Manager Daniel Farke delighted for Leeds United fans after big comeback victory over Leicester City

They may have needed to ride their luck a little for a change, but manager Daniel Farke thought his Leeds United team deserved their huge 3-1 win over Leicester City at a fever pitch Elland Road.
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The Whites found themselves outplayed for periods of both halves and were one down from the 15th minute until producing a bg finish to take the three points and hold onto their unbeaten home record this season.

In a game of firsts loanee Connor Roberts scored his first goal for Leeds to equalise 10 minutes from time, Archie Gray did the same with a deflected effort that made it 2-1 three minutes later and the icing on the cake in added time as Dan James' free-kick found the net via a deflection off Patrick Bamford.

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There were elements of fortune in all three goals, but it was reward for the persistence of United and forward Georginio Rutter in particular who had a hand in each of the scores in a game in which the Whites made it nine Championship wins in succession in 2024.

Archie Gray celebrates after his shot was deflected in to make it 2-1 to Leeds United against Leicester City.Archie Gray celebrates after his shot was deflected in to make it 2-1 to Leeds United against Leicester City.
Archie Gray celebrates after his shot was deflected in to make it 2-1 to Leeds United against Leicester City.

"Overall a great evening for everyone connected with Leeds United, to be there with the ninth win in a row, still unbeaten at Elland Road, we have many record breaking statistics but the feeling is even more important,” said manager Farke.

"You could feel it in the celebrations of the whole stadium, how much it means to our supporters, to everyone connected with the club after tough years and days of suffering.

“To experience such a period, feeling like everything and everyone is so united here, delivering such results, it's great. I'm happy. Delighted for our supporters that they can celebrate such a moment with us and enjoy the weekend in a proper way.

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"We created the better chances in the first half and I think they were a bit lucky to be in the lead at the break and then we were a bit lucky not to be 2-0 down after that because they had chances on the counter-attack.

Archie Gray's shot that put Leeds United ahead against Leicester City.Archie Gray's shot that put Leeds United ahead against Leicester City.
Archie Gray's shot that put Leeds United ahead against Leicester City.

"We fought our way back into it in the last 15-20 minutes. They were all goals of will and fighting spirit.

"It was a tight game but overall when I judge the full 90 minutes I think it was a deserved win."

Farke's three substitutions in bringing on on Roberts, Bamford and James played a big part in the win as did swapping Gray over from right-back to left-back from where his strike brought about the second goal.

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It is unclear whether he will be allowed to keep the goal after the ball found the net via two deflections, but it was a big night for the talented fan favourite.

"It's a big like a fairytale, in such an atmosphere," said Farke.

"I told him before, the first goal will be a scruffy three-times deflected strike.

“All credit goes to him and Connor. It was so risky to have this change, he has never played before in left-back. Connor is also just a few weeks with us, normally known for his attacking and to let him defend against a player on fire was quite risky but all the praise goes to the players.

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“You can have an idea and I got the feeling Connor quite often is involved in goals, there with end products, he could help to turn the game. Archie with his right foot on the left side he could have an impact.

“All the praise goes to the players and how they have delivered. Many compliments to Archie, Connor and my whole team. The spirit they showed and the atmosphere."

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It was a high class game in which Leicester proved they were the best visiting team to play at Elland Road this season.

They gave early warnings of their capabilities with efforts from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Abdul Fatawu, Harry Winks and Ricardo Pereira in the first 10 minutes as they looked razor sharp.

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But the hosts also had a big chance as a great move highlighted by a superb flick inside by Willy Gnonto set up Joel Piroe, but he fired over from inside the box.

Patson Daka's shot was tipped over by home keeper Illan Meslier and from the resulting first corner for Leicester they opened the scoring as Daka's near post flick was met at the far post by Wout Faes.

Within a minute Piroe had another big opportunity for United when found in space in the area by Gnonto's cross only to send a poor header wide.

Leeds gradually got to grips with the game and Gnonto looked set to add to his five goals in five games record when sent through by Rutter, but instead of an instant shot he decided to cut inside and then saw his effort hit teammate Crysencio Summerville.

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Summerville was almost in moments later only to be denied by a superb last ditch tackle by Jannik Vestergaard.

There was still hope at half-time that the home team was doing enough to get back into the game and early in the second period Rutter's curling shot went over after a smart break.

But Leicester then looked to turn the screw and created some golden chances in a strong 10 minute period in which they threatened to run riot.

It is usually Leeds that are guilty of missing chances and being on the wrong side of poor decisions, allowing opponents to stay in games, but this time it was City's turn.

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Stephy Mavididi saw his low shot well saved by Meslier then Leicester were unlucky as Vestergaard's header hit the crossbar and with the Whites unable to clear Daka put the ball in the net only to be flagged for offside.

Replays showed it was the wrong decision – not the only one made by the officials on the night as their standards fell below those of the players.

Leeds were opened up again as Mavididi's angled shot was once more well saved low down by Meslier.

The speedy Mavididi had his third big chance when despite looking marginally offside he raced onto Dewsbury-Hall's pass only to drag his shot wide.

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The only responses were a Summerville shot that was blocked and a Bamford shot from the edge of the box that was directed straight at keeper Mads Hermansen.

There was more relief in the 72nd minute when Daka was put through only to shoot well wide.

However, out of the blue United equalised following some persistent play from the ever willing Rutter, whose cross was defected into the path of recent signing Roberts who fired a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

With the raucous home fans roaring them on Leeds quickly added a second goal. The roof almost came off as Rutter found Gray on the edge of the box and the teenager took the ball into the box to get in a shot that deflected off Hamza Choudhury then Faes to wrong foot Hermansen and end up in the net.

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Summerville and Roberts had shots blocked as the hosts went for more goals while Faes headed over at the other end.

In the fourth minute of injury-time Rutter went on another great run and looked set for a wonder goal only to be cynically fouled just outside the box. But James' free-kick deflected in off Bamford to complete what turned out to be a great night for Leeds who remain in second place and closed the gap to six points on leaders Leicester.

Leeds United 3

(Roberts 80, Gray 83, Bamford 90+4)

(Faes 15)

Friday, February 23, 2024

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 36,954

Leeds: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo (Roberts 73); Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto (James 64), Rutter, Summerville (Anthony 90); Piroe (Bamford 64).

Leicester: Hermansen; Choudhury, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin; Fatawu, Winks; Pereira, Dewsbury-Hall, Mavididi (McAteer 77); Daka (Cannon 77).

Referee: Craig Pawson