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Leeds United vs Southampton. Sky Bet Championship.

Elland RoadAttendance36,766.

Leeds United 1

  • J Piroe (21st minute)

Southampton 2

  • A Armstrong (18th minute)
  • W Smallbone (35th minute)

Leeds United 1-2 Southampton: Adam Armstrong scores as Daniel Farke's Whites forced to settle for play-off place

Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Southampton at Elland Road on Saturday | Goals from Adam Armstrong and Will Smallbone force Daniel Farke's Whites to settle for a place in the play-offs

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Southampton.

Leeds' faint automatic promotion hopes were emphatically snuffed out on the Sky Bet Championship's final day as they slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton.

Saints striker Adam Armstrong's opener was cancelled out by Joel Piroe before Will Smallbone regained the lead for the visitors, who were worthy winners at Elland Road.

Leeds needed a win in their last game of the regular season and a home defeat for Ipswich against all-but relegated Huddersfield, but neither materialised and Daniel Farke's side must lift themselves out of a downward spiral in time for the play-offs.

They ended up six points adrift of Ipswich, who beat Huddersfield 2-0, after a fourth defeat in six matches and became the first second tier side since Sunderland in 1998 to finish on 90 points and not go up automatically.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Archie Gray of Leeds United looks dejected following the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Southampton FC at Elland Road on May 04, 2024 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Ed Sykes/Getty Images)

For impressive Southampton, who finished fourth, it was a timely return to form after three straight defeats and the two sides could yet meet again at Wembley later this month in the play-off final. For that to happen, Leeds must see off Norwich and Saints need to beat West Brom.

Leeds started like a team eager to put last Friday's damaging defeat at QPR behind them and Georginio Rutter's free-kick forced Alex McCarthy into flying early save.

But Southampton looked fluid breaking forward, despite making six changes after last week's home defeat to Stoke, and Elland Road fell silent when they took an 18th-minute lead.

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Leeds failed to clear Saints' first corner and Che Adams' low cross was turned home by the unmarked Armstrong for his 21st league goal of the season.

The home side's response was immediate though. Sam Byram drove deep into Saints' territory and when Willy Gnonto's cross was only half-cleared, Piroe smashed in the equaliser.

But Leeds continued to live dangerously, hacking clear a corner inches from their own goal-line before Byram's last-ditch tackle deflected Ryan Manning's fizzing goal-bound effort off target.

And the home side's soft underbelly was exposed again in the 35th minute.

Kyle Walker-Peters chased a long ball out near the corner flag, skipped round Junior Firpo and picked out Smallbone, who ran unchallenged into the box to fire his side back in front.

Gnonto pulled a low shot just wide as Leeds chased a second equaliser, but it could have been worse for the Whites when Taylor Harwood-Bellis headed Manning's free-kick against the crossbar before half-time.

Southampton substitute Ryan Fraser's curling effort had home fans holding their breath at the start of the second half as the visitors resumed full of confidence.

Leeds enjoyed their best spell of the match after a triple substitution of Archie Gray, Matteo Joseph and Jaidon Anthony - on for Glen Kamara, Rutter and Gnonto - with half an hour to go.

But they had only Crysencio Summerville's angled effort, parried by McCarthy, and a low wide effort from Anthony to show for a dominant spell of possession.

Play-off schedule

Semi-final first legs

Norwich vs Leeds (12pm) - Sunday May 12

West Brom vs Southampton (2.15pm) - Sunday May 12

Semi-final second legs

Leeds vs Norwich (8pm) - Thursday May 16

Southampton vs West Brom (8pm) - Friday May 17


Sunday May 26 (kick-off tbc)

The managers

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Daniel Farke's Leeds were forced to settle for play-off place after losing at home on the last day of the season.

Leeds' Daniel Farke told Sky Sports:

"We had one chance to go for it so we played man-to-man, opened the centre and pressed them. Normally Southampton are the best possession side in the league - today we had more possession because we wanted to go for it. If it was a normal game in the league we wouldn't have this approach but today it was worth the risk in order to go for it. We took the risk today but we weren't rewarded.

"Congratulations to Southampton but there was no other option today and for that I would judge this game completely differently to all of the 45 games before. I'm not too bothered and there's no criticising from my side.

"We have to say congratulations to Leicester and Ipswich, they fully deserve to be promoted. We fully deserve to be where we are, the third best team in this league on 90 points. Normally in any other season you go up automatically but in this special season perhaps one or two per cent we're not good enough to be better than Leicester and Ipswich. Right now a new competition starts and what happens before doesn't matter."

Southampton's Russell Martin:

"I really enjoyed lots of the performance.

"Some of the football we played was fantastic in the first half, maybe we could make more use of the openings we had.

"There was a bit of tension in the players after a tough week last week. Losing three on the bounce is not easy."

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