MX23RW : Sunday, July 22 12:17:00


Nov 19, 2017 at 1.15pm UK
LeedsLeeds United
Hernandez (25'), Alioski (55')
Berardi (33'), Jansson (35'), Ayling (77'), Philips (90'), Hernandez (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Assombalonga (76' pen.)
Friend (30'), Howson (64'), Assombalonga (86')

Game Menu

Live Commentary: LeedsLeeds United 2-1 Middlesbrough

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Leeds United's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, as the hosts held on to end their losing run.

Leeds United have drawn level on points with Middlesbrough in the Championship table thanks to a 2-1 win over their promotion rivals at Elland Road.

Pablo Hernandez opened the scoring for the home side 25 minutes into the match after poking home from close range, before turning provider for Ezgjan Alioski to add a second.

Boro were given a route back into the match when Britt Assombalonga converted from the penalty spot, but they could not find an equaliser despite eight minutes of added time being played.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded in West Yorkshire with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Championship clash between Leeds United and Middlesbrough at Elland Road. The Whites, up against former manager Garry Monk for the first time, are aiming to get back on track following a run of six defeats in seven league games, while automatic-promotion chasers Boro are on their way up the division after winning three in a row to climb into the playoff zone.
On current form, the Smoggies will be after all three points this afternoon to strengthen their grip on a top-six spot, before then looking to close down an automatic promotion spot. The division's top three have all won so far this weekend, with Wolverhampton Wanderers sitting pretty at the top on 38 points, two ahead of Sheffield United and four in front of Cardiff City.
As far as Leeds are concerned, they simply not to stop the rot or else any hope they have or challenging for the playoffs this term will be over before the end of the year. Six defeats in seven really is an abysmal run of form, seeing them collapse far earlier than many predicted. The good news for Whites fans is that there is plenty of time to steady the ship, and in boss Thomas Christiansen they have a manager boasting title-winning pedigree.

STARTING XI: Lonergan; Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi; Vieira, Phillips; Saiz, Hernandez, Alioski; Roofe

SUBS: Wiedwald, Pennington, Anita, O'Kane, Sacko, Ekuban, Grot

Some fairly interesting team news as far as the hosts are concerned, as Christiansen has retained faith in goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. The former Preston North End stopper had a real howler at Griffin Park 15 days ago, at fault for two of the three goals scored by Brentford, but he is given he nod over Felix Wiedwald for this Elland Road showdown. Up the other end of the field, Kalvin Philips is tasked with leading the line in the absence of Pierre-Michel Lasogga.
Lasogga, who has netted five goals in 10 Championship appearances since arriving, misses out on squad selection entirely in a real blow for the hosts. There is a place among the subs for the returning Caleb Ekuban, however, as he has recovered from a foot problem that has kept him out of action since the opening months of the campaign. Plenty of eyes on Phillips up top, aiming to build on a decent record of five goals from six attempts on target in 2017-18.
There is also no Stuart Dallas for the home side today, so they are without two of their key players. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Vurnon Anita were the other two injury doubts, the latter of whom has missed the past few weeks, but it is the former who misses out on squad selection today. The headline news as far as Leeds are concerned, though, is that Lonergan retains his spot between the sticks, while top-scoring striker Lasogga is nowhere to be seen.

STARTING XI: Randolph; Roberts, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Howson, Leadbitter; Downing, Braithwaite, Tavernier; Assombalonga

