back. Norwich bring in the fit-again Ashley Barnes for Borja Sainz.

Leeds (4-2-3-1) Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Kamara, Gruev, Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe.
Subs: Cresswell, Cooper, Anthony, Shackleton, James, Darlow, Gelhardt, Roberts,
Fernandez.

Norwich (possible 4-2-3-1) Gunn; Stacey, Duffy, Gibson, Giannoulis; Nunez, McLean; Sara, Barnes, Rowe; Sargent.
Subs: Hanley, Sainz, Long, van Hooijdonk, McCallum, Fassnacht, Sorensen, Batth, Fisher.

Referee Jarred Gillett (Australia)

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Preamble

Hello and welcome to live, minute-by-minute coverage of the playoff semi-final second leg between Leeds and Norwich at Elland Road. The first leg at Carrow Road was goalless, so this is basically a standalone game. To the victor, belongs the spoils…

We all know what’s at stake; we don’t need no poetry. The winners will play Southampton or West Brom at Wembley a week on Sunday, the losers will wonder why they bothered with the last nine months.

Kick off 8pm.

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