Blackburn stun Leeds with late winner in huge Championship title twist

Sammie Szmodics scored an 82nd-minute winner to stun title-chasing Leeds and give Blackburn a priceless 1-0 win in the latest Championship promotion race twist.

Leeds would have moved top with a win or a draw after rivals Leicester suffered a shock defeat at Plymouth on Friday night, yet the Whites failed to score for the second time this week despite dominating at Elland Road.

Blackburn goalkeeper Aynsley Pears made several fine saves to keep Leeds out although the hosts had Illan Meslier to thank for denying Szmodics in the first half before right-back Connor Roberts stopped a certain Rovers goal in the second period.

However, Szmodics was not to be denied his 30th goal of the season, punishing Leeds’ wasteful attack and capitalising on a rare opening with a smart finish to dent Leeds’ promotion hopes.

Leeds remain third, a point behind second-placed Ipswich and leaders Leicester, while Blackburn are now six points above the bottom three.

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Watch Sammie Szmodics stun Leeds with his winner for Blackburn

How Blackburn stunned Leeds

Leeds were on the front foot from the off as Joel Piroe’s shot was deflected for a corner. Hayden Carter tripped Crysencio Summerville and his free-kick from a narrow angle was saved by Pears, who also punched away the follow-up shot from Gnonto from the edge of the area.

Ethan Ampadu headed a Roberts free-kick off target as Leeds kept up the pressure with nearly half an hour on the clock before Ilia Gruev’s near-post shot from Gnonto’s low cut back did not trouble Pears.

Wilfried Gnonto tangles with Sammie Szmodics
Wilfried Gnonto tangles with Sammie Szmodics

Roberts was the next to test the Rovers ‘keeper with a curling shot from outside the area which he saved high to his left at the expense of a corner.

Szmodics forced Meslier into action for the first time from a Blackburn breakaway with the goalkeeper diving low to his left to keep out the shot, five minutes before the break.

Gruev fired at Pears with the first effort of the second half after Joe Rodon’s vital interception and surging run. Blackburn frustrated the hosts throughout by slowing the game down and Leeds began to crack when Meslier’s throw was intercepted and Joe Rankin-Costello fired wide.

Blackburn sensed a chance and Szmodics crossed low from the right but Roberts’ outstanding interception stopped Tyrhys Dolan from tapping in.

Callum Brittain is chased by Junior Firpo and Ilia Gruev
Callum Brittain is chased by Junior Firpo and Ilia Gruev

Georginio Rutter’s shot into a crowded area saw Pears dive low to his left and then claim the loose ball before the goalkeeper parried from Junior Firpo’s header and substitute Dan James shot wide.

Patrick Bamford headed over just moments after coming on as Leeds cranked up the pressure and they were made to pay when Szmodics struck the decisive blow eight minutes from time.

Sam Gallagher nodded on Pears’ kick, Dolan turned and released his team-mate who finished coolly past Meslier.

The managers

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Leeds boss Daniel Farke says his side tried everything in their defeat to Blackburn.

Leeds’ Daniel Farke:

To follow…

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Blackburn boss John Eustace says his team showed their character and togetherness in the 1-0 win over Leeds.

Blackburn’s John Eustace:

To follow…

Szmodics: We showed character

Blackburn match winner Sammie Szmodics told Sky Sports:

“No surprises for us really. Everyone doubted us coming here. We knew we needed a reaction and we got a good one.

“It’s a really tough place to come, we showed character, a great reaction and we left with a well-deserved three points.

“It’s great play from Ty, I thought he left it too late but it was a great pass. It’s my job to stick the ball in the net and thankfully I’ve done it again today.”

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