Leeds United 3 Norwich City 3: Whites’ play-offs bid effectively over after crazy draw

Leeds goalscorers Kyle Bartley and Chris Wood
Leeds goalscorers Kyle Bartley and Chris Wood
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LEEDS United’s bid to reach the Championship play-offs is effectively over after a crazy 3-3 draw with Championship visitors Norwich City at Elland Road.

The Canaries raced into a 3-0 lead as Steven Naismith fired home a 30-yard gem before Leeds were carved open twice in quick succession to allow Nelson Oliveira to net a brace.

Leeds now need a 13-goal swing on the final day to earn a play-off place

Leeds now need a 13-goal swing on the final day to earn a play-off place

Chris Wood then gave Leeds a glimmer of hope when volleying home from a Stuart Dallas cross in first half injury time and the comeback continued five minutes after the break when Kyle Bartley scrambled home from a corner.

Leeds incredibly drew level with 12 minutes left when Pablo Hernandez converted a delightful free-kick from 20 yards and Norwich ended the game with ten men after Naismith was shown a straight red card for nasty tackle on Ronaldo Vieira with two minutes left.

But Leeds were unable to find a winner and with Fulham drawing 1-1 with Brentford, the Whites stay three points behind the sixth-placed Cottagers but with a vastly inferior goal difference of 13 with one game left.

Norwich took the lead in the 28th minute when Naismith received the ball some 30 yards out and curled a beauty into the top left corner.

Pablo Hernandez scored to level the game 3-3 with a stunning freekick

Pablo Hernandez scored to level the game 3-3 with a stunning freekick

Things then went from bad to worse for Leeds six minutes later when Alex Pritchard released Josh Murphy whose square pass allowed Oliveira to volley home from close range.

Oliveira should have made it 3-0 just one minute later when the striker was released one on one but the forward fired an easy chance wide.

But there was no escaping a third Norwich goal in the 45th minute when Jonny Howson found Oliveira who curled home a precise finish into the far right corner.

The strike threatened to spark an Elland Road exodus but Leeds hit back within 60 seconds when a Dallas cross picked out Wood who volleyed home his 29th goal of the campaign.

Leeds captain Kyle Bartley scores from close range in the second half

Leeds captain Kyle Bartley scores from close range in the second half

United then pulled another goal back when a 50th-minute corner caused a mad scramble to which Bartley got the last touch.

Only a fine save by John Ruddy then kept out Kemar Roofe but Green was then forced into an equally good save to deny Pinto.

A crazy game then saw Pontus Jansson pick up his 15th yellow card of the season for a late tackle on Pritchard, landing the Swede an automatic three-game ban.

Green then produced a brilliant save to deny Oliveira a hat-trick before Mitchell Dijks walloped the rebound over the bar.

But Leeds amazingly drew level in the 78th minute when Hernandez curled home a superb free-kick before City’s Naismith was then shown a straight red card for a nasty tackle on Vieira with two minutes left.

Leeds were then given six minutes of stoppage time to bag a winner and nearly did so when Alfonso Pedraza’s cross found Bartley who bundled an effort just wide.

Leeds United: Green, Ayling (Pedraza 72), Bartley (c), Jansson, Berardi, O’Kane (Phillips 82), Vieira, Roofe, Dallas (Doukara 62), Hernandez, Wood. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Taylor, Coyle, Sacko.

Norwich City: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bennett, Dijks; Dorrans, Howson; Naismith, Pritchard, Jo Murphy (Klose 90); Oliveira (Jerome 83). Subs not used: Jones, Whittaker, Wildschut, Ja. Murphy, Maddison.

Referee: Tony Harrington.

Attendance: 34,292.

Leeds United fans show their willingness to show a sense of togetherness before Sunday's game against Middlesbrough. 
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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