LEEDS’ love-in started with Jack Harrison’s winning goal and ended when Pontus Jansson planted a kiss on Ezgjan Alioski.
Swede Jansson gave his Macedonian team-mate a smacker on the cheek and almost got his own in return.
Ezgjan Alioski acted with fury when Leeds team-mate Pontus Jansson kissed him[/caption]
Alioski, gritted teeth and eyes bulging at the realisation of what had happened, shoved his 28-year-old team-mate as he walked away.
But Harrison’s 65th minute winner sees Leeds go three points clear of third-place Sheffield Wednesday and march towards Elland Road’s reunion with the Premier League.
This old ground erupted not just with incredulous excitement – but massive relief. They should have won this game by three or four such was their dominance.
But Leeds came up against Sheffield Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood, who had the game of his life.
The Owls stopped made save after save after save to deny their Yorkshire rivals.
But he could do nothing to stop Harrison’s eventual winner.
LEEDING THE WAY
Pablo Hernandez’s cross made its way to Harrison, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
With Sheffield United conceding a late equaliser at Bramall Lane against Millwall, Leeds go two points clear of the Blades.
The atmosphere inside Elland Road was as always electric.
You really do sense that this is the year they finally end their 15-year exile from the Premier League.
But, strewth, they sure do make hard work of things.
Marcelo Bielsa has often bemoaned the fact his Leeds side have a terrible chance-to-goals conversion rate.
Jansson planted a smacker on Alioski after the crucial win over Sheffield Wednesday[/caption]
Alioski grimaced as the Swede pulled away and ran off[/caption]
Alioski gritted his teeth and hit out at his team-mate at Elland Road[/caption]
Macedonian Alioski didn’t appear to make connection with the Swede[/caption]
Bielsa was forced to make a late change to his team after captain Liam Cooper pulled a muscle in the warm up.
He replaced him with Gaetano Berardi and drafted in Leif Davis to the bench.
Steve Bruce made three changes to his side – with Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson and Gary Hooper all returning.
This was Bruce’s eighth visit to Elland Road as a manager – and he has faced a different manager each time from Terry Venables to Thomas Christensen.
The game started at a frantic pace and Mateusz Klitch saw an early effort charged down.
Tom Lees cynically hacked down Patrick Bamford, who was storming towards the Sheffield Wednesday penalty box, and saw his name duly taken by ref Tim Robinson.
Luke Ayling saw his effort deflected wide by George Boyd and from the resulting corner Tyler Roberts’ header was superbly pushed over the bar by keeper Westwood.
Jack Harrison was booked after a late challenge on Liam Palmer.
The Owls had a great chance to move in front when Gary Hooper get in behind and was set to place the ball under keeper Kiko Casilla but Ayling made a fantastic goal-saving tackle.
Westwood then bravely denied Ezgjan Alioski after Bamford flicked on a Ayling cross.
Jack Harrison scored the only goal of the game to give Leeds a three-point cushion to third[/caption]
Luke Ayling celebrated passionately as Leeds close in on a reuniuon with the Premier League[/caption]
But – in what was a lively end-to-end clash – Roberts went close to breaking the deadlock. He opened up his shoulders and let fly from just outside the box but his drive flashed inches wide.
Bannan – down the other end – then hit a curling effort, which was saved by Casilla.
Again Leeds attacked and Jack Harrison saw his header superbly saved by Westwood.
Ayling was denied a certain goal by Gary Hooper’s goalline clearance.
Leeds continued to attack and Westwood continued to deny them when he once again came to Wednesday’s rescue by saving from a powerful Roberts’ effort.
Kalvin Phillips caught Marco Matias and was rightly booked just before the break.
After the restart, the chances kept coming and Pontus Jansson saw his header from Pablo Hernandez’s corner flash over.
And Bamford was denied by a brilliant sliding challenge from Tom Lees before Hernandez steered a shot over from 20 yards.
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Alioski had a 30-yard thunderbolt just clear the bar.
Leeds finally moved in front when Hernandez’s cross found its way to Harrison and he drilled the ball home into the bottom corner.
Roberts chanced his arm from 20 yards but he failed to get hold of it properly and shot wide.