Swansea 0-1 Leeds: Pablo Hernandez’s late strike sinks hosts and sees visitors extend their lead over West Brom to three points at the top of the championship table as promotion opportunities move closer for Marcelo Bielsa’s men
- Pablo Hernandez came home for Leeds to complete a tight game against Swansea
- He converted Luke Ayling’s low cross and was soon overrun by his teammates
- Leeds is now just four points away from guaranteeing a return from the Premier League
- They are now three points away from West Brom with three games to go
There will be no greater tribute to Leeds to the late great Jack Charlton than the club returning to the Premier League as champions. Pablo Hernandez’s late goal here has practically brought them there.
Former Swansea man Hernandez arranged this tight but entertaining game in Leeds’ favor and the celebrations at his winner told their own story. Hernandez was swallowed by his teammates after converting Luke Ayling’s low cross. Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff ran along the sidelines.
The bare Liberty Stadium houses the enthusiastic owners of the club and the board members were very enthusiastic. It is certainly not now when Leeds returns to the top flight for the first time since 2004 and this win means they will likely do it as champions.
Pablo Hernandez’s 89th minute winner brought Leeds closer to the Premier League promotion
The Spaniard slipped home from Luke Ayling’s low cross to go three points ahead of West Brom
Leeds is now only four points from their return to the Premier League
They are now three points away from West Brom with three games to play. Leeds’ imminent promotion is an achievement where Charlton, the 1966 World Cup winner in England, who died on Friday night at the age of 85 after a long illness, would have smiled. Charlton made a club record of 773 appearances for Leeds over a 23-year period and became one of the greatest center-backs of all time in the game.
An unchanged Leeds squad warmed up with ‘RIP big Jack’ shirts, while both teams wore black bracelets and held a minute of silence in memory of Charlton.
Leeds eagerly started out in the Swansea sun, but it was the hosts who got the first handful of opportunities. Rhian Brewster fired at goal, Conor Gallagher’s attempt was blocked and Connor Roberts came over from the right.
Patrick Bamford was guilty of missing a few chances in a tight game against Swansea
The hosts themselves were a threat at Liberty Stadium, with Stuart Dallas testing the keeper
Leeds knew they were in a match and some of their momentum had stalled from the first booze break that arrived just after Kyle Naughton nearly brought in his own net.
Stuart Dallas’ deflected shot from range worked Freddie Woodman into Swansea’s goal, while Woodman was back on hand minutes later to deny Patrick Bamford, who should have scored.
Swansea (3-4-3): Woodman (Mulder 90 + 4 ‘); Naughton, Cabango, Guehi (Celina 90 + 1 ‘); Roberts, Fulton (Byers 90 + 1 ‘), Grimes, Bidwell (Cullen 90 + 1’); Ayew, Gallagher, Brewster (Routledge 81 ‘)
Subs not used: van der Hoorn, Dyer, Kalulu, Dhanda
Booked: Fulton, Brewster
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas (Alioski 45 ‘); Phillips; Helder Costa (Shackleton 90 + 3 ‘), Klich, Roberts (Hernandez 45’), Harrison (Berardi 90 + 6 ‘); Bamford
Subs not used: Douglas, Poveda-Ocampo, Miazek, Struijk, Bogusz,
Booked: Klich, Hernandez, Harrison
Goals: Hernandez 89 ‘
Referee: Keith Stroud
Star man: Pablo Hernandez
Even without fans, there was a lot of blood and thunder about the clash with Keith Stroud who made three quick bookings. “Be strong, Keith,” Swansea head coach Steve Cooper shouted from the sidelines as the errors piled up in a 45-minute goalless opening.
Leeds introduced Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski in the second half. Clearly, Bielsa was not happy with what he had seen before the break and his repeated shouts of “again, again!” while encouraging his players echoed through the empty Liberty Stadium.
At one point, even Bielsa’s cup of tea went flying halfway, he frustrated. He did have the right to be concerned. Promising Chelsea youngster Gallagher rode on goal and released a powerful shot that needed to be saved. He then received a cross from Marc Guehi.
The cut and thrust of the first half continued into the second with a noticeable advantage over the game. Alioski and Andre Ayew clattered in the billboards. Charlton would have been a big fan of blood and thunder. On the hour, Woodman marked his exploits to deny Leeds again.
Jack Harrison’s volleyed cross found Bamford and his low, curved head was spectacularly saved by Woodman. Still, Bamford knows he should have scored. A garden on both sides and it was a goal.
At the time, it seemed that Leeds should settle for a run and that would have been a reasonable result. However, the talented Hernandez had other ideas when he stabbed the knife in his old team.
With Swansea exhausting and a minute of normal time left, Ayling came over from the right and checked Hernandez before driving past Woodman trying to enter the post.
Hernandez ran away and was booked because he had taken off his shirt amid the delirium, not that he, Leeds or Bielsa cared.
But it was Marcelo Bielsa’s men who showed a bit more energy and were eventually rewarded
Both sets of players paid their respects to Jack Charlton before starting at Liberty Stadium