SUBS: Konstantopoulos, Fabio, Fry, Traore, Johnson, Forshaw, Fletcher

Two changes made by Christiansen to his Leeds side in all, with Hernandez and Roofe in for O'Kane and Lasogga, while Monk has brought in Connor Roberts in place of the suspended Cyrus Christie as far as the visitors are concerned. A big afternoon for the Wales Under-21s international, whose only first-team appearances thus far have come in the EFL Cup. He may well have his work cut out down the flank, with the more experienced George Friend on the opposite side.
There is no Max Clayton or Patrick Bamford in the Boro squad this afternoon, meanwhile, and Ryan Shotton is also absent. The big team news from Elland Road today regards those who miss out on the squad, rather than those who are included! One man who needs no introduction is summer signing Britt Assombalonga, who has already started to pay off his £15m transfer fee by netting eight goals in 16 league appearances this term to find himself in the running for the Championship Golden Boot.
Academy graduate Marcus Tavernier is not as well known just yet, but he has caught the eye during his rare appearances this term - including against Sunderland last time out when netting an early winner - and has subsequently been linked with an array of Premier League clubs. An exciting product to say the least, but for now his task is to create and score goals to help lift the Smoggies further up the table, with fifth place in their sights ahead of this huge showdown.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga has scored five goals in 10 appearances for Leeds United since joining from Hamburger SV on deadline day, but he misses out on squad selection this afternoon to force Thomas Christiansen into a slight reshuffle. There is also no Eunan O'Kane for the hosts, while opposition boss Garry Monk has made the brave call of bringing in Welsh full-back Connor Roberts in place of the suspended Cyrus Christie.

Leeds head into this match occupying 11th place in the Championship table, three points adrift of Middlesbrough in sixth. While their form has been abysmal in recent weeks, victory for the Whites this afternoon and all of a sudden they are right back in the playoff mix. That is largely thanks to the incredible start made under Christiansen, who arrived from APOEL boasting decent managerial pedigree after guiding his former side to the Cypriot title.
Seventeen points from the first 21 on offer was certainly a good way for Christiansen to introduce himself to supporters, giving those in the Elland Road stands reason to believe that finally, after a 13-year absence, this would finally be their year. It has not quite worked out that way, however, having lost six of their last seven to slide down the division to their current standing of 11th place.
Leeds have since dropped down to the second tier following their relegation from the top flight 13 years ago, of course, before bouncing back after a few attempts. The proud Yorkshire club have rarely challenged for a place back in the Premier League since then, though, finishing seventh in 2010-11 and matching that finish just once since. That, if Leeds fans needed reminding, was last time out when a certain Garry Monk was at the Elland Road helm.
This will be Monk's first return to Leeds since departing at the end of last season, two weeks before taking on the job at relegated Middlesbrough. The reasons for his exit have become well known in the months since that shock exit, which he put down to a lack of long-term guarantees from the club's backers (more on which a little later). Monk, who also enjoyed relative success at Swansea City, left United with a record of 14 wins from his 23 home league matches in charge.
The Whites' solid start to this season suggested that Christiansen would push on from where Monk left off, with the Whites clicking into gear with those 17 points from the first 21 on offer. Their 3-0 win at Bristol City last month was hugely impressive, again hinting at better times to come, but either side of that victory they have lost six matches and conceded 14 goals in the process. At the other end of the field, just four goals have been scored - simply not good enough.
