Daniel Farke pleased with players despite Leeds United crashing out of Carabao Cup on penalties to Salford

Leeds United boss Daniel Farke refused to criticise his players despite the Whites crashing out of the Carabao Cup to League Two Salford City.
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After a 1-1 draw it was Salford who went through to the third round of the competition for the first time thanks to a 9-8 penalty shoot-out success.

Georginio Rutter had his spot kick saved and Jamie Shackleton hit the woodwork as the Whites lost the shoot-out to add Salford to their ever growing list of lower division teams they have lost to in the last decade.

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It was Salford's lucky night. How they were able to make it to penalties was almost impossible to believe had it not been a recurring theme for Leeds matches of the last few years.

Pascal Struijk was Leeds United captain for the night and scored their only goal at Salford City.Pascal Struijk was Leeds United captain for the night and scored their only goal at Salford City.
Pascal Struijk was Leeds United captain for the night and scored their only goal at Salford City.

The Whites had 33 shots to five, 14 corners to two and almost total domination at times yet somehow came out of the game with just one goal. That was obviously why they have added Joel Piroe to their squad, but he was cup tied for this match.

"It's football. It's about effectiveness, to use your chances," said manager Farke.

"It feels like we should have scored 10 goals.

"I can't complain too much about how we played because the lads did really well. We created so many chances and played with emotion, aggressiveness and defended really compact.

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"We found many, many solutions in order to create chances, but you have to put the ball over the line and the only thing missing was the cutting edge.

"We should have won this game comfortably, but you have to have quality to put the ball over the line and sadly we missed this quality."

Farke does not believe it will impact the confidence of the squad.

He added: "We're disappointed because we would have liked to go into the next round and have proper cup run. But the impact is not too big, it was never realistic that we would win this cup.

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"It's not the time to punish the lads because performance-wise I can't really accuse them – we just need to finish our situations better. It's more or less the only topic where we have to improve."

Leeds were quick to settle to play some crisp passing football that their lower league hosts could not handle, with Willy Gnonto at the heart of most of the good moves.

Crysencio Summerville had the first shot with a free-kick directed straight at home keeper Alex Cairns who went on to have a great night against the club he supported as a boy and for who he first played.

Rutter lifted a shot over after the first great run by Gnonto then Gnonto himself had a shot well blocked.

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Joe Gelhardt should have done better than shoot weakly wide when found unmarked in the box by Gnonto,

Summerville poked a shot wide after being set up by Rutter's back heel in the area and moments later the same player was only denied by the post after coming up with a curling shot.

It was Gnonto's turn to miss a good chance when he lashed a shot over after being left free just inside the area.

Archie Gray produced a strong run to the edge of the box and saw his well struck shot equally well tipped over by Cairns.

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Rutter headed a Shackleton cross over and after all the chances squandered wouldn't you just know it – Salford took the lead.

And it was former Leeds striker Matt Smith who was the scorer with a powerful header after he got above Pascal Struijk to meet a left wing cross.

Leeds looked to respond, but Rutter's weak header from a Summerville corner went straight to Cairns.

The hosts had two chances to increase their lead before the break, but first Struijk did well to block Luke Bolton's effort then Ossama Ashley headed over from a corner.

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On the stroke of half-time man of the match Cairns was needed to make an excellent save to keep out Summerville's low shot.

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It took a while for United to re-establish their domination in the second half, but gradually they turned the screw.

Struijk could only direct a header straight at the keeper and Summerville's low shot was deflected wide.

Another deflection went Salford's way when Struijk had got on the end of a low pull back by Shackleton.

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Summerville was yet again denied by Cairns after a nice turn and shot on the edge of the box before substitute Luis Sinisterra fired over from another good pull back by the increasingly effective Shackleton.

A goal finally came in the 76th minute when Sam Greenwood's mishit free-kick was not dealt with and Struijk spun round well to score with a proper striker's finish from close range. Perhaps Leeds should have sent him up front full-time!

A second goal almost followed within two minutes as Summerville raced clear only to take too long to get his shot away as a defender got back to make a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

A rare Salford chance saw Connor McLennan turn in the area to get a shot in that was saved by visiting keeper Karl Darlow.

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But it was soon back to Leeds domination and somehow they failed to win it despite good further chances for Rutter, Summerville and Sinisterra.

Late in injury-time Greenwood had a chance with a free-kick on the edge of the box and beat Cairns only to see the ball come back off the crossbar.

Onto the penalty shoot-out somehow it was always destined to be Salford who would win and they pout away nine of their 10 spot kicks.

Greenwood and Struijk scored their penalties for Leeds before Rutter's weak effort was saved by Cairns.

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Gnonto and Sinisterra netted to make it 4-4 then McLennan missed his chance to win for the hosts as he hit the crossbar.

Leo Hjelde, Charlie Cresswell, Ethan Ampadu and Summerville were all successful before Shackleton's miss signalled the beginning of the end for the Whites.

There was still more drama as Ashley's effort was saved by Darlow, but was retaken after the Leeds keeper had stepped off his line. He made no mistake with his second spot kick to send Salford through.

Salford City 1

(Smith 34)

(Struijk 76)

Salford won 9-8 on penalties

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Carabao Cup round 2

Salford: Cairns; Shephard (McLennan 45), Mariappa, Tilt; Bolton, Ashley, Watson, Mallon, Garbutt; Hendry (McAleny 70), Smith (Dackers 88).

Leeds: Darlow; Shackleton, Cresswell, Struijk, Hjelde; Ampadu, Gray (Greenwood 76); Summerville, Gelhardt (Sinisterra 61), Gnonto; Rutter.

Referee: Oliver Langford