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Leeds thump Ipswich to kick-start their bid for an instant Premier League return

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Dec 2023

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Leeds kick-started their bid for an instant Premier League return with a thumping 4-0 win against automatic promotion rivals Ipswich at Elland Road.

Skipper Pascal Struijk’s early header, Leif Davis’s own goal and Crysencio Summerville’s penalty left the home fans bouncing at half-time as the Tractor Boys hurtled towards only their third league defeat of the season.

Joel Piroe crashed home an emphatic finish early in the second half and Leeds, who dropped five points in their previous two matches, could have added more.

Piroe and Georginio Rutter both saw efforts hit the woodwork and while Conor Chaplin’s first-half shot clipped a post, it was one-way traffic in the lunchtime kick-off.

Daniel Farke’s side extended their unbeaten home record this season to 12 matches and cut the gap between themselves and second-placed Ipswich to seven points.

Leeds will be hoping Kieran McKenna’s side drop more points against leaders Leicester on Boxing Day.

Ipswich defender Davis had a game to forget back at his former club as it was also his clumsy first-half challenge on Summerville which led to Leeds’ penalty.

Since losing to Leeds at Portman Road in a seven-goal thriller in August, Ipswich had lost just one of their following 18 matches.

But in front of an expectant home crowd they fell behind in the eighth minute.

Piroe’s header from Summerville’s corner was saved by Vaclav Hladky and Struijk was first to the rebound to head Leeds in front from two yards.

Ipswich responded through Nathan Broadhead’s effort from outside the box and began to force their way back into the game.

The visitors were never allowed to settle, though, and Leeds turned defence into attack to double their lead in the 25th minute.

Teenager Archie Gray won possession deep in the right-back position before a swift exchange of first-time passes sent Summerville hurtling into Ipswich’s box and his low cross was turned into his own net by Davis.

Ipswich came within a whisker of pulling one back when Chaplin’s superb shot skimmed Illan Meslier’s left-hand post.

Summerville was then heavily involved again as Leeds went three-up on the stroke of half-time.

He was sent charging into the area again, this time by Dan James, and after being bundled over by Davis, he picked himself up to bury the subsequent spot-kick for his 11th league goal of the season.

Leeds kept their foot to the floor at the start of the second period, with Piroe’s rising drive hitting the underside of the crossbar.

The Dutch forward was not to be denied soon after, crashing home his ninth league goal of the season from the edge of the area after another Leeds counter-attack.

The home fans were in raptures, baying for more and Leeds responded via Rutter, whose deflected shot from the edge of the box struck the crossbar.

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