Leeds 3-3 Cardiff: Cardiff comeback denies Leeds Championship top spot

Leeds 3-3 Cardiff: Marcelo Bielsa’s men denied Championship top spot and eighth successive victory as Bluebirds strike back at Elland Road

  • Leeds drew 3-3 with Cardiff to remain second in the Championship on Saturday
  • Robert Glatzel scored an 88th-minute equaliser to earn a point for the Bluebirds 
  • Patrick Bamford struck in either half after Helder Costa’s sixth-minute opener
  • Lee Tomlin and Sean Morrison, who was sent off, also hit back for the visitors
  • Leeds ten points clear of third; Cardiff fell to 12th, three points from play-off spot

Marcelo Bielsa was left stunned as 10-man Cardiff came back from the dead to claim an unlikely point and halt Leeds’ seven-match winning streak.

Bielsa’s side knew they had to win to reclaim top spot from West Bromwich and two goals inside the opening eight minutes put them firmly on course.

First, Helder Costa finished off a stunning counter-attack and then Patrick Bamford fired in a second two minutes later.

Helder Costa slotted past Neil Etheridge to give Leeds a sixth-minute lead at home to Cardiff

Patrick Bamford scored United’s second as they raced into a two-goal lead after eight minutes

 Bamford (left) celebrated his seventh strike of the season as his side dominated the first half

Leeds were dominant and appeared set to romp to a comfortable victory as chances continued to proliferate in front of the Cardiff goal.

When Bamford added a third for Leeds from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute, even Bielsa could have been forgiven for getting the cigars out.

Yet Cardiff – so insipid during the first half – gradually warmed to their task. Lee Tomlin profited on a Kiko Casilla mistake to pull one back on the hour and then captain Sean Morrison headed in a second in the 82nd minute.

Two minutes later, Morrison was sent off for a lunge on Leeds substitute Eddie Nketiah. Still there was more late drama as substitute Robert Glatzel fired home to leave a sell-out Elland Road crowd stunned.

The striker made no mistake from the penalty spot to put the Whites 3-0 up after 52 minutes

Leeds looked likely to hit the top of the table before Cardiff mounted a remarkable comeback 

Sean Morrison headed Cardiff’s second and then saw red in an unexpectedly dramatic ending

In added time, Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge denied Nketiah a late winner as a remarkable game somehow ended all square.

In the sixth minute, a stunning counter-attack – fast becoming a trademark of this Bielsa team – led to Costa collecting Pablo Hernandez’s delightful first-time pass and firing home an assured left-footed finish.

Two minutes later, Bamford chested down Stuart Dallas’ left-wing cross smashed a fierce left-foot shot past stunned Etheridge. 

Cardiff completed their comeback when Robert Glatzel scored their third in the 88th minute

The home fans saw Leeds go 11 games undefeated but their run of four straight shutouts ended

Boss Marcelo Bielsa watched his players succumb to two late goals as Cardiff grabbed a point

With Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich patrolling midfield, Hernandez providing a touch of class and Dallas and Luke Ayling supporting the attack at every opportunity, Leeds were rampant. 

Dallas hit two shots from distance which flew over, Gaetano Berardi headed wide from a corner and Ayling had a strike deflected over the crossbar.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani roared his approval from the directors’ box as Cardiff, who lost defender Aden Flint to injury shortly before half-time, struggled to keep their hosts at bay. 

Cardiff scored three times in 26 minutes on a memorable away trip following a poor first half

Neil Harris was delighted to see his Cardiff side maintain their fine recent record against Leeds

On-loan Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah was left ruing a final chance to rescue victory for Leeds


Leeds (4-1-4-1): Casilla; Ayling, White, Berardi (Struijk 84), Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Hernandez, Klich, Harrison (Alioski 81); Bamford (Nketiah 77)

Subs (not used): Douglas, Miazek, Gotts, Clarke

Scorers: Costa (6), Bamford (8, 52)

Booked: Hernandez

Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

Cardiff (4-5-1): Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Flint (Nelson 41), Bennett; Mendez-Laing, Pack, Vaulks (Whyte 61), Ralls, Tomlin; Ward (Glatzel 73)

Subs (not used): Smithies, Bacuna, Murphy, Paterson

Scorers: Tomlin (60), Morrison (82), Glatzel (90)

Booked: Tomlin

Sent off: Morrison 

Manager: Neil Harris

Referee: Tony Harrington 

Moments after the restart, Ayling fired over but in the 52nd minute a third goal arrived for Leeds.

Etheridge felled Bamford and the former Middlesbrough striker, confidence flooding through his veins, made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Cardiff gained some respite on the hour mark when a rare attacking sortie saw Tomlin profit from Casilla’s error as the Spanish goalkeeper missed a cross.

But Leeds being Leeds, mistakes began to creep in and not even their most ardent supporter would stake good money on them completing the job.

This time last year, Bielsa guided Leeds to seven straight wins and they topped the table at Christmas.

They went on to blow automatic promotion, suffering a fifth successive failure in the play-offs after being dumped out by Derby at the semi-final stage.

Those doubts about Leeds will now resurface after Morrison headed home Bennett’s left-wing cross before Glatzel sneaked home an 88th-minute equaliser.

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