Leeds United won an important match, as the club needed to win to stay near the top six and needed to stop a poor run of results after losing seven of nine matches. To add extra spice to the match, former Leeds manager Garry Monk came with his new team, Middlesbrough, who Monk joined in the summer after walking out on Leeds.
Despite the nervy finish after a questionable penalty, Leeds were the better side for most of the match. Pablo Hernandez scored the opening goal and created the second goal, and for that, he’s my man of the match, with Gjanni Alioski and Kemar Roofe both looking sharp on offence. Samu Saiz was unlucky to add a goal, as his effort came off the post, but all’s well that ends well, right?
There were no real chances in the first 20 minutes or so, with Leeds having a good spell of possession and some decent attacking intent that didn’t really have much of an impact. On the other end, Britt Assombalonga had a decent shout for a penalty in the Leeds box after going to ground after getting tangled with Gaetano Berardi. Jonny Howson had a few good passes which resulted in some good attacks for Middlesbrough that lead to corner kicks, but otherwise both teams were pretty quiet.
Leeds broke the deadlock in the 25th minute after Pablo Hernandez ducked in at the far post to connect to a cross from Alioski that was flicked on by Kalvin Phillips. Darren Randolph was rooted to the ground and had no chance to get to the Spaniard’s shot.
The match got a little physical after the goal was scored, although to be fair most of the fouls didn’t really deserve yellow cards, but that’s life I guess.
Cooper headed wide from a Hernandez free kick in the 42nd minute as Leeds looked to increase their lead, and after a few more free kicks that Leeds had a decent chance to score from, the teams went into half-time with Leeds leading 1-0.
Weak corner from Braithwaite, chipped to the near post where Leeds clear. Boro having a spell though. 1-0 on 53 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) November 19, 2017
Boro looked the better side coming out of the break, with a few attempts with attacking intent including a fairly tame corner. Boro had a decent look at a goal, but Tavernier’s first touch put him out of contention to get a shot on goal.
Leeds were rewarded again for some attacking intent as Kemar Roofe did well to get the ball to Pablo Hernandez who this time played provider as his cross was converted by Gjanni Alisoki at the far post. Again, some questions could be asked of the fullback defending the Leeds winger, but both were very well-taken goals and both had good passes to set them up.
Cooper missed a wide-open header from a Pablo Hernandez free-kick, but otherwise Leeds looked much better after the second goal, putting pressure on the goal and Samu Saiz even had a great effort ping off the post as he and Ronaldo Vieira played a brilliant one-two.
Ayling penalised for foul on Ayala as the ball was cleared out of United's box. Ayling booked. Assombalonga takes.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) November 19, 2017
Boro scored an unlikely penalty as Ayala and Ayling were tangled in the box, only for Ayling to get penalized for his “foul” after the ball had lone gone. The last few minutes feature the return of Caleb Ekuban to the side, coming on for Kemar Roofe, and Eunan O’Kane for Samu Saiz.
And because the ref wanted to make sure everyone at Leeds got some nasty heartburn, seven minutes of extra-time were added on to the end of the match because some people shouted mean things at him from the crowd. I mean, maybe there is another explanation, but that’s the one that makes the most sense to me.
Leeds 2-1 Middlesbrough FT:— Chris Taylor (@LUFCDATA) November 19, 2017
Pablo Hernandez 24', assist: Kalvin Phillips
Gianni Alioski 54', assist Kemar Roofe
Most significant win of the season. MASSIVE. THREE. POINTS. #LUFC #MOT pic.twitter.com/0d0mNVG4t9
And that did it. Really great win for Leeds, really needed this one to get back to the good, and a win over Garry Monk, the snake, made it even sweeter.