Half time: Brentford 1-0 Leeds
Peep peep! Leeds missed a number of chances – and were denied a clear and obvious penalty – before Neal Maupay’s arrogant finish put Brentford ahead just before half-time. Leeds simply cannot afford a defeat here; can’t really afford a draw either. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45+2 min Roberts misses a fine chance to bring Leeds level, scuffing wide of the far post from 12 yards. Leeds have missed some great chances in this half.
The goal came from nowhere, though it was a quite majestic finish. Brentford had a throw-in deep in their own half; four touches later they were ahead. And one of those was the throw-in. It was hurled forward to Canos, who controlled the ball neatly and sliced Leeds open with an excellent through pass. Maupay marched onto the ball, finally reaching it at the edge of the D, and stabbed an insouciant curling shot past the outrushing Casilla. That was a lovely first-time finish, although it was brought to you in association with crap defending. There was nobody near Canos, and Maupay had a huge gap in which to run.
42 min Klich curls a good effort from 25 yards that drifts a few yards wide of the angle of post and bar.
41 min A draw would be a bad result for Leeds, though not a terminal one. A defeat, realistically, would leave them needing snookers to finish in the top two.
39 min More supreme skill from Canos. He receives a short pass on the right edge of the area and drags his studs over the ball to move infield, away from Ayling. Then he hits a curling left-footed shot towards the far corner that is flapped behind by the diving Casilla. It wasn’t right in the corner so it was a save he would usually make; nonetheless, it was lovely play from Canos.
37 min Canos hammers a superb crossfield pass to Watkins, who tries to control and come inside Dallas in the same movement. Dallas does well to head behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
33 min Lovely play from Canos, who roasts Ayling on the left and tees up the underlapping Henry, whose shot is deflected over the bar by Cooper.
31 min Watkins steers a neat first-time through pass to Maupay, whose fierce shot from 12 yards has the pace taken off it by the stretching Jansson. That was a brilliant block.
30 min Watkins and Canos have switched wings in an attempt to get some joy.
29 min The stretching Harrison miscontrols the ball onto his hand, but the referee allows play to continue and he wins a corner. Nothing comes of it and therefore, as our friend Jurgen would say, it’s all cool.
28 min He curls it out towards the penalty spot, where Janvier does well to head away under considerable pressure.
28 min Harrison wins another left-wing corner for Leeds, which he’ll take himself…
27 min A quiet spell in the game. Leeds are still playing like the home side, with Brentford happy to play on the break for now.
23 min That Leeds penalty appeal is an example of where VAR could be used without recourse to farce or injustice, because that was a clear and obvious error.
21 min Harrison wins a corner for Leeds, who are having a good spell. Harrison’s corner is headed away to Forshaw, whose low shot from 25 yards takes a deflection and drifts wide of the near post.
18 min Replays reinforce the view that Leeds have been done there. Janvier took a shortcut through the front of Bamford, and I’d love to know what the referee thought he saw. Moments before that penalty appeal, Bamford miscontrolled a beautiful long pass from Hernandez when he was through on goal. He could have scored a hat-trick already.
17 min: How is that not a penalty to Leeds? Bamford turned inside Janvier in the box and seemed to be clearly tripped, but the referee wasn’t interested.
15 min Alioski has an ice pack on his left calf. Cooper seems to okay, however.
14 min Henry’s corner is put behind for a corner by Cooper. It’s a dreadful corner, however, and I refuse to justify its existence by describing what happened.
13 min Brentford are starting to play some slick football. Watkins slips a short pass through to Maupay, who tries to turn the last man Cooper on the edge of the area and slips over. The ball comes to Canos, who slaps over the bar from 20 yards.
12 min A very disappointed Alioski limps off to be replaced by Stuart Dallas.
11 min Canos’s shot is blocked by Ayling after a good one-touch move from Brentford. They’re starting to come into the game. Leeds, meanwhile, also have a problem with Alioski, who slipped and has pulled something in his left leg. He needs to go off.
10 min Cooper is struggling, which is a huge worry for Leeds. It looks like a recurrence of his muscle injury.
9 min Leeds look really sharp, and so far Brentford haven’t been allowed to settle. Canos tries a shot from 35 yards. No.
6 min That was a hideous first touch from Roberts, which looks worse every time you see it.
5 min: Another chance for Leeds! Bamford flicks a loose ball forward to put Roberts through on goal, but his first touch is far too heavy and that allows Daniels to charge to the edge of his box and claim the ball.
4 min It’s been an intense start from Leeds, with and especially without the ball.
2 min: A good early chance for Bamford! Leeds won the ball high up the field and moved it from left to right. Ayling then dragged a short ball towards the penalty spot, where Bamford cracked a first-time shot just wide. He was being challenged as he took the shot and couldn’t get enough of his foot round the ball to curl it inside the post.
2 min Brentford have started with Canos on the left and Watkins on the right, rather than the other way round.
The players emerge from the tight Griffin Park tunnel, which is on the small side of intimate. Brentford are in red-and-white stripes; Leeds are in yellow.
Here’s more on Norwich’s fourth consecutive draw. They need four points from their last two games to be certain of promotion, although realistically a win at home to Blackburn on Saturday evening will be enough.
At the top of the Championship, it has finished Stoke 2-2 Norwich and Hull 0-3 Sheffield United. That means Norwich won’t be promoted today, whatever happens in this game.
Brentford (3-4-2-1) Daniels; Konsa, Jeanvier, Sorensen; Odubajo, Sawyers, Mokotjo, Henry; Watkins, Canos; Maupay.
Substitutes: Gunnarsson, Dasilva, Marcondes, Ogbene, Racic, Forss, Oksanen.
Leeds (4-1-4-1) Casilla; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Alioski; Forshaw; Hernandez, Roberts, Klich, Harrison; Bamford.
Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Roofe, Dallas, Berardi, Shackleton, Clarke.
Referee Keith Stroud.
God bless the EFL Championship sponsored by Sky Bet. While the top divisions in most countries are almost too predictable to function, the Championship remains a compelling miracle of randomness. That thought should sustain Leeds at a time when their chance of automatic promotion is threatening to slip away. If they can lose at home to 10-man Wigan, as they did so shockingly on Friday, then Sheffield United can drop points at Stoke on the last day of the season.
First, Leeds next to take it that far. They realistically need a minimum of four points from the next two games – away at Brentford today, and at home to record-breaking Aston Villa on Sunday. Their promotion rivals Sheffield United, who are cruising to victory at Hull this afternoon, have a home banker against Ipswich on Saturday.
The good news for Leeds is that Brentford, safely ensconced in mid-table, have nothing to play for. The bad news is that such things rarely matter in the unpredictable world of the Championship, and Brentford also have a superb record at Griffin Park.
Leeds are right on the edge, but they still have hope. This is not an unyielding blinking contest like the one between Manchester City and Liverpool. It’s the Championship, a democratic league where almost anyone really can beat anyone. And it’s blinking brilliant.
Kick off is at 5.15pm