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EPL PIX: Leeds, Brighton win; Brentford held, City go top

A round-up of Saturday’s action in the Premier League

10 man Manchester City leave it to the last to pull one over Fulham

 

A 95th-minute penalty from substitute Erling Haaland earned 10-man Manchester City a dramatic 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday, a victory that sent the champions back to the top of the Premier League.

Haaland was deemed fit enough only for the bench after missing City’s two previous matches through injury, but there is no stopping the Norwegian goalscoring phenomenon, and he stepped off the bench to drag his depleted side to victory.

He had one goal ruled offside before converting the last-gasp penalty, his 23rd goal of the season in all competitions sending City a point clear of Arsenal at the top of the standings just as his side seemed to have run out of ideas.

“I was nervous (for the penalty). It was one of the most nervous moments of my life, but fantastic,” Haaland told Sky Sports.

“A penalty in the last minute, of course, I would be nervous. But amazing feeling. I love it. I have been injured for a week and it is really important to win,”

Things started well for a City side who had beaten the two other newly-promoted teams, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, by an aggregate score of 10-0 at home this season before Fulham’s visit, with Argentinean forward Julian Alvarez firing the hosts into a 17th-minute lead.

The champions thought they had quickly doubled their lead through John Stones but Rodri was offside in the build-up, and Fulham capitalised on that reprieve, going straight down the other end and winning a 28th-minute penalty.

City defender Joao Cancelo was given a straight red card for bundling Harry Wilson to the floor, with former Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira making no mistake from the spot as Fulham went into the interval level.

Haaland was brought on in the 63rd minute and quickly thought he had restored his side’s lead after glancing a header home from a pinpoint Kevin De Bruyne cross, but the VAR stepped in to rule that the Norwegian had been offside.

Even with their numerical disadvantage, it was City who kept coming, with Fulham looking like the team who had 10 men as the hosts hung on with some last-ditch blocks and put every player behind the ball.

It seemed City had done all they could until De Bruyne was brought down in the penalty area, giving Haaland the chance to continue his incredible debut season in England.

It was not the most convincing spot kick but it found the net regardless to send the Etihad Stadium, and the City bench, into delirium.

Haaland has now scored 16 goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances. It is the joint-most goals a player has scored across a 10-game period in the competition, matching Luis Suarez’s 16 goals ending in December 2013.

Nottingham Forest split points with BrentFord

 

An own goal from Brentford defender Mathias Jorgensen in the sixth minute of stoppage time gave Nottingham Forest a share of the spoils in a dramatic 2-2 Premier League draw at the City Ground on Saturday.

Brentford goalkeeper David Raya punched away a cross from the right and Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White had his effort blocked before the ball ricocheted off Jorgensen and over the line, with the goal given after a VAR check for offside.

In the first top-flight meeting between the two teams, Forest earned a crucial point but remains rooted to the bottom of the table on 10 points from 14 games while Brentford provisionally move up to 10th with 16 points.

“We got that equaliser right at the end which I felt was fully deserved but we should have got three points. I’m just happy we didn’t come away with no points,” said Gibbs-White, who put Forest ahead with his first goal for the club.

“Finally it’s come. It was a wonderful feeling. Hopefully, I can keep building from there,” Gibbs-White said.

The East Midlands side, who had three shots on target in the opening 15 minutes, deservedly took the lead in the 20th minute when Gibbs-White squeezed past three Brentford defenders and curled home an effort from the edge of the box.

Forest had two penalty appeals turned down before Brentford, who were clearly second-best before the break, were awarded a spot kick in the closing minutes of the first half.

In Brentford’s best chance of the half, Yoanne Wissa was through on goal but went down after taking the ball around goalkeeper Dean Henderson, with Bryan Mbeumo coolly converting the resulting penalty to level the score.

Thomas Frank’s side had dominated possession but struggled to create meaningful opportunities and looked toothless without top scorer Ivan Toney, who was serving a one-match suspension after picking up five yellow cards.

Brentford started the second half as the stronger side, however, and looked set to earn their first away win of the season when they went ahead with 15 minutes remaining.

Mathias Jensen sent a lofted through ball to Wissa and the forward lobbed Henderson with a cool finish before Forest escaped with a hard-earned point in the closing seconds to send the City Ground into raptures.

“Of course, that’s tough to take when you’re leading in extra time. I’m proud of the team. The way we played the second half made me very proud but when you lead 2-1 in extra time, you have to win,” Frank said.

Wolves get clipped by Brighton

 

Pascal Gross’s late goal sealed a thrilling 3-2 victory for Brighton & Hove Albion at 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers in a rip-roaring Premier League clash on Saturday.

