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Sammie Szmodics nets late Blackburn winner as Leeds suffer blow in promotion bid

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Sammie Szmodics dealt a crushing blow to Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes as Blackburn claimed a late 1-0 Championship win at Elland Road.

Defeat stopped the home side going top of the table as Rovers defended for long periods of the game.

Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts all tested Blackburn goalkeeper Aynsley Pears in a dominant first half for Leeds.

The home side also had chances after the break but were punished by Szmodics with eight minutes to go.

Leeds were on the front foot from the off as Joel Piroe’s shot was deflected for a corner.

Hayden Carter tripped Summerville and his free-kick from a narrow angle was saved by Pears, who also punched away the follow-up shot from Gnonto from the edge of the area.

The game was being played mostly in Blackburn’s half and Leeds forced two corners in succession with 20 minutes gone – but they were unable to break the deadlock.

Ethan Ampadu headed a Roberts free-kick off target as Leeds kept up the pressure with nearly half-an-hour on the clock.

Ilia Gruev missed the best chance so far but his near-post shot from Gnonto’s low ball following a corner did not trouble Pears.

Roberts was the next to test the Rovers stopper with a curling shot from outside the area which he saved high to his left at the expense of a corner.

Szmodics forced Illan Meslier into action for the first time from a Blackburn breakaway with the goalkeeper diving low to his left to keep out the shot, five minutes before the break.

Gruev fired at Pears with the first effort of the second half after Joe Rodon’s vital interception and surging run.

Gnonto shot wide across the face of goal but with nearly an hour gone, Leeds were still looking for the opening goal.

Meslier put his side under pressure when his throw went to a Blackburn player but luckily for him when the ball was passed to Joe Rankin-Costello, he fired wide.

Blackburn sensed a chance and Szmodics crossed low from the right but he could not find a team-mate with the Leeds goal gaping, with Roberts stretching to stop Tyrhys Dolan getting a touch.

Georginio Rutter’s shot into a crowded area saw Pears dive low to his left then claim the loose ball.

A cross from Gnonto spun onto the post and then the winger just failed to get a touch to a Dan James cross.

Substitute Patrick Bamford headed over as Leeds cranked up the pressure and they were made to pay when Szmodics struck the decisive blow, eight minutes from time.

Sam Gallagher nodded on Pears’ kick, Dolan turned and released his team-mate and Szmodics finished coolly past Meslier.

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