MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 23:06:32
Nov 19, 2017 at 1.15pm UK at ​Elland Road
Attendance: 33,771
LeedsLeeds United
2-1
Middlesbrough
Hernandez (25'), Alioski (55')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Assombalonga (76' pen.)

Result: Leeds United hold on for crucial victory over Middlesbrough

Leeds United draw level on points with Middlesbrough in the Championship table thanks to a 2-1 win over their promotion rivals at Elland Road.

Leeds United have returned to winning ways in the Championship with a 2-1 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough at Elland Road.

The Whites opened up a two-goal lead as they went in search of a first victory on home soil in two months, only for Britt Assombalonga to pull one back from the spot in the final quarter of the match.

Despite a nervy conclusion, Leeds held on to pick up the three points required to draw level with their opponents in sixth place, keeping their playoff ambitions well and truly alive.

Boro felt that they should have had a penalty in a quiet start to the match, as Gaetano Berardi wrestled Assombalonga to the ground when attempting to defend a corner.

Stewart Downing then tested Andy Lonergan, given the nod today despite a shaky display at Brentford prior to the international break, with a long-range drive.

That would prove to be as good as things got for the Smoggies in the first half, however, as an out-of-form Leeds side slowly grew into the match.

From their first attempt of any note, Pablo Hernandez - brought to Elland Road by Garry Monk - blasted home at the front post after Kalvin Phillips flicked on Ezgjan Alioski's right-sided cross.

United, who had attempted the second-lowest number of shots on target prior to this weekend, saw Samuel Saiz and Liam Cooper prove wasteful from good positions as half time approached.

Not since the opening day of the season have the Smoggies managed fewer first-half shots on target, and it was not long before they found themselves with an even bigger goal margin to overcome.

Alioski had the simple tasking of helping the ball over the line at the back post following an inch-perfect delivery from Hernandez, 48 seconds after Boro youngster Marcus Tavernier rifled over the bar from a glorious position.

Tavernier then turned the ball wide at the front post as the visitors looked for a route back into the match, while Martin Braithwaite's shot deflected off Luke Ayling and onto the post.

Leeds were looking lively at the other end, though, themselves hitting the post through Saiz's 25-yarder after linking up with Ronaldo Vieira, and they really should have had a third moments later as Cooper nodded wide when left completely unmarked.

Downing and Assombalonga were the next to try their luck for the visiting side, neither managing to test Lonergan, but the North-East outfit did drag themselves back into things with 14 minutes to play.

In a bizarre incident, Ayling was penalised for grabbing the boot of Daniel Ayala, having being left aggrieved after his opponent dragged him to the floor seconds beforehand.

After discussing the incident with his linesman, referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot and Assombalonga converted following a lengthy delay to set up a tense finale in West Yorkshire.

Leeds successfully saw through eight minutes of added time, with Braithwaite's deflected attempt on the spin the closest Middlesbrough came to a leveller, meaning a losing return to Elland Road for former boss Garry Monk.

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General view at the Riverside Stadium ahead of the Premier League clash between Middlesbrough and Chelsea on November 20, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds27166546281854
2Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27155746281850
3Norwich CityNorwich27148549351450
4West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27138655352047
5Middlesbrough271210530191146
6Derby CountyDerby2712783834443
7Bristol City2711883429541
8Birmingham CityBirmingham2791263930939
9Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2791263931839
10Hull City27116103933639
11Queens Park RangersQPR27116103335-239
12Aston Villa2791174943638
13Swansea CitySwansea27107103632437
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn2791083541-637
15Stoke CityStoke2781183134-335
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2788113245-1332
17Brentford27710103937231
18Preston North EndPreston2779113944-530
19Wigan AthleticWigan2785142840-1229
20Millwall2777133343-1028
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham27510122542-1725
22Reading2758143041-1123
23Bolton WanderersBolton2757151840-2222
24Ipswich TownIpswich2739152246-2418

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