Leeds came back from two goals down at half-time to win a Premier League game for the first time, losing on each of the previous 47 occasions they were two down at the breakFive players off injured in less than an hour, 22 minutes added on, a controversial red card, a stunning comeback and a last-minute winner.
Leeds’ Premier League trip to Wolves on Friday had it all.
It was a bruising, breathless and brilliant game, which seemed all but certain to be won by Wolves when they took a 2-0 lead in the 11th minute of first-half injury time.
But Leeds, who had lost four players to injury by the 55th minute, including the only recently returned Patrick Bamford, had other ideas.
‘These decisions are killing teams’Raul Jimenez is the first Wolves player to pick up two red cards in a Premier League season, with the Mexican also sent off against Manchester City in December.The key moment came five minutes after half-time when the already booked Raul Jimenez raced forward to try to reach a through ball and was involved in what seemed a 50-50 collision with Leeds keeper Illan Meslier.
Meslier limped off but he was not on his own – when Jimenez got up a couple of minutes later after receiving treatment, he was shown a second yellow card by referee Kevin Friend.
“Everyone saw what happened and now they have the chance to watch on TV,” Wolves boss Bruno Lage told BBC Sport.
“It’s a body contact – Raul tried to win the ball. Bad decision [from the referee] – and he continued with the opinion he did a good decision
“In the 45 minutes I think we were the better team. We were a much better team than our opponents. I am very proud of my players.”
Wolves captain Conor Coady told Sky Sports: “We should still stay in the game but it is not a red card. I could go mad and kick off but for me it’s not red. It’s a fair challenge – there was nowhere else it could go. These decisions are killing teams.
“I thought from the first minute he threw out yellows early on and I thought he lost the game. We don’t feel like we were fairly treated.
“We look at ourselves first and foremost because we can defend better. But other people have to look at themselves as well.
“It’s a massive factor in what has happened.”
Wolves 2-3 Leeds United: Bruno Lage confused by ‘strange’ Raul Jimenez red cardLeeds ‘not surviving but thriving’When Jesse Marsch was appointed Leeds boss on 28 February to replace the popular Marcelo Bielsa, the Whites had lost four games in a row by an aggregate scoreline of 17-2 and were only heading one way – towards the bottom three.
Two more defeats followed and a six-game losing run meant the American manager faced a daunting challenge.
But the victory over Norwich and 3-2 success at Wolves mean they now find themselves seven points clear of the bottom three. Not safe yet perhaps, but certainly with breathing space.
Their second-half display at Molineux – goals from Jack Harrison, Rodrigo and injury-time match-winner Luke Ayling – prompted delirious scenes at the end.
“We were down but we came out in the second half and showed a bit of character – the man getting sent off is a massive game-changer and the boys dug in,” Ayling told Sky Sports. “It’s a massive three points. The boys are buzzing.
“As soon as the red card happened it gave us a right boost and then we scored pretty soon after. Then we got the second but after that we went a bit flat and tried to go a bit too long too quickly. But we got the goal in the end – it was just head over it and smash it as fast as I can.
“I tried to do the Robbie Keane celebration but I couldn’t land the cartwheel, which was a bit disappointing. I’ll have to work on that!”
Marsch’s side have now won their past two games thanks to injury-time winners, meaning the manager can look forward to a two-week international break with renewed optimism.
“We have an incredible group of young men in this team,” he said. “I have been impressed from day one with the quality at this club and I am certainly very proud of what we have achieved so far.
Wolves 2-3 Leeds United: Jesse Marsch impressed by determination of his side”We have spoken from the start about not just surviving but thriving. To be aggressive in our play, play with intensity and we have tried to do it.
“We had a chat about it and three of the four halves we have played since that conversation we have performed really well. There is still a lot of work to do. We are happy at the moment but we know the job is not done.”
The international break will also mean Leeds’ four injured players – Bamford, Meslier, Mateusz Klich and Diego Llorente – will all have extra time to recover.
Bamford, who has missed much of the season through injury, looked disconsolate when he went off but Marsch was upbeat about his prognosis.
“I think Patrick was OK,” he told BBC Sport. “He was just disappointed because he wanted to help the team so much. I could see after 15-20 minutes he was struggling. We had already talked about what we would do and that we would make the change.”
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