Leeds United vs Nottingham Forest. Sky Bet Championship.
Pablo Hernandez opened the scoring for Leeds with his second goal of the season with an hour gone
Saturday 10 August 2019 19:06, UK
Leeds were denied the chance to continue their perfect start to the season as Lewis Grabban's controversial bundled finish secured a 1-1 draw for Nottingham Forest.
Just months after their play-off heartbreak against Derby last term, it was a difficult return for Marcelo Bielsa's team, though they managed to get their noses in front when Pablo Hernandez rifled home after Mateusz Klich's flick (59).
But against the run of play, Grabban bundled home with 13 minutes to play, following a goalmouth scramble. Replays, however, later suggested the striker had fouled Leeds defender Liam Cooper in the build-up to the goal.
Leeds: Casilla (6), Dallas (7), White (7), Cooper (7), Douglas (7), Phillips (6), Hernandez (7), Forshaw (6), Klich (7), Harrison (7), Bamford (5)
Subs: Alioski (5), Costa (6)
Nottingham Forest: Muric (6), Cash (7), Dawson (7), Worrall (7), Robinson (7), Watson (6), Adomah (5), Silva (5), Semedo (7), Lolley (6), Grabban (7)
Subs: Sow (6), Ameobi (5), Mir (n/a)
Man of the match: Alfa Semedo
Boos rang around Elland Road at full-time, with fiery reactions from both players and fans alike; Forest, though, avoided starting the season with a second successive defeat for the first since 1971.
It was a dominant showing in a high-octane start from the hosts; Adam Forshaw saw penalty appeals waved away after a challenge from Alfa Semedo, while Kalvin Phillips tested the water with a 20-yard drive that Aro Muric pushed round the post.
With 25 minutes on the clock, Bielsa's men almost executed route one football to perfection when Ben White fizzed a long ball over to Patrick Bamford, though the forward's heavy touch made Muric's flicked save simpler at his near post.
As had been the case in Forest's opening day defeat to West Brom, Grabban had been left isolated in attack. The lack of a first-half shot didn't matter too much, though; the defensive display from the visitors kept Leeds at bay.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa and Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi both named unchanged sides for the second weekend of the season. Carl Jenkinson appeared on the Forest bench after signing permanently from Arsenal this week, with Matty Cash continuing at right-back.
Often maligned for his wastefulness, Bamford passed up two chances to break the deadlock in quick succession - hitting the bar and chipping wide of the onrushing Muric's framework.
The ever-exciting Hernandez roused the anxious home crowd when he crashed the opener, but the joy was short-lived, as Grabban bundled home the scrappy equaliser to secure the draw.
Just as we probably haven't seen the best of Forest yet, we haven't seen the full potential of Alfa Semedo just yet, though the Bissau-Guinean midfielder is coping very well with the demands of the Championship.
The 21-year-old - who is on a season-long loan from Benfica - has looked competent in both boxes so far, with his tackle to thwart Barry Douglas in the first-half - and subsequent fist pump - a sure sign of things to come.
Marcelo Bielsa: "We lost two points so we are disappointed with the result, but the team is growing and not losing the ball easily. We didn't receive counter-attacks today. They (Forest) scored from a corner which we gave away.
"We had a lot of chances to put the ball in the box from the sides. We had players in the box waiting for the ball. But of course this is something that we can improve."
Sabri Lamouchi: "To play probably the best team in the league wasn't easy, so I'd like to praise my players. Leeds have a lot of quality but they missed some of the passes to finish and to open the goal. Of course if they score quickly, especially here, then it would have been very difficult for us.
"After they scored, my players came back so congratulations to them. We changed a little bit and it worked. There are a lot of positive things. We have a lot of new players, a new manager and there's not been much time. So to find the right way and to prepare the best way, we know it will be really tough for us to start with."
Both sides are in Carabao Cup first-round action this Tuesday; Sabri Lamouchi's Forest host Fleetwood Town at the City Ground, while Leeds face Salford City away, in a game live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm.