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Match Report: Wolverhampton breeze past 10 man Leeds United 4-1

Leeds lose to top of the table Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Leeds United looked to win a second match on the bounce for the first time since September, but were unable to keep the momentum going from the win over Middlesbrough. The club lost 4-1 to Wolverhampton, although the floodgates didn’t really open until late after Ronaldo Vieira got a second yellow for a needless, reckless challenge.

Leeds need to put the loss behind them, as they face Barnsley FC in a Yorkshire derby on Saturday.

Wolverhampton scored first after Barry Douglas scored from a free-kick in the 15th minute after Liam Cooper had fouled Cavaleiro in a good area just outside of the Leeds penalty box. Wolverhampton continued to make life difficult for Leeds for the next 10 minutes or so, as the seemed unable to retain possession and free kicks were given up a tad too easily, especially considering the ease at which Douglas hit the net on the goal.

Ivan Cavaleiro made Leeds pay in the 26th minute, as he was able to turn Liam Cooper around and get a fantastic shot on goal that Lonergan was unable to parry away. Cavaleiro was already causing problems, and it was his run at the goal that caused Cooper to foul him that gave the free-kick for the first goal. As much as Cooper has looked like a decent footballer this year, the efforts of Wolverhampton in the first half-hour or so laid bare just how good Wolves are this year and just how average Gaetano Berardi and Cooper can look facing a team of the talent that Wolves have.

Leeds had their best chance to score in the 32nd minute after Roofe had won a free kick deep in the Wolverhampton half. Hernandez was able to bend in a delivery, but it was just over the head of Cooper, and despite Alioski’s nice shot, Wolves were able to easily defend the scoring chance.

Leeds had another chance in the 43rd minute, as Kemar Roofe unleashed a laser bolt that Wolves keeper Ruddy was only able to parry away, for the ball to fall to Samu Saiz. Saiz tried to beat Ruddy short side, but the shot was weak and didn’t cause any problems for Ruddy.

Normally, at this point if Leeds are down 2-0 at the half, I’d complain about how poor Leeds looked, but honestly, this Wolves team are a different class than Leeds or pretty much any other team in the Championship that Leeds have seen this season. Wolves lead the league, and at this point, the table isn’t lying. Wolves are this good.

And just like that, the partnership between Gjanni Alioski and Samu Saiz paid dividends, as Saiz put the ball on a plate for Alioski to make a fantastic finish and get Leeds back within one goal.

The goal seemed to spark Leeds, as the team reacted well to the goal, putting pressure back on the home side. Leeds had a couple of good attacks, and Alioski almost had an nearly identical chance on goal as Hernandez’s through ball just couldn’t quite reach Alioski. Hernandez had a chance that went wide in the 59th minute, as Leeds continued to put Wolverhampton on the back foot in the second-half.

Ronaldo Vieira lost his damn mind in the 61st minute a got a second yellow and a red card for a rather reckless challenge. It was a rather benign pass in the middle of the park, and Vieira, rather than reset, committed himself to the challenge far too early and left his feet and slid in and made contact with the player without really challenging for the ball at all. Disappointing to see Vieira get himself a red-card after Leeds had gotten back into the match and looked likely to get an equalizer.

In the 68th minute, Roofe and Hernandez made way for Caleb Ekuban, in his second match back after injury, and Eunan O’Kane. While the attempt to get back into the match at this point was necessarily and admirable, Wolverhampton was able to use their numbers to get back to the good.

Ruddy played a ball up the pitch, and Leeds were unable to deal with it, and Jota made a mockery of the Leeds defence and chipped the goalie to pretty much end whatever chance that Leeds had to get back into the match.

And after Lonergan and spilled a shot towards him, there was some very poor defending that ended up resulting in Lonergan pulling down Jota as he was driving on goal to slot home a 2nd goal. Helder Costa, the £13 million sub, was able to slot home the penalty to fully put the game out of reach for Leeds.

Leeds showed some fight once the game was out of reach, but it was really too little, too late, although to be fair, once Leeds went down to 10 men there wasn’t a whole lot that they could have done to get back into the game.

While any loss isn’t good, losing to the league leaders wasn’t going to be a surprise, and considering the value in the squad at Wolverhampton, losing away to them isn’t exactly a shameful result, as most of the league would have difficultly getting a result at Molineux.

So Leeds were not able to get a result after an emotional win over Middlesbrough, but on the whole, Leeds shouldn’t hang their head too low, as they were beaten by a superior side. Hopefully Leeds can hang around near the playoff places and sneak in and join Wolverhampton in the Premier League next year.