Brentford 2-0 Leeds: Visitors suffer promotion setback with second successive defeat
Leeds are three points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United with a far inferior goal difference after a second defeat in a row.
By Frederick Clayton
Last Updated: 23/04/19 6:53am
Leeds' hopes of automatic promotion were dealt a huge blow as they lost 2-0 in a lacklustre display against a clinical Brentford side.
Marcelo Bielsa's side started brightly and were denied a blatant penalty in the first half as Patrick Bamford was brought down in the box, but Brentford grew into the game and Neal Maupay gave his side the lead with a well-taken lofted poke after Sergi Canos played him through on goal.
And Brentford doubled their lead when Ollie Watkins and Maupay combined brilliantly to set up Canos, the Spaniard repaying their good work with a well-taken goal of his own.
The Bees held on to deny Leeds their first win at Griffin Park since 1950, while putting the brakes on the Whites' push for automatic promotion. Leeds now sit three points adrift of Sheffield United, who beat Hull City 3-0 earlier on Monday, and have a far inferior goal difference to the Blades with just two games remaining.
Brentford: Daniels (7), Odubajo (7), Henry (7), Canos (9), Mokotjo (6), Sawyers (6), Jeanvier (6), Konsa (6), Bech-Sorensen (7), Maupay (8), Watkins (8)
Subs: Emiliano (6), Dasilva (n/a)
Leeds United: Casilla (6), Alioski (n/a), Cooper (7), Jansson (6), Ayling (5), Forshaw (6), Klich (6), Roberts (5), Harrison (4), Hernandez (5), Bamford (5)
Subs: Dallas (6), Roofe (5), Clarke (5)
Man of the match: Sergi Canos
Leeds started brightly and almost took the lead within five minutes as Bamford's close-range shot went just wide of the post and, moments later, Bamford played Roberts through on goal only for a heavy touch to let him down.
Leeds were unlucky to be denied a stonewall penalty as Julian Jeanvier took none of the ball and all of Bamford in the box, in full view of the referee, who inexplicably waved play on.
Brentford eventually found their rhythm as Canos terrorised the Leeds backline and only excellent blocks from Cooper and Jansson could deny them the lead. That was until the excellent Canos played Maupay through on goal just before half time to finish well with a lofted poke past Kiko Casilla.
Canos returned from Brentford in place of Marcondes, while Jeanvier replaced the suspended Dalsgaard. Cooper returned for Leeds at the back, while they also welcomed Forshaw in for Phillips.
Brentford were the better side in a second-half dominated by their front three of Canos, Maupay and Watkins as Leeds struggled to find any momentum.
And that attacking trio combined wonderfully as Watkins galloped through challenges before playing in Maupay, whose first-time pass found Canos with the goal at his mercy, sliding the ball under Casilla
Bielsa cut a frustrated figure as the game wore on, barking orders from the touchline, but his side look tired and bereft of ideas, struggling for inspiration even as Kemar Roofe took to the field.
Leeds failed even to threaten in the latter stages despite having the lion's share of possession, and Brentford held on for a win that almost spoils their opponent's charge for automatic promotion.
Thomas Frank: "I think it was a well-deserved win. They only created when we gave the ball away. Here at Griffin Park, we are a very difficult team to play against.
"There will always be decision's even with VAR, that are difficult."
Marcelo Bielsa: "I never make comments on the decisions that the referee takes. Their job is very difficult and they have the right to make mistakes.
"In the moments when we dominated the opponents we couldn't score, and the opponent when they dominated they could score."
And on whether Leeds' chances for automatic promotion are over...
"Yes I think so. I know that the maths defines things, but the reality looks that way," said Bielsa.
Man of the match
Sergi Canos: The Spaniard was at the heart of everything and caused all sorts of trouble for Leeds' defence. Three points, a goal and an assist his rewards for a fine display.
Leeds United host Aston Villa on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, while Brentford travel to relegated Bolton.