Leeds United won 1-0 over Norwich City in a match that was determined by a good set-piece delivery from Paweł Cibicki that Pontus Jansson was able to put past the keeper in the first half. And while Norwich did well to try and climb match into the match, luck was pretty much on the side of Leeds, as both teams traded hits that bounced off the crossbar and Leeds fans will feel good to grab all three points from this match and climb only a point away from the playoff places.
Leeds and Norwich traded a few chances during the opening 25 minutes, with a good corner going a bit wasted after an excellent free kick was floated in from Paweł Cibiciki, some good spells of good build-up play from Leeds leading to a few chances on goal that went just begging.
CHANCE: Berardi has a go from 30 yards, low and just wide. Crowd sensed history there. It's going to take something like that for him. 0-0 on 27 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
Gaetano Berardi sent in an absolute piledriver to the far post that just about did enough to get in. Would have been a remarkable goal, but it went just wide right. Was a pretty good reflection of the match up to that point, with most of the attacking efforts not exactly connecting and chances going just wide.
CHANCE: Cibicki with a free-kick, Ayling with a free header six yards out straight into Gunn's arms. Either side of him and that's in. 0-0 on 29 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
Cibicki floated in another excellent free-kick at the 28th minute, but Luke Ayling’s header was straight at the Norwich City goalkeeper and the chance went begging. Cibicki’s excellent deliveries asked the question as to why Cibicki was stapled to the bench or not even in the matchday squad while Pablo Hernandez was unavailable, given that dead ball situations seemed to be an experience in frustration with Kalvin Phillips and Gjanni Alioski were taking them.
After a free-kick from Alioski was pinballed around in the box, coming off the post and a few players, Cibicki took another free kick on the right hand side, and the mad Swedish magician with the Polish name sent his free-kick to the other former Malmö FF player where Pontus Jansson headed the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal.
Norwich coming at Leeds suddenly. Ayling in the right place to send a dangerous cross over his own bar. Corner. 45th minute— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
45' The ball falls to Oliveria on the edge, his curling effort is well saved by Wiedwald, the rebound falls to Maddison, but he blazes over 1-0— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 16, 2017
Norwich came close a couple times in the closing moments of the first half, as Ayling had to sent a very good Norwich cross over the bar and behind for a corner-kick. After the resulting corner, Oliveria had a remarkable shot turned away by Wiedwald, but the ball fell to an unmarked Maddison. However, the young Norwich forward took his shot far too quickly and sent the ball blazing over the crossbar.
SAVE: Excellent from Wiedwald to deny Pritchard from point blank-range after Cooper misses a cross into the box. Smashed at him but stood strong and beat it away. 1-0 on 49 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
Wiedwald saved a point-blank shot from Norwich’s Pritchard in what might have been his best save since joining Leeds from Werder Bremen in the summer to keep Norwich off the scoresheet. Norwich was by far the better side coming out of the break, and Leeds were lucky to have only the one really good chance on net that Wiedwald was able to swat away.
Saiz had a good shot on net, but had a couple dodgy passes that went begging and a very questionable foul right before that. Phillips had a good shot on net in the 64th minute after Leeds had a decent spell of attacking pressure.
A clash between Oliveria and Jansson resulted in a pair of yellow cards as Oliveira attempted to get Jansson sent off by winding him up off the ball, but it only really resulted in yellow cards for both. Emotions started to run high as Norwich tried to claw their way back into the match.
Pritchard on the spin hits the bar. We need a second— 92 Leeds (@LeedsUtd1992) December 16, 2017
Leeds wasted two good chances on net, with Roofe shooting instead of passing to a pair of wide-open teammates and Saiz just lost the ball after he broke out from a Norwich corner kick. Pritchard from Norwich sent in a remarkable shot that bounced on the top of the crossbar and somehow failed to drop into the back of the net.
Leeds causing their own problems by giving the ball away in bad areas. Foul on the very corner of United's box. Maddison will dink this in. 77th minute. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
Wiedwald did well to keep a shot out that came from a free kick coming from a needless foul by Alioski. Roofe came off for Pablo Hernandez. Roofe’s performance today wasn’t nearly as good it was against Queens Park Rangers, although he did do well to get free a couple times, he was quite wasteful in his attempts on goal.
OFF THE POST: Shocking backpass from Hanley, Saiz is one on one - draws Gunn, goes for a deft finish and strikes the inside of the far post. That would have killed it. 1-0 on 80 mins.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 16, 2017
Saiz hitting the post pretty much summed up his entire match, as he was in an absolutely dynamite position, only to waste his attempt on goal by hitting the post.
The tension seemed to ramp up in the final 10 minutes of the match, as Leeds sent on Matthew Pennington and Jay-Roy Grot to help seal the victory, taking off Cibicki and Saiz. Grot gave up the ball near the middle of the pitch, which directly lead to a chance on net.
And because the ref apparently can’t add, the match had six minutes of injury time. Leeds engaged in some time-honoured traditional time-wasting in the final few minutes of the match. Hernandez did well to win a corner after Grot had spent a few minutes down injured after a clash of heads. Norwich got a final chance from Oliveira, but his poor shot might have cleared the stand as it was always rising.
Leeds did well to win two matches on the bounce and keep a clean sheet as well. Cibicki’s set piece delivery did well to set up Jansson for the only goal, and Leeds always looked dangerous from dead ball situations.
Christiansen’s public backing of Wiedwald earlier in the week seemed to do well, as Wiedwald kept a clean sheet, although some rather poor finishing from Norwich helped greatly in that regard. Another home match against Hull City next weekend, where Leeds will hope to vault into the playoff positions.