2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Pablo Hernández (72')
  • Gaetano Berardi (90')
  • Paddy McNair (48')

Sunderland survival hopes dented after Leeds hit back to clinch draw

Sunderland missed a glorious opportunity to boost their slim Sky Bet Championship survival hopes after drawing 1-1 with 10-man Leeds at Elland Road.
The Black Cats looked to be taking full advantage of fellow strugglers Birmingham and Bolton dropping points when Paddy McNair opened the scoring.
But Pablo Hernandez levelled 18 minutes from time to leave Sunderland, who dropped down from the Premier League last season, with a mountain to climb.
Chris Coleman's side are now seven points adrift of safety with just five games remaining.
Mid-table Leeds had skipper Gaetano Berardi sent off for a rash tackle on substitute Callum McManaman at the death.
In a battle between two of the most out-of-form sides in the Championship, it was Leeds who started confidently.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga diverted a Gjanni Alioski corner over the top before Ronaldo Vieira, in the 18th minute, advanced into the box and fired a low shot against Lee Camp's left post.
McNair's deflected strike tested home goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, but Leeds continued to create chances.
Samuel Saiz had an effort from distance comfortably parried away by goalkeeper Camp, who then somehow kept out Hernandez's volley from a tight angle following a slick one-two with Alioski.
Leeds' failure to convert their opportunities gave Sunderland hope and the visitors started to threaten.
Peacock-Farrell had to be alert to keep out Aiden McGeady's header at the back post after Vieira was robbed of possession in midfield.
Ashley Fletcher, heavily linked with a move to Leeds last season, then headed a corner against the crossbar four minutes before half-time.
The warning signs were there for Leeds and it took only three minutes of the second half for Sunderland to grab the opening goal.
Donald Love found McNair with a clever lofted pass and the former Manchester United midfielder fired high into the roof of the net from inside the box.
The goal gave Sunderland confidence and they were unhappy not to be awarded a penalty when McGeady went down in the box under the challenge of Saiz.
Alioski wasted a glorious chance, firing over with his weaker right foot, but Leeds were level in the 72nd minute.
Hernandez received the ball on the left-hand side of the area and coolly curled an effort across a sprawling Camp and into the bottom corner.
However, Sunderland had two more excellent chances to secure back-to-back away league wins for the first time since 2014.
Peacock-Farrell produced stunning reflexes to tip over Fletcher's close-range header and then held on to a fizzed drive from McNair.
Sunderland's quest for a winner left gaps at the back and, after testing Camp from inside the box, Saiz saw a free-kick crash off the post late on before Berardi's red card.

English League Championship Standings

1 West Bromwich Albion 34 +26 66
2 Leeds United 34 +19 62
3 Fulham 34 +11 57
4 Brentford 34 +27 56
5 Nottingham Forest 34 +12 56
6 Preston North End 34 +11 56
7 Bristol City 34 -1 53
8 Blackburn Rovers 34 +10 51
9 Swansea City 34 +2 51
10 Cardiff City 34 +1 50
11 Millwall 34 +1 49
12 Sheffield Wednesday 34 +3 45
13 Derby County 34 -4 45
14 Birmingham City 34 -7 45
15 Queens Park Rangers 34 -7 43
16 Reading 34 +3 42
17 Hull City 34 -5 41
18 Charlton Athletic 34 -4 39
19 Stoke City 34 -10 37
20 Middlesbrough 34 -10 37
21 Huddersfield Town 34 -16 36
22 Wigan Athletic 34 -16 34
23 Barnsley 34 -17 31
24 Luton Town 34 -29 30