Wolves trailed to an early Adam Lallana goal, then led with goals by Goncalo Guedes and Ruben Neves, only for Kaoru Mitoma to level and Nelson Semedo to be red-carded, all before halftime.

Brighton pressed hard for a winner after the break but the struggling Wolves resisted admirably until Gross fired high into the roof of the net in the 83rd minute for his fifth league goal of the season.

It was tough on the Wolves, who had earlier named Spaniard Julen Lopetegui as their new manager, but Brighton deservedly backed up last week’s victory over Chelsea to move into sixth place.

Brighton have 21 points from 13 games played while the Wolves are in 19th place with 10 points.

“Three points in any Premier League match is huge. A little bit relieved at the end. When they went down to 10 it proved more difficult. But we persisted and Pascal came up trumps again,” Lallana said.

Former Real Madrid, Sevilla and Spain manager Lopetegui has a big job on his hands and, assuming he was watching from afar on Saturday, Wolves’ latest display was hardly reassuring.

The fact that they scored twice, boosting their pitiful goals total to eight, was about the only plus.

Stand-in manager Steve Davis, who will continue in charge until the World Cup halts the Premier League, has now lost four of the six matches since he replaced Bruno Lage.

Brighton began in confident fashion and Lallana opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a superbly curled right-foot shot from just inside the area after a neat build-up.

The hosts were level two minutes later though as Guedes stayed upright despite a tug by Mitoma as he raced through and stabbed a shot past Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez.

It lifted the mood around Molineux and the Wolves took the lead in the 35th minute when a VAR check concluded that Lewis Dunk had handled during a Wolves attack.

When Neves rifled home his kick the stadium erupted but everything went wrong for the hosts before the break. Lallana’s pass released Mitoma who found the bottom corner with a clinical finish and the Japanese midfielder, never far from the action, was then rugby-tackled by Semedo in first-half stoppage time as he burst towards goal.

Brighton’s slick passing opened up the Wolves on occasion after the break but the hosts showed their battling qualities and even had some moments at the other end, notably when substitute Adama Traore stung the fingers of Sanchez with a fierce shot from an acute angle.

The Wolves eventually cracked though as Mitoma fled superbly down the left and the ball was eventually pulled back to Gross who smashed a rising drive past Jose Sa.

Leeds have epic comeback against Bournemouth

 

Leeds United bounced back from two goals down in the second half to edge Bournemouth 4-3 with another late goal from Crysencio Summerville in an exhilarating, end-to-end encounter at Elland Road in the Premier League on Saturday.

Despite finding themselves 3-1 down early in the second period, Jesse Marsch’s Leeds mounted an epic comeback with the vociferous home support behind them to take all three points and move up to 12th in the standings.

“It was the last home game (before the World Cup) and the crowd is like the 12th man,” said Summerville, who earned a first-half penalty and scored the fourth in the 84th minute, having snatched a last-gasp winner at Liverpool last weekend.

“Leeds United is incredible and the crowd give a lot. We have to keep building the momentum,” he added.

Leeds started the game on the attack and were awarded a penalty in the third minute when Summerville was fouled in the box. A composed Rodrigo stepped up to send goalkeeper Mark Travers the wrong way and open the scoring.

But even as Elland Road celebrated the early goal to create an intimidating atmosphere, Bournemouth were unperturbed and turned the volume down four minutes later when Marcus Tavernier, isolated at the far post, fired home from a cross.

The Leeds fans were silenced, albeit momentarily, when Tavernier picked up a long ball, had his shot saved and quickly recovered to set up Philip Billing who directed a first-time strike into the roof of the net in the 19th.

An upbeat Bournemouth then went 3-1 up two minutes into the second half when Tavernier turned provider again on a counter-attack that began from a Leeds corner and was finished in style by Dominic Solanke.

But Leeds refused to give in and struck twice in eight minutes to level the score, with 20-year-old Sam Greenwood first curling an effort past the keeper from outside the box before his delivery from a corner was headed home by Liam Cooper.

The comeback was complete when Leeds stormed forward on yet another counter-attack and Summerville burst into the box and latched onto a through ball from substitute Wilfried Gnonto to make it 4-3.

For Bournemouth, who dropped to 15th, it was a case of deja vu as they squandered a two-goal lead for a second consecutive match having lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur last week.

“I am gutted. I think everyone in there feels it. It happened last week, it happened again this week. We have a two-goal cushion and have given multiple goals away. It is unacceptable, we can’t keep doing this as teams at this level will punish us.” Tavernier said.

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