Leeds 3-2 Ipswich: United stay top after win
By Press Association
Last Updated: 23/09/17 6:41pm
Pablo Hernandez scored direct from a corner as Leeds survived a major scare to beat Ipswich 3-2 and maintain their position at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
The Spaniard profited from a horrendous goalkeeping error from Bartosz Bialkowski, who pushed his drilled set-piece into his own net, to give the Whites breathing space after Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kalvin Phillips had netted either side of David McGoldrick's equaliser.
Joe Garner pulled a goal back for resilient Ipswich soon after Bialkowski's gaffe but Leeds held on at a sold-out Elland Road to ensure they bounced back from last Saturday's league defeat at Millwall.
Similar to the performance against Birmingham in their last home outing, Leeds were forced to dig deep to stay unbeaten in front of their fans.
Lasogga looked in the mood from the off and, after hitting a 25-yard free-kick against the wall, he soon fired Leeds ahead in the 13th minute. Conor Shaughnessy, who signed a four-year deal at the club earlier this week, put it on a plate for the German striker, catching out the Ipswich defence with a sensational through ball, and Lasogga sent a low shot into the bottom corner.
But the hosts became too wasteful in possession following the opener and Ipswich made them pay in the 29th minute when McGoldrick equalised. The striker, unmarked in the six-yard box, headed in Grant Ward's free-kick after fit-again defender Liam Cooper was penalised for a push on Garner.
Yet Leeds were back in front within two minutes through Phillips, who latched onto a Samuel Saiz lay-off and rounded Bialkowski before slotting home.
Saiz wasted a glorious opportunity to fire Leeds further ahead, taking too many touches and then shooting at an Ipswich defender after Hernandez's backheel had located him free inside the box.
Ipswich caused Leeds, without defensive lynchpin Pontus Jansson due to a hamstring injury, problems from set-pieces as the half wore on and Vernon Anita had to be alert to clear Garner's header off the line in the 45th minute.
Leeds were again sloppy at the start of the second half and only a fine save from Felix Wiedwald denied McGoldrick, Ipswich's most dangerous player, from equalising for a second time.
Leeds went 3-1 ahead in bizarre fashion in the 67th minute as Hernandez's drilled corner was somehow diverted over the line by an unchallenged Bialkowski.
But back came Ipswich and Dominic Iorfa's cross was pushed into the box by Wiedwald and into the path of Garner, who tapped in. Town applied the pressure late on in search for an equaliser, although Saiz almost added a fourth at the death.
Thomas Christiansen: "It was an intense game that had everything. During the 90 minutes, we were in front and immediately after the 1-1 we managed to score. Then in the second half we should keep the result, trying to control the game a little better, but we suffered at the end. The most important thing is we got the three points.
"A top team again, as it was today. Ipswich were only two points away from us, so we knew it was a six-point game that we had to face today. The response was good and the result was better. We will have time to work on Cardiff, not too many days, but a few days will be enough."
Mick McCarthy: "I can forgive Bartz [Bialkowski]. He probably kept us in the league last season. He has been brilliant, so there are no recriminations there. I am disappointed with the result. I'm even more disappointed because of how well we played.
"Poor goals to concede. But I thought we were terrific. I thought second half we had one hand on their throat, we just couldn't turn it into another goal. Character is always there in abundance, but we showed a lot of quality today. They (Leeds) know they have dodged a bullet there."