LUCIANO Becchio’s second half equaliser earned Leeds United a rare point in Wales as they held Npower Championship promotion hopefuls Cardiff to a 1-1 draw.
Neil Warnock’s men had defender Leigh Bromby taken off with a potentially serious knee injury and trailed to a goal by Joe Mason in the first half before hitting back to take a hard earned point.
United recalled Becchio to the starting line-up instead of the injured Billy Paynter and had Alex Bruce back in the back four in place of the suspended Darren O’Dea with teenager Zac Thompson in midfield in place of Danny Webber.
Cardiff needed a victory to make sure of their play-off place and made the brighter start with Liam Lawrence, Joe Mason and Kenny Miller all getting in early efforts. United responded with Ross McCormack sending a header just wide from a Robert Snodgrass corner.
Leeds suffered a blow when Bromby needed to be stretchered off after slipping. Paul Connolly was brought on and was kept busy up to half-time as the hosts turned up the heat.
Cardiff made the breakthrough three minutes before half-time when Peter Whittingham’s long ball caught the Whites defence out and Mason got on the end of it to lift a shot past the advancing Andy Lonergan.
It was almost 2-0 soon after as Miller was presented with a clear chance, but Leeds keeper Lonergan denied the home striker when coming out to make a great block.
United improved in the second half after failing to trouble home keeper David Marshall in the opening 45 minutes and after some bright play Becchio headed a half-chance over.
Mark Hudson headed over at the other end and Lonergan made another fine save to keep out an effort from Andrew Taylor.
Warnock put on Ramon Nunez and Webber in an attempt to pep up the United attack and they went close when Danny Pugh sent a shot from outside the box just wide and Nunez had a shot blocked.
They were certainly more in the game and equalised in the 73rd minute when Becchio met Connolly’s cross to head the ball past Marshall.
Cardiff looked to up their game again, but were met by a determined Whites defence. Home sub Filip Kiss did put one effort wide from the edge of the box and Whittingham hit a free-kick wide late on, but United comfortably held on to get their second draw this season against Cardiff.
Cardiff City 1
Leeds United 1
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Cardiff: Marshall, Taylor, McNaughton (Blake 90), Turner, Hudson, Lawrence, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, McPhail (Kiss 64), Miller (Earnshaw 90), Mason.
Leeds: Lonergan, Lees, Bruce, Bromby (Connolly 33), Robinson, Pugh, Snodgrass, Clayton (Nunez 60), Thompson, McCormack (Webber 59), Becchio.
Referee: Mark Halsey.