Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers played today in the FA Cup, with a potential trip to the fourth round in the cards. However, in the end, the youthful side put out by Marcelo Bielsa was unable to get a win in West London, and so Leeds can now concentrate on the league.
The match started brightly for Leeds, as Tyler Roberts almost had a goal within the first minute of the match, as his well-struck shot hit both posts and careened out. Unfortunately, that would be the best chance for Leeds in the first fifteen minutes or so, with QPR looking the better of the two teams. The teams were certainly on the attack, as they combined for five corner kicks in the first 15 minutes as well.
QPR would get on the board first after Leif Davis fouled a QPR player in the box and Aramide Oteh converted the subsequent penalty. The foul was a bit on the edge of the box, and while the QPR player probably made the most of the contact, it was still a mistake from the young defender to allow himself to be put in that position.
However, Leeds would strike back less than two minutes later, as Aapo Halme played poacher as he knocked home the ball after the QPR keeper, Matt Ingram, was unable to hold onto the ball and he spilled it in the six-yard box with nary a QPR player within 10 yards.
Leeds took the opportunity after the goal to get on the good foot, and they were by far the more dominant team during the rest of the half. Leeds went close on a couple different occasions, but couldn’t put it into the back of the net.
POST: Freeman catches the free-kick beautifully but it smashes off the inside of BPF's right-hand post. 2-1 on 86 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) January 6, 2019
Halme was subbed off at half-time for Tom Pearce, as Leeds shuffled the backline even more than it had been before, with not a single recognized central defender in the lineup. Leeds would be the better of the two teams in the second half, but they couldn’t really get anything going besides testing the keeper in the beginning of the second half.
Tyler Roberts had a decent shout for a penalty, but it was ruled that Ingram had gotten the ball first and despite the heavy contact on Roberts, which appeared to be more malicious than say, the penalty that Oliver Watkins dove to win against Leeds at Elland Road for Brentford earlier this season.
Leeds were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal later in the second half, as they were unable to keep a header out of the net from a corner kick. Jack Clarke was unable to rise as high as QPR’s Jake Bidwell, who headed the ball into the back of the at the far post, with Bailey Peacock-Farrell having no chance to get a save.
Luke Freeman hit the post late on, and Leeds got a preview of Kun Temenuzhkov and Clark Odour, both of which made their debuts for Leeds.
Not the greatest cup performance you’ll ever see, and a third straight loss isn’t great, but honestly, this team needs some rest and crashing out of the FA Cup this season seems like a blessing. No terrible performance like the past two years to bow out against lower league opponents, and the “kids” played pretty good, all things considered. Leeds go out, but now can focus on the Championship, where Leeds are still top of the league.