Leeds allows Villa to score uncontested goal in English game
LEEDS, England (AP) — Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructed his team to allow an opponent to score an uncontested goal amid extraordinary incidents in a key second-tier match in England on Sunday.
Leeds scored the opening goal against Aston Villa in its League Championship game while Villa had a man down injured. Leeds’ decision to not kick the ball out of play before the goal — to allow treatment for the player — sparked a series of on-field melees, during which Villa had Anwar El Ghazi sent off for violent conduct.
Bielsa, the Argentine coach, then told his players to let Villa equalize, leading to the bizarre sight of Albert Adomah running from halfway through the Leeds team and scoring into an empty net. Only defender Pontus Jansson tried to stop Adomah, attempting a swipe at the ball but missing it.
Bielsa then argued with Villa assistant manager John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, on the touchline.
The match finished 1-1, ending Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion and putting the team into the playoffs. Instead, Sheffield United joined Norwich in getting promoted.
“What happened, happened. And we behaved as we behaved,” Bielsa said. “That’s all I can say about something which is very clear.”
Asked if he had instructed his players to allow Villa’s equalizer in the interests of fair play or simply to help restore order, Bielsa said: “I don’t understand the difference. I don’t see any difference … You make a difference between fair play and the circumstances of the game, but for me it’s the same.
“English football is known around the world for its noble features of how we play.”