Leeds are now at serious risk of drifting into mid-table obscurity if this current run continues which, on the basis of their next set of fixtures - Boro, Wolves and Villa to face in three of their next four - may well be the case. On the flipside, some high-profile matches may well spark the Whites back into life, or else Christiansen could be the latest in a long list of managerial departures at Elland Road in the recent past.
Only Birmingham City (22) have attempted fewer shots that Leeds (28) heading into the latest round of fixtures, and they may well struggle again in that regard against the division's join-best defence. Boro have conceded 13 goals in their opening 16 matches, the same as Cardiff who have played a game more, while also keeping seven clean sheets during that run. The Smoggies' goalscoring record does need working on, though - an underwhelming 21 scored so far.
After collecting 17 points from the first 21 on offer, Leeds have since drifted badly and now find themselves down in 11th place. A 3-1 reverse away to Brentford prior to the international break, when conceding twice in the final five minutes, was their sixth loss in seven matches, either side of a 3-0 win against Bristol City. Today's game really is massive for the Whites, against a side occupying the final playoff spot.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS! Leeds United are unbeaten in four league games against Middlesbrough at Elland Road, winning three of those. The most recent encounter here finished goalless in February, while the Smoggies won the reverse meeting 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium 14 months ago to end a four-match winless run in this fixture. If the recent past is anything to go by, the hosts have the advantage today.
Boro can be caught by Leeds with defeat today, then, but should they win they can climb above Aston Villa into fifth place. Their recent form is in stark contrast to United's, having started the campaign with a mixed set of results before finally clicking into gear. Three wins on the spin heading into the international break helped ease any pressure that was starting to build on Monk, who was backed financially to take the North-East outfit straight back up.
The Smoggies are in a good position as things stand, looking up at the division's elite with momentum on their side. It is worth remembering that they were much-fancied to go up automatically this term, though, so it came as little surprise to see questions asked of Monk following a fairly underwhelming opening couple of months to the term. The addition of £15m Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest is paying off, though, as he has scored eight in 16 matches.
A five-match winless run has since become three-successive victories, seeing off Reading, Hull City and Sunderland. The first two of those matches were away from home, where Boro have only fared marginally worse than at the Riverside Stadium - 12 points collected on their travels compared to 14 on Teesside. Monk's men have a fairly tough run ahead, however, following up this trip to Elland Road with games against fellow top-six hopefuls Derby, Bristol City and Ipswich Town in the next three weeks.
DID YOU KNOW? Middlesbrough have not won any of their last eight second-tier matches to be contested on a Sunday, drawing three and losing five. The Smoggies have failed to score in seven of those dating back to a 2-1 win over Stoke City in 1998, and they have also failed to net in four of their last five league visits to Elland Road. As mentioned a little earlier, however, they did rack up three goals in the reverse fixture at the Riverside Stadium.
With kickoff in West Yorkshire now exactly 10 minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Thomas Christiansen: "The target for Boro is the direct (automatic) promotion and they started bad but are in a good run now, just the opposite to what we did," he said in his pre-match press conference. But again, we are only three points away from each other and that can turn. Boro are a very good team, an organised team who know what they do with quality. But we know also where their weaknesses are, this is what we have to play with and of course we have to make it a tough game on Sunday. I think the players know the importance of the game, the three points that we need and I also believe we deserve but it's not coming alone, we need to work hard for it. The coach was here last year, let's see how the reception will be but it's still the players on the pitch who have to deliver the job."

