Two penalties, one missed by Patrick Bamford and one scored by Callum Wilson within two minutes of each other denied Leeds United a vital three points after a 2-2 draw with Newcastle at Elland Road.
It was a game Leeds United desperately need to get something from to keep their hopes of survival alive and a draw keeps them in the bottom three, with just two games to go. With West Ham and Tottenham to come, Sam Allardyce desperately needs to get a win on the board before it is too late.
This fixture could, and should have provided those three points as Leeds took the lead early on. Six minutes in, captain Luke Ayling gave them an opener after Nick Pope could only palm Rodrigo’s header into his path. The right-back fired it into the back of the net on his 250th appearance and Elland Road erupted as their side briefly climbed out the bottom three.
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Then, the moment that Leeds United fans will keep on replaying in their heads, should their season end in relegation. Joelinton fouled Junior Firpo in the box and Simon Hooper pointed to the spot. Patrick Bamford stepped up but Nick Pope went the right way and stopped it before clawing away the rebound.
Having been on the brink of going 2-0 up and surely securing a vital three points in their fight for survival, what happened next was catastrophic. Maximilian Wöber cleaned out Alexander Isak in the box and Hooper once again pointed to the spot. Unlike Bamford, Wilson made no mistake as he fired the ball into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Joel Robles to level the scores. There were just one minute and 50 seconds between the two penalties - 110 seconds that may have defined Leeds’ season.
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The buoyant mood inside Elland Road quickly dissipated and things got worse as Junior Firpo embarked on a one-man kamikaze mission. Newcastle put a cross into the box and the former Barcelona defender flailed his arm up into the air and brushed the ball with his fingertips before Isak headed it over. Despite claims of a foul on the left-back, the referee consulted VAR and pointed to the spot to give Wilson his second opportunity from the spot.
He fired it straight down the middle to put the visitors in front as Leeds shot themselves in the foot once again. It’s been too common an occurrence this term but Firpo, at £12m from the Spanish giants, has been a disastrous signing for Leeds. But Allardyce, and this club, know how to keep on fighting.
When they were staring at the face of another defeat, they got a goal from an unlikely source. Kieran Trippier gave away a cheap corner and Rasmus Kristensen brought it down on the edge of the box and found the back of the net via a deflection off the Newcastle captain.
Elland Road was alive again, but Firpo’s disasterclass wasn’t over. Bruno Guimaeres floated a ball towards Anthony Gordon and Firpo shoved him in the back, to finally be shown his second yellow card. The home side held on for a point, while a crazy fan came onto the pitch to angrily confront Eddie Howe, as security finally led him away.
A point is better for nothing at this stage of the season, but Leeds are running out of games. If other results go against them this weekend they could find themselves with a mountain to climb.
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