Leeds United claimed a dramatic 2-1 win over Norwich, their first victory in nine Premier League games, to breathe life into their survival hopes.
The Whites came into Sunday’s match at Elland Road under massive pressure to find a win from somewhere – or anywhere. And against Norwich, there was huge relief all around the Leeds stadium when the full-time whistle went.
Creating chances has not been Leeds’ problem – they should have been out of sight against the Canaries. And that is what almost cost them when Kenny McLean made it 1-1 in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
However, substitute Joe Gelhardt sent the home fans wild with an even later goal to cap a stunning afternoon for Jesse Marsch’s side.
Before then, Rodrigo had made it 1-0 amid a flurry of other chances for Leeds. What’s more, Leeds were already living on the edge when Norwich had a penalty ruled out before equalising.
In the end, though, the Whites know that any win at this stage in the season, after eight games without one and amid their battle against relegation, will prove crucial.
Leeds, whose fans were looking to get behind head coach Marsch again after he lost his first match in charge at Elland Road on Thursday, were straight out of the blocks.
Indeed, Daniel James, Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford all started brightly. Up the other end, Milot Rashica failed with a Norwich penalty appeal and a Canaries corner was wasteful.
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Rodrigo then got his goal, which survived a VAR check. A long ball over the top fell to Bamford, who looked offside amid claims from the Norwich staff that the striker interfered with play.
Nevertheless, Rodrigo then nipped in and his shot took a deflection off Ben Gibson into the bottom left corner.
Norwich had a few half-chances before the break. However, Leeds dominated and should have had more goals. Raphinha miskicked one opportunity before hitting the bar from another after a lovely, flowing Leeds move.
From a corner straight after, Pascal Struijk had a header saved by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul. Strujk then blazed the rebound over. Then, it was Bamford’s turn to waste two efforts from both the left and right of the box.
After half time, a goalmouth scramble in the Leeds penalty area set the tone for a nervy 45 minutes for the hosts.
James thought he had made it 2-0 up the other end, only for the offside flag to go up.
And the Wales international had two further chances – one saved by Krul with Mateusz Klich waving for a pass afterwards.
Norwich substitute Jonathan Rowe then hit the bar, before Leeds then survived a more concrete Norwich penalty appeal than their first.
Leeds survive scare to win
Ayling made contact with Rashica in the box, with referee Stuart Atwell immediately pointing to the spot.
However, Mike Dean, VAR chief for the afternoon, sent Atwell to the pitchside monitor. Atwell subsequently overturned his decision, greeted by the Leeds fans like a second goal.
As for that second goal to end all worries of dropped points, Raphinha hit the bar with a free-kick as more chances came and went.
But the drama was far from over. Elland Road was shocked when Teemu Pukki got away down the right channel and found McLean, who bundled it home for 1-1.
Still, there was even more action to come and it would send the Leeds fans into ecstasy.
Gelhardt had only come on two minutes before, but it was the 19-year-old who fired the hosts 2-1 in front. Raphinha rounded Krul, but the angle was too tight to shoot.
Instead, he came back inside to Gelhardt, who smashed home to send Leeds to a massive win.