Garry Monk: "If I'm honest about it - the way I look at it - I know outwardly the question will always be there because I was the manager of Leeds last season but this game's not about me, it's about my team. That's all I'm focused on and what my players are focused on but I totally understand why that question is there. Of course, in terms of my memories of Leeds, [I have] fantastic memories of Leeds. Last season we took a club that was very fractured in terms of relationships throughout certain departments and how it was as a club from fans to the team and we put foundations [in place]. Us, along with the fans, worked very hard to build that relationship to where it was strong and where it was together and unified. That side of it I'm very proud of."

No hiding away from the importance of this fixture as far as Christiansen is concerned - he knows just how big three points will be today. Leeds will end the day either level with Boro on 26 points, on instead six points adrift of the top six. The former APOEL manager was not willing to be drawn on questions regarding the man he replaced, insisting that it is instead down to the players to prove why they deserve to be taken seriously as promotion hopefuls.
Monk says that he is "very proud" of what he achieved during his solitary season at Elland Road, having turned a "fractious" club into one challenging for a playoff spot. Quite how United did not hold down a place in the top six is anyone's guess, but the ex-Swansea chief opted to move on for one reason or another and he is now tasked with taking Middlesbrough up to the big time, a year after their relegation.
PREDICTION! One side has lost six of their last seven, while the other boasts three wins in a row - we all know which way this one is going: a comfortable Leeds win! Football does tend to work that way, especially in this unpredictable division, though it is tough to see how the Whites will take anything from this game based on the last couple of months. A point would not be disastrous for them today; as will be the case for the Smoggies.
Both sets of players have made their way on to the field for the Garry Monk derby! A two-goal win required for Leeds United today if they are to overtake Middlesbrough in the top six; a victory by any margin enough for the Smoggies to climb one place into fifth, while at the same time opening up a gap on the chasing pack. A big afternoon ahead in this final second-tier fixture of the weekend!

