LEEDS continued their slow yet steady start to the season with a fourth consecutive draw in a tense Yorkshire Derby against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road, where it finished 1-1.
Marco Matias scored a stunning volley to fire Wednesday ahead, the midfielder showcasing some fantastic footwork by flicking the ball over his shoulder and cleanly volleying into the net.
Leeds, playing their fourth game in nine days, took control in the game’s opening exchanges and looked comfortable during a dull first half – a far cry from the side that let Bristol City capitalise on their two goal lead in the dying stages on Wednesday night. It was somewhat of a surprise, therefore, when the Owls lit up the first half through Matias’ wonder strike.
The winger capitalised on an aimless punt from Vincent Sasso, before flicking the ball over Liam Cooper’s head onto his right foot before volleying in off the crossbar from 18 yards.
As Matias wheeled away to celebrate his first goal in English football in front of the Don Revie stand, there was a heated inquisition between Leeds captain Sol Bamba and Cooper.
United were left with scarcely any chances before the break, although Antenucci came close, the Italian seeing his shot whistle past the post.
Leeds started the second half with much more intent and energy, with Bamba left free in the box to all but direct an unchallenged header into Price’s hands just minutes after the restart. Ten minutes later, having failed to create more attacking chances and struggling to maintain possession in midfield, Leeds manager Rosler introduced Alex Mowatt and Luke Murphy to reignite their forward offensive.
The move enabled striker Stuart Dallas to move out on the right wing and one that ultimately proved vital in securing Leeds’s equaliser. Bamba and Mowatt combined to send Dallas cutting in from the right and blasted a low cross into the six-yard box which was turned in by Chris Wood from close range.
Leeds were buoyed by their equaliser and Wood soon went in search for another but could not direct his looping header on target, just minutes after Wednesday had nearly scored when full-back Palmer ran the length of the pitch only to head into Silvestri’s hands.
With five minutes remaining, summer signing Alejandro Lopez joined the action for Wednesday in place of Jose Semedo, while Dallas departed for Souleymane Doukara, although both teams could not summon a winner.
It was the first time in 90 clashes that these Yorkshire rivals had foreign managers in the dug-out. Between German-born Rösler and Wednesday’s Portuguese Carlos Carvahal, the two managers had signed 16 foreign players over the summer, eight of which were non-British.
It was Matias, though, whose magnificent volley stole the show and truly showed why Wednesday were eager to sign him from Portuguese side Nacional this summer, with Carvahal hinting that more is to come from the youngster.
Rösler, too, was quick to commend Matias’s star strike, conceding that he hadn’t “seen a better goal than that.”
The result means that Leeds remain unbeaten in their new Championship campaign, although they are still in search of their first victory.
Rösler, however, refused to be downhearted by another draw and commented: “We say the glass is half full, not half empty. It was our fourth game in nine days, which is very hard, especially at this early stage of the season, but we have come through those games unbeaten and I am delighted.”
“We were not as good on the ball as we would have liked but we were carrying the midweek game at Bristol City in our legs.”
Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Adeyemi, Phillips, (Murphy – 57′ ) Byram (Mowatt – 56′ ) Antenucci, Dallas (Doukara – 86′ ), Wood.
Sheffield Wednesday: Price, Palmer, Lees, Sasso, Wiggins, Hutchinson, Semedo, (López Sánchez – 85′ ), Sougou, (Hunt – 62′ ) Lee, Silva Lopes Matias, (Helan – 76′) Nuhiu.
Featured image: BBC Sport