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Leeds United ride the roller-coaster en route to thrilling Blackburn Rovers draw
BATTLING Leeds United head into the international break in decent shape.
Their thrilling roller-coaster 3-3 home npower Championship draw with big-spending Blackburn said much about the sheer determination of Neil Warnock’s men.
After half an hour they were trailing 2-0 and being outclassed by rampant Rovers who carved open the Whites right flank twice to score through overlapping full-back Markus Olsson, who also set up the second for Nuno Gomez.
Leeds fans were fearing another embarrassing Elland Road scoreline which had blighted last season’s Championship campaign.
Warnock’s squad may not be the most technically gifted, but their unquenchable spirit turned the game on its head, taking them to the brink of a sensational victory.
The Leeds boss moved El Hadji Diouf from the right, where he and Lee Peltier were being overrun, to the opposite flank and his influence soon began to grow. After Rovers failed to clear the ball, the former Senegal international scrambled the ball over the line to give Leeds a lifeline.
Attacking the South Stand, United opted for the direct approach and the Lancashire side could not cope with the bustling aerial presence of Luciano Becchio and Co. Becchio did appear to foul Gael Givet in the build-up to Ross McCormack’s equaliser – a thumping shot past Leeds old boy Paul Robinson but improving Leeds were worth parity.
Blackburn, so calm and assured in the first half, were now wobbling like a jelly. Rodolf Austin went close before Becchio had a header cleared off the line by Danny Murphy as Leeds bombarded the box. The pressure told on 65 minutes when Becchio’s forehead put United in front and minutes later another header by Jason Pearce was ruled out for a marginal foul.
Shell-shocked Rovers were struggling to get back in the game but sub Ruben Rochina’s clever back-heel from close range set up a frantic finale in which both sides could have nicked a win.