KICKOFF! We are under way at Elland Road in this final Championship fixture of matchday 17. Calvin Phillips appears to be in a deeper midfield role, rather than up top, as Leeds reshuffle slightly in the absence of Lasogga.
Andy Lonergan collects the ball to put an end to the Smoggies' attack. Perhaps a little surprising to see Christiansen stand by the keeper today, two weeks on from his real howler in that 3-1 loss to Brentford at Griffin Park.
The ball has spent a fair bit of time in the Leeds half early on at Elland Road, but Boro have not really put any serious attacking moves together just yet. The Smoggies slowly probing away in search of the game's opening goal.
Good Boro play down the left, with Tavernier and Friend linking up, but the latter was blocked off the ball when getting into the box. Leeds then attacked through the middle, winning a first corner to show for their positivity.
Swansea loanee Roberts a tad lucky, as he got away with pulling back on his man when defending that Leeds corner. The ball is played in behind for Downing to race on to, with his half-decent cross into the box easily dealt with.
PENALTY APPEAL! Leeds had a small shout for a pen turned down a few moments ago, but this was a far clearer case. Gaetano Berardi wrestled Britt Assombalonga to the ground when defending a corner, right in front of referee Keith Stroud.
A slow start to the match at Elland Road, to say the least. Not seen any shots or chances so far, with the biggest talking point that rejected penalty appeal a couple of minutes ago - Assombalonga had a real case, but Keith Stroud disagreed.
A very balanced opening 15 minutes to the contest, with possession pretty much split at 47%-53% in Boro's favour. Atmosphere is very flat around the ground, too, which is understandable in a game providing little entertainment thus far.
Jansson and Tavernier clash heads in an aerial collision, leaving both in need of a quick once-over. We are approaching the quarter-point mark in the match and there has still been zero goal attempts of any note - blocked shot or otherwise.
Assombalonga gets in behind down the right-hand side - not the first player to do so today - and sends a promising delivery across the face of goal, but Martin Braithwaite and Marcus Tavernier could not get on the end of it.
SAVE! A first shot and a first save of the afternoon, as Lonergan helps Downing's powerful drive over the bar. From the resulting corner, Friend heads into the side-netting at the back post. Boro stepping things up all of a sudden.
The visitors have just about had the better of things so far, getting in behind down the Leeds left on a couple of occasions and testing Lonergan through a decent Downing attempt. Still no way through, though, with 23 minutes played.
Hernandez, brought to Elland Road by Monk, opens the scoring through United's first attempt of the match. Ezgjan Alioski sent in a cross, which Kalvin Phillips flicked into the path of Hernandez stationed at the back post. Simple finish in the end to give his side a vital lead.
Monk will wonder where that goal came from, as Leeds have not offered a great deal in an attacking sense so far. That is exactly what this game needed, though, hopefully sparking Boro into action for the remaining hour of the match.
United have taken the lead in seven matches this season and won six of them - a great omen for them. Monk will not be too worried just yet, with plenty of the match still left to play and his side showing the odd glimpse of what they are capable of.
Leeds have seen more of the ball since opening the scoring, looking for more assured on the ball compared to the opening 25 minutes or so. The Whites now need to push on, knowing that another goal will take them into sixth place.
YELLOW CARD! George Friend, frustrated after a decision went against him up the other end, enters the referee's book for a mistimed challenge. Half a chance for Samuel Saiz, who loops a shot over the bar from eight yards.
YELLOW CARD! Gaetano Berardi the second player to be cautioned in quick succession following a sliding tackle on Championship debutant Roberts. His studs were showing a little so that was the right call by referee Keith Stroud.
YELLOW CARD! The match has become incredibly stop-start since the opening goal, as Pontus Jansson is the latest player to be cautioned after halting the run of Braithwaite. Boro with just the one shot on target so far today.
Braithwaite is in possession in a dangerous zone, but his backheeled pass to Downing lacks weight and is cleared for a corner, from which Lonergan was able to punch to safety. The visitors need to get some momentum going.
Fingers crossed for a livelier second half, because the opening 42 minutes of this match have been incredibly bland. Leeds took the lead through their only attempt of the match, while Boro's only effort arrived via Downing 21 minutes in.
CLOSE! Leeds win a free kick in a good crossing position, although whether it should have been awarded in the first place is a different question. Hernandez with a good delivery, which Liam Cooper almost capitalised on by heading narrowly wide.
Alioski with an attempt that deflects wide, as Leeds end the first half on top. Three minutes have been added on at the end of the opening 45 minutes, meaning that there is still time for the Whites to add to their slender advantage.
Leeds United take a 1-0 advantage into the half-time interval, courtesy of a Pablo Hernandez strike from close range. Very little between the two sides in a game of few chances so far, but the Whites saw more of the ball after taking the lead and will argue that they deserve to be in front.
Boro felt that they should have had a penalty in a quiet start to the match, as Gaetano Berardi wrestled Britt Assombalonga to the ground when attempting to defend a corner. Stewart Downing then tested Andy Lonergan, given the nod today despite a shaky display at Brentford prior to the international break, with a long-range drive. That would prove to be as good as things got for the Smoggies in the first half, however, as Leeds slowly grew into the match.
From their first attempt of any note, Pablo Hernandez - brought to Elland Road by Garry Monk - blasted home at the front post after Kalvin Phillips flicked on Ezgjan Alioski's right-sided cross. United, who had attempted the second-lowest amount of shots on target prior to this weekend, saw Samuel Saiz and Liam Cooper prove wasteful from good positions as half time approached.
Not the most entertaining of first halves in West Yorkshire, then, but we did at least see a goal. The onus is now on Monk's men to come out of their cage a little more, which could mean some tinkering at the interval. Far too much reliance on Assombalonga, who needs some attacking support alongside him. Here is a remainder of the options available to both managers...

