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Leeds 2-1 Middlesbrough: Report

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22 Dec 2012 17:31:21

Leeds 2-1 Middlesbrough: Report

Leeds 2-1 Middlesbrough: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.


Becchio run continues

In-form striker Luciano Becchio continued his impressive goal scoring record against Middlesbrough to help Leeds kick off their new era with a 2-1 win.

The day after GFH Capital confirmed their 100 per cent buyout of the Whites, Becchio scored either side of the break to cancel out Lucas Jutkiewicz's opener and earn his side a fifth win in six npower Championship games.

The 28-year-old took his tally for the season to 17 in the process - just three short of his best-ever return for the club - and improved his record against Boro to five in four games.

The former Barcelona B man still has 18 months to run on his contract at Elland Road but it is likely that manager Neil Warnock will be knocking on the door of his new bosses soon to try and arrange an extension as he looks to kickstart a promotion push in the new year.

In this form that looks likely for Leeds, although they still have a number of teams above them, including a Boro side who, with some better finishing from Jutkiewicz, could have been out of sight by the time the winner arrived.

With Leeds' new hierarchy in situ it looked as though their big day would be ruined by both the weather - the game was given the go ahead after two pitch inspections - and a Middlesbrough side who started the better.

They adapted the better to the conditions early on, with Scott McDonald fizzing a low strike just wide after 67 seconds and Jutkiewicz nodding over when he should have done better.

It took Leeds 20 minutes to get a sight of Middlesbrough's goal but when they did they thought they were ahead, with Sam Byram's downwards header from an El-Hadji Diouf free-kick looking in all the way until Team GB goalkeeper Jason Steele got down to somehow scoop it up.

That was about as good as it got for the Whites in the early stages, though, and with Boro quicker to almost everything, it was of no surprise when they took the lead 30 minutes in.

Diouf's lay-off was missed by all of his team-mates and allowed the visitors to pick up the ball, with Jutkiewicz racing through on Paddy Kenny's goal and drilling in a low strike which the keeper did well to save with his feet. Leeds were slow to the rebound, however, and Jutkiewicz picked it up and beat Kenny at his near post via a deflection off Alan Tate.

Leeds responded well to the goal and would have been level had Jerome Thomas squared to Diouf and not shot across goal, but the equaliser did come on the stroke of half-time, with Becchio half-volleying in via the angle of post and bar after Jonathan Woodgate failed to clean up Byram's cross.

It was perhaps slightly harsh on Middlesbrough, who had been the better side, and that carried on into the second half with Jutkiewicz turning Tate and breaking clear but failing to beat Kenny.

Regardless of his conversion rate, Jutkiewicz was getting at Kenny at will and as the hour approached he bore down on him again, this time foiled by the former QPR man's midriff as he again attacked the near post.

In a bid to shake things up, Leeds sent on South Africa striker Davide Somma for a first appearance since May 2011, but it was Becchio who remained their biggest threat and he duly proved why with 17 minutes left.

After his header from a Diouf cross was tipped over by Steele, he rose the highest from the resulting corner to beat the goalkeeper with another nod of his head, this one taking a deflection off former United defender Woodgate.

Boro's response was a frenzied one, with Emmanuel Ledesma nearly wrong-footing Kenny and even Steele going close from a corner, but Leeds hung on.



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