Roofe caves in for Villa as they suc­cumb to epic Leeds come­back

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer - BEN FISHER at Villa Park

As­ton Villa 2 Abra­ham 5, Houri­hane 17 Leeds Utd 3 Clarke 56, Jans­son 61, Roofe 90

Ke­mar Roofe snatched vic­tory in stop­page-time to send Leeds United top of the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble at Christ­mas and com­plete an ex­traor­di­nary come­back af­ter As­ton Villa squan­dered a two-goal lead at Villa Park.

Just as it looked as though Villa would play the un­wel­come role of the Grinch, a su­perb se­cond-half ri­poste by Leeds earned Marcelo Bielsa’s side a sixth straight win af­ter vic­tory in an ex­hil­a­rat­ing en­counter.

Tammy Abra­ham and Conor Houri­hane saw Villa race into the lead in­side 16 min­utes, but the sub­sti­tute Jack Clarke pow­ered home be­fore goals by Pon­tus Jans­son, and then Roofe – with 90 sec­onds to play – sealed a mem­o­rable win.

The turn­around was suf­fi­cient for Leeds to de­throne Nor­wich City off the sum­mit of the Cham­pi­onship.

This was a topsy-turvy game, played at a fre­netic pace. Abra­ham swept his 13th goal of the sea­son into the roof of the net af­ter a teas­ing ball by Houri­hane and Villa as­sumed con­trol, when the Repub­lic of Ire­land mid­fielder ar­rowed a sweet strike into the cor­ner of Bai­ley Pea­cock-Far­rell’s netl.

Bielsa was baf­fled but the coach sum­moned the lively Clarke, who made the de­sired im­pact 11 min­utes af­ter the break. He sashayed into the area be­fore find­ing the far cor­ner of Ør­jan Ny­land’s goal.

That goal gave Leeds a new lease of life and a new­found be­lief and, when Pablo Hernán­dez whipped in an invit­ing cor­ner, Jans­son rose high­est, above James Chester and Alan Hut­ton, to nod in a lev­eller.

An en­thralling game, in front of a sell­out crowd, wit­nessed a fran­tic fin­ish, with Roofe hav­ing the fi­nal say. – Guardian

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