Brentford 2 Leeds United 0: Milanic reign starts with defeat

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Darko Milanic’s reign as Leeds United head coach began with a disappointing defeat at Brentford.

A goal from Spaniard Jota deep into first-half stoppage time and a late Alan McCormack effort ended Leeds’ run of four games without defeat and gave Brentford the points at Griffin Park.

Jota struck from close-range as United owner Massimo Cellino, who appointed Milanic on Tuesday night, looked on from the front of the away end.

Cellino joined United’s travelling crowd midway through the first half, climbing into the stands along with sporting director Nicola Salerno, but an away following of 1,600 were left deflated by a deserved defeat - despite another impressive performance from goalkeeper Marco Silvestri.

Silvestri’s display kept the scoreline down but he was beaten again on 77 minutes by a deflected McCormack finish.

Milanic made two changes to United’s line-up but did not sway massively from the formation left to him by Neil Redfearn, employing a diamond midfield.

United contested an even game for 20 minutes but became increasingly deep and passive as Brentford forced the pace of the game.

The hosts were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute after ex-Leeds player Jonathan Douglas broke from deep and threaded a pass to Andre Gray who drew a late tackle from Jason Pearce.

Pearce was booked for the foul but James Tarkowski wasted Brentford’s spot-kick with a woeful finish which sailed over the crossbar.

Silvestri kept the match goalless with saves from Alan Judge, Moses Odubajo and Douglas but he could do nothing in the first minute of injury-time when Jota ghosted in behind Milanic’s defence, stepped away from his marker and lashed the ball high into the net.

United created only a couple of half-chances before half-time and shots from Alex Mowatt and Rodolph Austin were easily held by keeper David Button.

Pearce almost snatched an equaliser six minutes into the second half, rising to meet Mowatt’s free-kick with a header which Button pushed away, but another good save from Silvestri repelled Gray’s low shot on the hour.

The Italian keeper was involved again on 65 minutes, diving to keep out Odubajo’s header with one hand as Leeds struggled to defend a corner, and his parry from substitute Marco Tebar kept the game alive but he could do nothing when McCormack broke away and found the net with the help of a flick off Pearce’s foot.

Brentford: Button, McCormack, Tarkowski, Craig, Bidwell, Douglas, Odubajo, Pritchard (Tebar 74), Judge, Jota (Proschwitz 74), Gray (Diagouraga 80) . Subs (not used): Bonham, Toral, Dean, Betinho.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Bellusci, Warnock, Austin, Cook (Tonge 80), Bianchi (Murphy 85), Mowatt (Sloth 66), Doukara, Antenucci. Subs (not used): S Taylor, Cooper, Wootton, Morison.

Leeds may find former forward Steve Morison a bit of a handful when Millwall come to town.

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