Goals from Raphinha and Jack Harrison gave a spirited Leeds United a 2-1 win over Brentford, guaranteeing their Premier League status for another season.
The game demanded a big performance from Leeds United, and Jesse Marsch’s side duly delivered. Goals from Raphinha and Jack Harrison helped them secure their Premier League status for another season, consigning Burnley to relegation.
Leeds went into the game knowing that they had to outdo Burnley on the day. They got off to a nervous start as Ivan Toney was almost played in by Diego Llorente within the first ten seconds. Thankfully for Leeds, it did not come back to bite them.
Joe Gelhardt put Leeds ahead midway through the first half, only for an offside call to cut short the visiting fans’ celebrations. But they were given an immediate reason to continue cheering as Newcastle United took the lead against Burnley at Turf Moor.
Leeds were handed a penalty of their own in the second half after Raphinha was brought down by David Raya. The Brazilian made no mistake from the spot to hand the visitors a much-needed goal. Sergi Canos drew Brentford level in the 78th minute before getting himself sent off two minutes later.
👊 This. Team. Never. Gives. Up. pic.twitter.com/Xf00JZHFG3
— Leeds United (@LUFC) May 22, 2022
A point would have been enough for Leeds, given Burnley’s 2-1 loss at home to Newcastle United. Jack Harrison put the result beyond doubt with a stoppage-time winner that cemented Leeds’s status as a Premier League club. It is fair to say that the Whites turned up when their fans needed them the most. The Hard Tackle now looks at how the Leeds United players fared on the night.
Illan Meslier: 7/10
The young Frenchman has enjoyed a mixed season but was assured in what was a do or die game for his side. Meslier kept things simple at the back and was at hand to make routine saves. He was also impactful with the ball at his feet and made use of his good distribution to kickstart attacks.
Robin Koch: 5/10
The German was played out of position at right-back and was responsible for Brentford’s equaliser. Thankfully, it did not cost Leeds dearly on Sunday. Koch did struggle at times, but in the end, he was able to see the game out without too many errors.
Diego Llorente: 6/10
Llorente must have had his heart in his mouth when Ivan Toney latched onto a weak back pass in the starting moments of the game. To his credit, he recovered well to stop the Brentford star from putting his side ahead in the first 10 seconds of the game. He was largely dependable otherwise and did not take any more undue risks.
Liam Cooper: 5/10
The veteran did a good job of keeping a tight lid on Toney. But it was far from easy sailing as Cooper struggled in the first half, making numerous mistakes. He was less than assured after the break as well, but Brentford failed to take advantage of it. He should have done better to stop Canos from scoring Brentford’s equaliser.
Junior Firpo: 7/10
The left-back has had his share of howlers this season but rose to the occasion on Sunday. He won several tackles and made quite a few interceptions while keeping Bryan Mbuemo in his pocket. Brentford found little joy on their right flank thanks to the Leeds defender.
Kalvin Phillips: 8/10
— James Marshment (@marshyleeds) May 22, 2022
The English international was the lone defensive player in the Leeds central midfield and performed his duties with conviction. Phillips held his own against Brentford’s probing attacks and stopped several moves in their tracks.
His distribution was also top-notch as he also served as an orchestrator of sorts. Phillips also showed good awareness in bringing down Christian Eriksen in the 82nd minute to prevent a Brentford breakaway and also pick up a yellow card in the process.
Sam Greenwood: 7.5/10
Primarily an attacker, Jesse March made the bold call to give the youngster his full debut in midfield. Greenwood was unfazed by the situation and gave a really good account of his attributes as a top-flight footballer.
He was not afraid to get stuck in and showed good communication with Phillips to help Leeds win the midfield battle. Greenwood also got forward when possible and made use of his vision to thread through some good passes.
This photo of Raphinha celebrating with the Leeds fans 💛 pic.twitter.com/5dArZeAXwQ
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 22, 2022
The Brazilian was not a consistent threat on Sunday but showed flashes of his brilliance and game-changing ability. He won the penalty in the second half and gave Leeds the lead from the spot. It remains to be seen if Raphinha has just played his last game for the Whites.
Rodrigo Moreno: 4/10
It was a poor outing for the Spaniard, who looked lost without Patrick Bamford by his side. He did not particularly threaten the Brentford goal much and also squandered a good opportunity to score in the second half.
Jack Harrison: 6.5/10
Harrison did derive some joy on the left flank and got the better of Kristoffer Ajer on several occasions. A handful on the day, he scored one of Leeds’s most important Premier League goals in stoppage time to guarantee their status in the top flight for another season.
Leeds United's results when Jack Harrison scores
— Jonny Cooper (@JRCooper26) May 22, 2022
Joe Gelhardt: 6/10
He struggled to hold the ball up at times but was willing to make runs into the channels and draw the Brentford players out of position. Gelhardt looked to have given Leeds the lead in the first half only to see it get chalked off for offside. He fell off in the second half and gave away the ball too many times.
Pascal Struijk: 6/10
Struijk came on for a tiring Gelhardt in the 70th minute and did his best to steady the ship. He failed to do much of note and kept things simple.
Mateusz Klich: N/A
The defensive midfielder came on for Greenwood in the 85th minute as Leeds sought more control in midfield. Klich steadied the ship and ensured that the visitors came away with all three points.