Leeds 1 – 1 Brighton

Pascal Struijk headed an injury-time equaliser to keep alive Leeds’ hopes of Premier League survival after a frenetic home draw with Brighton.

Jesse Marsch’s side toiled at a raucous Elland Road but looked to be edging nearer to relegation after Danny Welbeck coolly finished to give Brighton a deserved first-half lead.

But the home support defiantly roared Leeds on and Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez brilliantly denied Mateusz Klich in each half, while also turning away a Raphinha free-kick as pressure built.

Leeds striker Joe Gelhardt had gone close himself but his persistence was rewarded at the death when he bundled space in the area to lift a ball across goal, where substitute Struijk nodded home before diving into home supporters in celebration.

It means Leeds move a point above the bottom three with one game remaining, while Burnley drop to 18th but have two games to play and a substantially better goal difference.

Survival is still out of Leeds’ hands but the outpouring of emotion when Struijk – who came on in the 83rd minute – scored, underlined how there is still hope.

Everton – a point above Leeds – have three games to play and can lift themselves clear of trouble. But this scrappy Struijk header could prove priceless as it means Burnley now travel to Aston Villa on Thursday knowing a defeat would mean it is Leeds who have Premier League survival in their own hands on the final day.

In recent weeks, Marsch’s side have arguably fallen foul of playing with too much emotion. Red cards in a defeat at Arsenal and at home to Chelsea proved crucial and screamed of a side playing on the edge in their quest to secure top-flight status.

Again they played in a frenzied, sometimes desperate way here, forcing passes and snatching at openings with frequency as they found the target just five times with 19 shots on the day.

But, perhaps crucially, they called on the emotion of the day late on to snatch something, with Struijk on hand to break Brighton’s resistance.

It was what Leeds deserved for their second-half improvement and yet they had come close to being finished off moments earlier when Welbeck headed wide from six yards.

On such fine margins seasons can turn and Leeds can only hope this memorable late leveller will indeed prove significant.


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