Leeds United and Derby County should have needed no motivation going in this fixture. The playoffs are finally here, with Leeds feeling a bit unlucky to be in the playoffs while Derby had to win on the last day of the regular season to book their chance to go back to the Premier League.
This match would have already had the added stress of expectations of the playoffs, but with the “Spygate” incident that was whipped up into a frenzy by the English press and pundits, this match had the extra spice of controversy and a contrast in managers: Frank Lampard, the legendary ex-player given a chance to guide Derby to promotion in his first managerial opportunity and Marcelo Bielsa, the experienced Argentine who is a legend in South America.
Leeds took control of the match after about 10 minutes, as they survived a bumpy few minutes as Derby looked to take the match right to Leeds from the whistle. However, after the charge out of the box by the Rams, Leeds were by far the dominant team. Adam Forshaw had to be taken off because of injury in the first half, with Jamie Shackleton coming on to play in midfield beside Mateusz Klich.
An initial burst from Derby but they've lost their shape and ability to hold the ball, and Leeds have dictated the half. Yet to test Roos though, which will be Bielsa's frustration. Lampard with more work to do. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) May 11, 2019
Leeds had a vast, vast majority of the possession and a vast majority of the chances, but neither team was able to really get a clear shot on goal. Leeds had a number of corners that were wasted and Derby’s attempts at going forward were generally poor. Half-time came with both teams level at 0-0, leaving everything to do in the second half.
The breakthrough for Leeds came in the 56th minute as Jack Harrison played an inch-perfect cross for Kemar Roofe. Roofe dribbled past the last Derby defender and converted his chance past the Derby keeper for the 1-0 Leeds lead.
This match would’ve been incomplete without some controversy, and some was provided later in the second half. Derby’s Bogle was awarded a penalty as he tried to go for the same ball as Harrison in the Leeds box, but replays appeared to show that Harrison didn’t commit a foul. The Leeds players appealed for the referee to consult with the assistant referee on the side of the pitch that had a clear view of the incident. After some talk, the referee reversed his decision and a goal-kick was awarded.
Jack Clarke was brought on for Kemar Roofe in the second half and Leeds were able to see out the rest of the match and keep the clean sheet for the 1-0 win. Leeds are now halfway towards a playoff final at Wembley against the winner of the other semifinal between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion