Leeds United keep Premier League survival hopes alive with 'one of the best' comebacks

Luke Ayling's late strike secures win against Wolves who had taken a 2-0 lead at Molineux

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Leeds United improved their prospects of avoiding relegation from the Premier League after staging a stunning comeback to clinch a 3-2 win at 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers, a result manager Jesse Marsch said was "one of the best".

The Wolves dominated the first half and led 2-0 after goals from Jonny Otto and Trincao, while Leeds saw striker Patrick Bamford suffer an early injury.

However, the tide turned when Wolves' Mexican forward Raul Jimenez was sent off eight minutes into the second half after earning a second yellow card for colliding with Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

Leeds made the numerical advantage count, with two goals in the space of four minutes from Jack Harrison and Rodrigo that levelled the contest.

There was more drama in stoppage time as Wolves failed to clear a free kick from their area. Ayling lashed home an unstoppable shot in the 90th minute, sparking a touchline melee as tempers flared in both dugouts at Molineux.

Manager Marsch said Leeds "can control their own destiny" and retain their Premier League status. The win lifted Leeds seven points clear of the relegation zone.

"I just want us to stay true and stay calm to our process, to push ourselves every day, to finding a way," the manager said.

"I believe we have the quality of people and of players that we can control our own destiny and find a way to not just survive in this situation, but thrive in it. That's the goal."

Leeds' fightback was all the more impressive after they had been forced to withdraw four players through injury, three of them before half-time. Bamford aggravated a foot problem, Diego Llorente had a back spasm, Mateusz Klich suffered concussion and Meslier was forced off with a bruised hip after his collision with Jimenez.

Marsch said he told his players Leeds' win was one of the best he had ever seen.

"I told them this was not just one of the best results in my career, but that I've seen in the game, really," said the American.

"It's two games in a row now," Marsch added. "It's about the character and the hearts of our men. They deserve all the credit. They're the ones who went for it and believe in themselves and moment after moment pushed the game and we're going to continue to draw on that mindset."

Wolves coach Bruno Lage was not happy with the decision to send off Jimenez, feeling the second yellow card was harsh.

"Everyone saw what happened and now they have the chance to watch on TV," Lage told the BBC. "It's a body contact, Raul tried to win the ball. Bad decision - and he [referee Kevin Friend] continued with the opinion he made a good decision.

"In the 45 minutes I think we were the better team. We were a much better team than our opponents. I am very proud of my players."

Updated: March 19, 2022, 4:26 AM
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