Leeds United suffer first away defeat under Bielsa
Leeds United's unbeaten away record was ended as two goals from corners undid them at Blackburn Rovers.
Mateusz Klich scored a fine goal for the Whites in first half injury-time and they enjoyed 68 per cent possession, but did not create enough clear chances for all their build-up play and missed a chance to go back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa recalled Gaetano Berardi and Kemar Roofe to his starting line-up for the trip across the Pennines with Pablo Hernandez on the bench.
He swapped both in positions during the first half after starting with Berardi at left-back going to the right and Roofe in the middle of attack until moved out wide - and that summed up Leeds’ uncertain first half.
They were one down from just the second minutes as one-time Leeds loanee Danny Graham headed home from Harrison Reed’s corner.
United responded as home keeper David Raya had to save well from Samuel Saiz and Pontus Jansson headed over from an Ezgjan Alioski corner.
Blackburn could have gone further in front when Bradley Dack found space in the United area only to be denied by a fine save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell who dashed off his line to make the crucial block.
Stuart Dallas saw a shot go just wide, but Adam Armstrong was a threat for the hosts with one goalbound shot being well blocked by Berardi and another going inches over.
Leeds began to look more like themselves towards the end of the half with one dangerous cross by Saiz dealt with by the home keeper and another resulting in an equaliser.
Berardi got on the end of the clever ball over the top of the home defence and on the half volley squared for Klich to score his fifth goal of the season.
Leeds were more dominant after the break, but again Blackburn defended well and on the break they created another chance with Armstrong getting on the end of a weak headed back pass by Berardi only to see his near post effort blocked by Peacock-Farrell.
Blackburn nudged ahead in the 70th minute as Darragh Lenihan powered in a header from a corner with Leeds’ marking found wanting again from a set piece.
Leeds almost responded straight away with Tyler Roberts’ volley from 25 yards out being saved.
The game opened up for an exciting finish as Dack volleyed wide from a free-kick played into the box for the hosts and young United substitute Jack Clarke almost made an instant impact, running past two players only to see his shot deflected over.
Armstrong had another shot saved by Peacock-Farrell while Berardi lashed a shot well over when well placed.
The closest Leeds came to an equaliser was when Saiz cleverly found Klich on the edge of the box and his curling shot looked destined for the top corner only for Raya to make a flying save.
Clarke looked to have the beating of Raya with a shot from the edge of the area, but his effort was cleared by a Blackburn defender.
Teenager Clarke then put in another shot in injury-time, but this was comfortably saved by Raya and Leeds’ game was up.
Blackburn Rovers 2
(Graham 2, Lenihan 70)
Leeds United 1
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Sky Bet Championship
Blackburn: Raya, Bennett, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell, Smallwood (Rodwell 58), Evans, Reed (Conway 69), Dack, Armstrong,Graham (Brereton 63).
Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Dallas (Clarke 76), Jansson, Cooper, Berardi (Shackleton 86), Phillips, Roofe (Hernandez 71), Klich, Saiz. Alioski, Roberts.
Referee: Darren England.