LEEDS UNITED SUBS: Wiedwald, Pennington, Anita, O'Kane, Sacko, Ekuban, Grot

MIDDLESBROUGH SUBS: Konstantopoulos, Fabio, Fry, Traore, Johnson, Forshaw, Fletcher

RESTART! We are back up and running at Elland Road, where neither manager has made a half-time change - less surprising in the hosts' case. A big half of football ahead here, as Boro are at risk of slipping up in the top-six race.
Ayling and Alioski link up for the latter to belt the ball over the bar from a tight angle. The wrong choice in the end, but promising signs for seventh-place Leeds as they look to build on their advantage rather than sit back.
It is worth remembering that another Leeds goal will take them above Boro into sixth place - incentive to push on and find another, although at the same time they must be wary of a Smoggies side that will surely improve.
Better from the visiting side as full-back Roberts marauds forward and plays in Downing on the right, whose cross is cut out. Leeds having to do a bit more defending now, having also conceded a corner a couple of minutes ago.
Leeds get themselves a second goal through Alioski, who had the simple task of converting at the back post following a delightful delivery from Hernandez. Forty-eight seconds before that breakaway goal, Tavernier wasted a glorious chance at the other end when rifling over.
SHOT! Tavernier turns the ball wide near the front post - a more difficult chance than the one he wasted moments before United's second goal. That is his last involvement, in fact, as Marvin Johnson is now on the field.
OFF THE POST! So close to a third of the afternoon for Leeds, as Samuel Saiz exchanged passes with Ronaldo Vieira before picking out the post with his shot from 25 yards. Boro looking all over the shop at the moment.
CLOSE! Boro's best moment of the match so far, as Roberts's cross is volleyed goalwards by Braithwaite. The ball flicked off Ayling and clipped the outside of the post on its way through - a lucky escape for the hosts.
CHANCE! Jonny Howson shoves Alioski off the ball to receive a yellow and give away a free kick. Cooper peeled off completely unmarked but could only head Hernandez's delivery wide of the target from six yards out.
SHOT! A far more entertaining second half at Elland Road, with Downing the latest to try his luck from range. Looked as though it may have been creeping narrowly wide, but Lonergan was taking no risks and helped it on its way.
MIDDLESBROUGH SUB! Monk makes his second change of the match, bringing on eye-catching winger Adama Traore for George Friend. An attacking alteration, with the Smoggies requiring two goals in the remaining 23 minutes or so of the match.
After an end-to-end 10-minute spell in the match, things have just about calmed down. That will suit Leeds manager Christiansen just fine, as Boro were looking more and more likely to finally find a way through on goal.
MIDDLESBROUGH SUB! Not a million miles away from Assombalonga, whose curled shot is pretty much his first involvement in this second half. Grant Leadbitter has been replaced by Ashley Fletcher in another attacking alteration.
PENALTY TO MIDDLESBROUGH! A big, big moment in the match, as the linesman has talked referee Keith Stroud into awarding a penalty. Ayling is dragged down by Ayala, and in response the Leeds defender grabbed his opponent's boot.
Assombalonga being made to wait an age before taking the spot kick. The Leeds players were furious with the decision to award the penalty and, had the officials spotted the initial infringement, it would not have been given.
United's tactics to delay the spot kick did not pay off; Assombalonga sending Lonergan the wrong way from 12 yards. All three changes already made by Monk, while Christiansen has turned to his bench for the first time by bringing on Caleb Ekuban - out since August with a foot injury - in place of Roofe.
Clear to see why Ayling was so frustrated, because the initial infringement for that penalty was Luke Ayling wrestling him to the ground. The Leeds defender had to keep his cool, though, rather than reacting in the manner he did.
After looking very comfortable at 2-0 up, Leeds will now likely have to hold on for the remaining eight minutes or so - plus a healthy chunk of added time. That goal does have a baring on things, with Leeds dropping back down to seventh.
Boro have been unable to put their opponents under any real pressure since dragging themselves back into the match through that Assombalonga penalty. Ayala gets himself in all sort of trouble, but Randolph read it well to collect the loose ball.
CLOSE! Hearts in mouths moment for Leeds fans, as Braithwaite shoots on the spin from 19 yards out. The ball deflected inches wide of the goal for a corner, though that could so easily have been an equaliser for the visiting side.
Christiansen is about to turn to O'Kane to shore up his midfield. A smart choice, because the final few minutes are likely to be dominated by Boro, desperate for a leveller which would keep some distance between the two sides.
LEEDS UNITED SUB! Eunan O'Kane is indeed introduced for the closing stages, taking over from Saiz who so very nearly bagged a third for Leeds earlier in the match. As it is, we now have a tense finale to the match.
YELLOW CARD! Phillips is booked for his challenge, as we enter the second of seven added on minutes. The lengthy wait for Assombalonga to take the penalty was certainly not forgotten by the officials - plenty of time to play.
A bombardment on the Leeds box in the closing stages. The hosts given a chance to counter-attack, but Johnson did well to get back to prevent the move developing further. Christiansen is about to make the second of his three changes.
LEEDS UNITED SUB! Alioski, who has been very lively in attack for Leeds today, is replaced by defender Matthew Pennington. There are now just 60 seconds or so left to play at Elland Road - surely it is all over for Boro now?!
And breathe! After eight-and-a-half minutes of added time, referee Keith Stroud blows for full time. A very quiet first half at Elland Road, but the second half was far more entertaining and kept us gripped right until that delayed full-time whistle.
That concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from West Yorkshire. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while updates from the day's only Premier League match between Watford and West Ham United can be found here. Thanks for joining!

Share this article now:
Read Next:
Christiansen: 'We didn't deserve Derby loss'

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
Loading ...

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

We value your privacy

A part of our GDPR compliance we need to ask for your consent. We and our partners use technology such as cookies on Sports Mole to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on Sports Mole.