RAPHINHA ended the night of high concern for Marcelo Bilsa with the best spot-kick winners.
VAR’s decision for a handball against Mark Guhey after referee Kevin Friend had given Leeds only a corner allowed Brazil three minutes into stoppage time.
Amidst the wild appeal of Bilsa’s men, he was persuaded to go on the TV monitor.
And the roar of relief when he changed his mind was only better than the sound of relief when the ball hit the net.
Yet it all could have gone terribly wrong for Bilsa and his men before the Eagles could snatch the victory instead.
With 16 minutes to go, Wilfried Zaha pushed the ball over the top of the box from left to right and Christian Benteke found himself unmarked from ten yards away but somehow went wide.
Soon he could score again for the Eagles as the tension got to Liam Cooper.
The land Rode captain allowed a cross from Jordan Ayew to fly in front of him and, accidentally surprised, the giant Belgian could only put his foot out in a sign attempt.
But his contact with the ball was so soft that Ilan Meslier, caught by Cooper’s mistake, had to make a sharp dive to stop it on the line.
No one, and certainly not Vieira’s players, were the least bit surprised that White went to hammer and tongs from the start.
It was BLSA buzzbomb mode, all-action, all-movement, amidst the sound and fury of a full house on Elland Road.
Rafinha whistled a shot and Calvin Phillips proceeded to fire a strike lash just above the bar.
Twice Dan James cut off the left but saw his efforts blocked.
The Welsh winger would have done better in his attempt to control the ball that was driven across the box by Stuart Dallas.
And as the Hurricanes began to lose their power, Palace realized that having lost their seven-game unbeaten record against Aston Villa over the weekend, they were intent on proving that the run was only a stumbling block.
Vieira has given him ambition and above all, attitude. His direct approach made this clear.
Each time he gained possession he ran straight into the center of the home defense.
Ayu fluttered a few hearts within Messlier’s chest with a driving strike.
So did Jeffrey Schlup, whose dart forward and shot forced the keeper into action.
Conor Gallagher’s hard work on the left side also took the pressure off and his determination to keep the ball in place impressed England head coach Gareth Southgate.
The 21-year-old on loan from Chelsea, who was given his first cap by Southgate against San Marino last month, received a body check and a hug from Leeds Cooper, who should have been yellow from a ref friend.
Seconds later Gallagher was named in the referee’s book as he sought vengeance in the form of Rafinha.
Bielsa’s players began to tighten as the match progressed and so were the majority of the crowd.
But by the end of the first half, with the knowledge that they had won just one home love game so far this season, the supporters were as fast as the team.
Bielsa replaced Pascal Struijk with Firpo and Mateusz Klich with Rodrigo at the start of the second half.
But Palace started right where they left off, putting pressure on and Firpo’s first act was a trip on Ayu as he forced his way to the edge of the box.
Leeds got away from Gallagher’s free kick from 20 yards and finally put together an attack that showed they had started to shake their heads together again.
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The ball rolled to James’ left and delivered what looked like a perfect near-post pass – only for Rodrigo to scuff Vicente Guetta’s right-hand post.
Palace then thought they had found a winner, only for Benteke to ruin his header at close.
He then had another chance when Rafinha thwarted his attempt by Mesler, before sealing the game with a controversial late penalty.
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