Leeds United denied opening win after Antenucci pearler

Sam Byram on the ball for Leeds United ijn their opening game of the season against Burnley. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Sam Byram on the ball for Leeds United ijn their opening game of the season against Burnley. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

A late headed goal from one time Leeds United striker Sam Vokes denied the Whites a win in their opening game of the new season against Burnley at sunny Elland Road.

Head coach Uwe Rosler looked set to celebrate a victory in his first game in charge when substitute Mirco Antenucci fired Leeds ahead with a superb strike seven minutes from time. But within three-and-a-half minutes Vokes, another sub, hit back with a top class header to give the visitors a point they barely deserved.

Rosler was encouraged by the performance of his players and United’s play at times was as bright as the weather.

They were unlucky not to take an early lead when new boy Stuart Dallas saw his shot deflected onto the crossbar via the legs of Burnley keeper Tom Heaton.

Dallas, who impressed on his debut until getting tired in the second half, had another chance soon after, but could only put in a weak shot that was easily saved by Heaton.

Burnley had a big shout for a penalty waved away when the ball bounced up and hit Giuseppe Bellusci on the hand, but struggled early on with too many long balls not allowing their talented forwards to show what they could do.

Bellusci got involved in attack in the 18th minute with a well hit 30-yard shot that brought another save from England squad keeper Heaton.

Gaetano Berardi also fired in a long range shot that went wide.

Burnley had a good spell round the half-hour with Michael Kightly flashing a shot just wide and Jelle Vossen bringing the first serious save out of home keeper Marco Silvestri with a near post flick.

But Sol Bamba missed a good chance for United with a weak header from Alex Mowatt’s cross.

Leeds had the better of the play early in the second half with Chris Wood miss-controlling the ball when well placed to meet a good Sam Byram cross and Mowatt hitting a shot inches wide after finding himself in space on the edge of the box.

Tom Adeyemi shot over after a Byram knock down in the box before Burnley had a half-chance, Lukas Jutkiewicz turning well on the edge of the box to get a shot in that was saved low down by Silvestri.

New striker Wood had his best chance of a debut goal in the 66th minute when he got on the end of a nice header from Byram only to blaze over from the edge of the box.

The forward then miskicked in the box when presented with another half-chance.

Rosler sent on Antenucci and changed tactics from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 for the last 20 minutes and the move paid dividends with the Italian striker looking sharp straight away.

After having one effort go over, Antenucci turned nicely on the edge of the box and curled in a superb shot with his left foot to put Leeds into a lead their play deserved.

It was not the winner, however, as Leeds transfer target in the summer Tendayi Darikwa got in a cross from the right and Vokes powered a header into the net, giving Silvestri no chance.

Leeds had one chance to snatch a winner in injury time when Antenucci ran at the Burnley defence again, but his shot was caught by Heaton and the game ended with a point apiece.

Head coach Rosler thought his side should have been celebrating an opening day win.

He said: “It was two points dropped, but I’m very happy with the performance.

“I’m happy with the way we handled the occasion. The tempo we had from the beginning was very high.

“We are coming from 15th place and they were in the Premier League and I couldn’t see much difference in the sides.

“We matched them in all departments of the pitch and in terms of chances and the calibre of chances we had we should have won.

“This young team went out in front of a big crowd and played their heart out.”

Match facts

Leeds United 1

(Antenucci 83)

Burnley 1

(Vokes 87)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 27,672

Leeds: Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Cook (Wootton 89), Adeyemi, Mowatt (Doukara 89), Byram, Wood, Dallas (Antenucci 70).

Burnley: Heaton, Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee, Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Kightly (Taylor 89), Jutkiewicz (Sordell 69), Vossen (Vokes 69).

Referee: Kevin Friend.