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Rafinha saves Leeds points in a thrilling draw with Everton | Premier League

Kickoff approaching, Rafa Benitez and his Everton The players became fierce and hundreds of Leeds fans emerged from almost stationary cars and coaches. Tired of waiting, they marched down the slip road leading from M621 to Elland Road, ignoring the flood of rain that soaked them into their skin and headed for the stadium.

For the first time since 2004, Elland Road welcomed a packed home. Premier League The game and no one wanted to ruin the afternoon that the highway congestion had long dreamed of. Once inside, the ground turned into a life-affirming noise wall as supporters waved the yellow flags distributed to show the opportunity.

Sure, 8,000 people won against West Brom in May, but this day was special after a pandemic lockout expelled the majority of supporters when Leeds finally returned to the top tier last year. It was a nice day.

“It was very moving to play in front of the fans again,” said Marcelo Bielsa. “It made us very happy.”

The breathtaking contest, choreographed by two of the best coaches of their generation, quickly eased the fear that football itself would be a reverse climax.

From time to time, the midfield seemed as crowded as the roads in West Yorkshire. Indeed, judging by the ferociousness of some tackles, the temper was at risk of overheating as badly as the engines of some cars were stuck in previous jams. At some point Jordan Pickford had to separate the fighting Jerry Mina and Patrick Bamford.

But when Dominic Calvert-Lewin ghosted into Liam Cooper’s blindside and Leeds captain was about to take off the striker’s shirt, Everton’s Demarai Gray’s outstanding performance was already toned. ..

Leeds’ first equalizer Mateushkrichslot. Photo: Mark Atkins / Getty Images

After relying on VAR, he was penalized for a bold short run-up. Calvert-Lewin’s kick evaded Illan Meslier’s reach.

Leeds supporters did not give in and raised the decibel level, and players responded with a great goal when Banford, who was otherwise often distracted, threw Michael Keane and offered Mateuschkrich a clever reverse pass. .. All that remained was for Klichi, who was placed in the hole in the 3-3-1-3 formation in Leeds, to accelerate into the area before sinking the ball over the moving Pickford.

The delicate chips seemed to symbolize the delicacy of Klichi’s play, which sacheted a surprisingly large gap between Everton’s midfield and central defenders. It’s no wonder Benitez spent most of the first half filling his notebook with apparently urgent observations. Initially, his side didn’t look completely comfortable by alternating between 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2.

However, Gray always seemed to be able to confuse Leeds’ game plans, and certainly former Bayer Leverkusen winger regained Everton’s lead early in the second half. After collecting fine passes from the increasingly influential Abdulje de Colle, he moved the ball to his less favored left foot and shot a wonderful low-angle shot over Meslier with an arrow, reminiscent of the opening. ..

“Everyone can see Demaray doing well,” Benitez said. “I’m really happy. I should have been able to win with a little more chance and control. But we were also under pressure from a really good team and had to fight for all the balls. . “

Leeds enjoyed considerable ownership, but Everton persistently threatened to counterattack. Sure, but for some good goalkeepers by Meslier, Calvert-Louis would have had a hat-trick by the time mark.

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This summer, the moment has come to remind everyone why Kalvin Phillips is so important to England. Leeds midfielder wasn’t disappointed as he threw a great ball into the area. Cooper left it to the previously isolated Rafinha, who finally took the spotlight and curled a gorgeous yet poisonous low-footed shot over the blind Pickford.

All that remained was for Bielsa and Benitez to share the warmest post-match pitchside chat.

Rafinha saves Leeds points in a thrilling draw with Everton | Premier League

Source link Rafinha saves Leeds points in a thrilling draw with Everton | Premier League

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