Leeds United 0 Sunderland FC 0 – drawing a blank

Leeds United 0 Sunderland FC 0 – drawing a blank.    Leeds, faced with a defensive Sunderland FC could not find that clinical edge to find the goal,.

Leeds United 0 Sunderland FC 0 – drawing a blank.  It’s tough at the top.  With games running out Leeds, Leicester City and Ipswich Town are struggling to find that vital run of form to get over the line.  Leeds, faced with a defensive Sunderland FC could not find that clinical edge to find the goal, never mind the back of the net.  It was frustrating to watch.

Leeds are in the wars for the first time since the beginning of the season: Gnonto and Gruev injured from international matches, Kamara and Ampadu unwell.  Farke talked about riding a rough sea at the current time and making the last three home games cup finals.

Sunderland beat us early in the season.  Leeds had returned home from a rare defeat and fans talked about a number of changes following that below par performance against Coventry City when Leeds could have gone top of the Championship.  Should Bamford, who is going through a goal drought, have been dropped for Joseph.  Are Ampadu and Kamara right to start since they may not be fully fit. But Farke, being Farke, chose only to start Gruev

This was a dead rubber game for Sunderland as their season is effectively over.  Leeds had to be careful as teams like Coventry City knew how to play against us – be very physical, stuck their foot in, and focus on being difficult to break down.  A key duel was Archie Gray defending against ex-Leeds player Jack Clarke.

Leeds played patiently in the first half from the halfway line looking for precise long balls to play and moments to step up a gear.   But their passing was poor and Sunderland picked up a lot of loose balls to create runs with Jack Clarke able to test Meslier more than our forwards managed against the Sunderland keeper.

The match woke up on the half hour as Bamford and Summerville looked to take shots through a packed Sunderland defence but Sunderland also grew into the game with Clarke menacing the Leeds defence. 

The second half started Leeds trying to up the tempo with a penalty call for James but his boot his offside before the foul.   Sunderland kept picking up yellow cards to slow Leeds down.  The fans were loud at first but the lack of chances meant fans got increasingly restless.

Farke left it late for the big change with Roberts, Joseph and Piroe subbed on in the last eight minutes.  Leeds were then denied a clear penalty on 75 minutes as a O’Nien got a hand to a Rodon header, hurt his hand but the referee saw nothing. 

Only three minutes extra time was given – Farke was livid with the fourth official.  Leeds ended up drawing a blank. With most of the possession they still only managed one shot on target. Yes, there was at least two penalty shouts that should have been awarded, but they never created enough clear chances in front of goal to justify a win.  The draw meant our hundred per cent home record in 2024 has ended.

Georginio had a busy evening with his darting runs and speculative shots on target whilst being constantly fouled.  Bamford was again poor in front of goal, his duel with Ballard earned the latter an early yellow card.  Summerville and Gnonto had the best chances.  Gruev expressed the frustration of Sunderland playing to defend as Bellingham followed him everywhere. For Farke, he emphasised that one point is still crucial.

Man of the Match: Rodon was the anchor for the team holding court on the half way line looking for runners.

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