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Match Reports

City edged out by Leeds in tight match

16 December 2017

Pontus Jansson's first-half header was the difference as Norwich City were beaten 1-0 by Leeds United at Elland Road.

Jansson headed home Pawel Cibicki's free-kick on 41 minutes but City had their chances to equalise, especially in the second half when Alex Pritchard clipped the crossbar from distance.

With boss Daniel Farke keen to carry forward the momentum that last weekend’s win over Sheffield Wednesday produced, he only made one change to his starting eleven from that game, bringing in Marley Watkins for Josh Murphy. There was a spot for Alex Tettey on the bench as he made his comeback after a two-month injury absence.

The opening half-an-hour was relatively uneventful with both sides comfortable defensively. The best chances for City came when Pritchard curled a weak effort into the arms of Felix Wiedwald on 17 minutes and Ivo Pinto, who drew his shot across goal from the right eight minutes later.

Leeds began to grow into the match in the final 15 minutes of the first half and the set-piece deliveries of Cibicki and Ezgian Alioski began to cause City problems. On 40 minutes, Kalvin Phillips diverted Alioski’s effort onto the post but then moments later, Cibicki crossed for Jansson who guided his glancing header in off the woodwork to give Leeds the advantage.

City responded well to going behind and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after Jansson appeared to have manhandled Nelson Oliveira in the penalty area following an Ivo Pinto cross. The strong appeals were waved away by referee Darren England.

Shortly after, Oliveira was in the thick of the action again after being denied by Wiedwald’s strong hand from a curling long-range effort. The rebound fell kindly for James Maddison but he lashed the ball over from close-range.

City emerged with a lot more purpose at the start of the second half and could have easily been level. Watkins was set free on the left and his deep cross eventually found Pritchard whose powerful effort was well kept out by Wiedwald. The follow-up from Harrison Reed on the half-volley fizzed just inches over the crossbar.

Leeds stemmed the flow of City pressure and had chances of their own shortly after. First, Samuel Saiz forced Gunn into action at his near post on 62 minutes before Kalvin Phillips flashed a long-range effort wide of goal moments later.

However, City then began to have the better of proceedings and came within inches of equalising on 72 minutes. Pritchard managed to spin on the edge of the box and create some room but he was incredibly unlucky with his dipping strike as it clipped the woodwork.

The same man had a strike beaten away by Wiedwald shortly after but City received a huge let-off on 82 minutes after Grant Hanley’s backpass was seized upon by Saiz. The Spaniard only had Gunn to beat but he hit the post when it looked easier to score.

Watkins and Pritchard both missed the target from range in the final ten minutes but it was the hosts who emerged victorious from a closely-fought encounter in Yorkshire.

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