Norwich City 2 Leeds United 3: Vieira strikes late to put Whites into Championship play-offs

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RONALDO VIEIRA’S fierce strike in the 91st minute gave Leeds United a sensational 3-2 victory at Norwich City as Garry Monk’s rapidly improving Whites moved into the Championship’s top six.

Leeds squandered plenty of chances to take an early lead and were made to pay in the 24th minute when Robbie Brady’s looping header gave the Canaries a 1-0 lead from Alex Pritchard’s right wing corner.

But Leeds levelled in very similar circumstances three minutes before the hour when Pontus Jansson’s looping header from a corner on the same flank sailed over Michael McGovern to make it 1-1.

Leeds then brilliantly took the lead with 16 minutes remaining when superb work from Hadi Sacko and Luke Ayling presented an opening for Chris Wood to hammer the ball home from eight yards.

Norwich looked dead and buried but the Canaries hit back to net an 88th-minute equaliser when substitute Kyle Lafferty slammed the ball home from inside the box.

But incredibly Leeds then bagged the game’s winning goal in the first added minute when Vieira let fly from 25 yards and saw his effort fly into the bottom corner.

How it stands: Leeds United into Championship play-offs

Norwich came flying out of the traps at a noisy Carrow Road with Whites keeper Rob Green having to rush towards the edge of his box to gather a long ball for Cameron Jerome.

From a third minute Norwich corner, Graham Dorrans then thumped an effort just wide of Green’s left hand post.

But Leeds then hit back with two dangerous attacks of their own with a lovely Hernandez through ball just failing to find Kemar Roofe.

Hernandez and Roofe were then involved again in another threatening move down the left wing but Norwich managed to scramble the ball clear.

And an even better Whites chance presented itself in the ninth minute when a left wing cross from Souleymane Doukara offered a free header for Chris Wood who misdirected his effort and allowed the Canaries to clear, just when Roofe looked to tuck away the loose ball.

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Moments later, Roofe fired an effort high and wide but Leeds then got themselves in a right pickle in the 11th minute when Pontus Jansson and Green left a loose ball for each other.

Dorrans was left with an empty net from range but Kalvin Phillips made a crucial block before Jansson then dispossessed Jerome as he looked to bury the rebound.

But as part of a hectic start, Leeds then again went close when Kyle Bartley headed wide from a Pablo Hernandez free-kick.

And as part of a very bright start from Leeds, a powerful effort from Kalvin Phillips was then tipped wide by Michael McGovern for a corner from which Wood’s header was also beaten away by the Canaries keeper.

Leeds could and should have been 1-0 up but Norwich continued to threaten too and Luke Ayling made a crucial block to keep out a goal-bound effort from Russell Martin.

Norwich then looked destined to score in the 23rd minute when a through ball from Dorrans took a deflection to leave the ball loose in the area as Martin Olsson closed in but Jansson booted the ball behind for a corner.

But it was from that 24th-minute corner that Norwich took the lead with Alex Pritchard’s delivery finding Brady whose looping header crept into the corner past a despairing Green who got a hand to the attempt but not enough to keep it out.

The goal unsurprisingly boosted the home side’s confidence and Pritchard’s powerful effort on the half hour mark was blocked by Bartley.

Two minutes later, Bartley again produced another crucial block to keep out a stinging effort from Wes Hoolahan.

And Bartley was again to the rescue one minute later when Louis Thompson zoomed down the left wing and hammered over a low cross which the Swansea City loanee hacked away for a corner.

Leeds chances were now few and far between with a tame effort from Wood easily saved by McGovern.

But a second Norwich goal looked imminent and Pritchard then headed over after a deep right-flank cross from Tim Klose.

Leeds attempted to rally and a stinging effort from Roofe was batted away by McGovern.

Roofe then danced his way into the area from the left side but Norwich were able to crowd the winger out and clear and also deal with United’s first corner shortly before half time.

Whites head coach Garry Monk resisted any temptation to make changes at half-time and Leeds almost equalised two minutes after the restart.

A fine right-flank cross from Hernandez presented Roofe with a free header but his effort flashed just wide.

The header proved Roofe’s last meaningful act with the winger having collided heads with Ryan Bennett for the chance and appearing to suffer concussion.

Roofe was withdrawn for Hadi Sacko in the 55th minute and Sacko immediately threatened when racing into the area at an angle and delivering a low cross which was hacked away for a corner.

And it was from that 57th-minute corner that Leeds equalised as a lovely delivery from Hernandez was pounced upon by Jansson whose looping header sailed over McGovern and into the far corner in a similar manner to Brady’s opener for Norwich.

Two thousand travelling Whites fans went wild and there was little immediate response from Norwich who were presented with a free-kick 25 yards out just after the hour.

Brady’s low effort was easily saved by Green and more threatening was a low drive from Pritchard four minutes later that Ayling crucially blocked.

The game was set for a grandstand finish and Phillips went close to putting Leeds ahead in the 67th minute but his fierce effort was beaten away by McGovern.

At the other end, Jansson was in the right place at the right time to clear as Martin surged in on goal down the right flank.

But Norwich continued to look shaky at the back and Hernandez squandered a decent chance in the 71st minute after being fed by Wood with the Spaniard’s effort from the edge of the area held by McGovern.

Norwich hit back with Pritchard forcing a diving save from Green and Monk then brought on Kalvin Phillips for Doukara.

And within one minute of the change United brilliantly took the lead when Sacko fed Ayling who produced a fine cut back for Wood to smash the ball home into the roof of the net from eight yards.

Home chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” greeted Canaries boss Alex Neil and the hosts squandered a chance to level in the 77th minute when Pritchard’s free kick from the edge of the box was easily dealt with by Green.

Substitute Jacob Murphy then lobbed a decent effort just over the bar with eight minutes left.

At the other end, United’s faithful then thought they had gone 3-1 up when Wood’s powerful hit rippled the side netting.

But instead the net was to bulge at the other end with just one minute left when Hoolahan’s cross was chested down by Jerome into the path of Lafferty who smashed the ball home past Green at an angle.

Norwich then looked the most likely to bag a winning goal as the fourth official held up the board for seven minutes of injury time.

But incredibly Leeds then bagged the game’s winning goal in the first added minute when Vieira let fly from 25 yards and saw his effort fly into the bottom corner.

Norwich had six more minutes to save themselves but it was Leeds who should have scored the game’s sixth goal through Sacko who failed to finish off a 95th-minute counter attack.

It didn’t matter, as Norwich failed to fashion a further chance as United recorded a sensational victory to move into the Championship’s top six.

Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Taylor, O’Kane, Phillips, Roofe (Sacko 54), Doukara (Vieira 71), Hernandez (Grimes 89), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Cooper, Berardi, Antonsson.

Norwich City: McGovern; Martin (c), Bennett, Klose, Olsson; Thompson; Brady (Jacob Murphy 74), Dorrans, Hoolahan, Pritchard (Lafferty 83); Jerome. Subs not used: Ruddy, Bassong, Naismith, Oliveira, Josh Murphy.

Referee: Andy Davies.

Attendance: 26,903.

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