Leeds 0-0 Aston Villa: Luis Sinisterra sent off in fiery Elland Road encounter despite goalless draw
Leeds and Aston Villa played out a fiery goalless draw as Luis Sinisterra’s needless red card epitomised an ill-disciplined affair at Elland Road.
A match lacking in quality but full of fouls and bookings finally led to a sending-off as, early in the second half, Sinisterra was dismissed for blocking a quick
free-kick when not 10 yards while already on a booking for a foul on John McGinn in the first half.
Referee Stuart Attwell was left with no option but to send the Colombian off in a blot on his flourishing Leeds career so far.
Despite Philippe Coutinho hitting the post and Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia and Jacob Ramsay all missing key chances, Villa failed to find the missing ingredient in front of goal, despite picking up their first point on the road all season.
For Leeds, their recent ill-discipline was summed up by 22 fouls, three yellow cards, a man disadvantage for most of the second half and manager Jesse Marsch watching from the stands serving a touchline ban.
How Leeds and Villa played out the game
Both teams had reason to be nervous and lacking in confidence going into this Super Sunday clash. Villa kicked off having failed to pick up a point on the road all season, while this was Leeds’ first game since shipping five at Brentford last month.
But it was Villa who did the early running with Watkins forcing Illan Meslier into a low save and Coutinho failing to get his feet together to tap home the rebound from close range.
Leeds welcomed back Rodrigo from injury, despite having Patrick Bamford fit and available on the bench, with the Spaniard going close twice in a minute. First, the Leeds forward failed to get on the end of Sinisterra’s testing cross into the six-yard box, before firing just wide of the Villa goal from 20 yards out.
The first half lacked clear-cut chances due to it being marred by ill-discipline, with 18 fouls conceded by both teams in the first period, leading to four yellow cards shared between them.
That being said, Watkins and Leon Bailey both stung the palms of Meslier on the break, before Jacob Ramsey failed to convert from close range after being found in the box by John McGinn’s precise long ball.
The hot-headed nature of the game continued into the second half and Sinisterra was the one to pick up what seemed like an inevitable red card from the off. The Colombian stopped a quickly-taken free-kick deep into the Villa half while not being 10 yards away from the ball and Attwell presented a second yellow to the Leeds winger.
Villa gained confidence after that moment and nearly found an opener as Coutinho struck the back post from Bailey’s cross, with Watkins firing wide at what looked like a simple rebound.
Steven Gerrard’s side tried to make their man advantage count as substitute Emiliano Buendia curled just over from distance, while Watkins saw a late chance from a tight angle well-saved by Meslier as the clock ticked into 90.
Earlier, Leeds had brought on Bamford to seal his latest return from injury and the striker tested Emiliano Martinez’s gloves in a rare foray forward from the hosts. Brendan Aaronson thought he had earned a penalty on the rebound but Konsa’s challenge from behind was deemed to be fair.
Marsch: Villa made game ‘snail’s pace’ | Gerrard: We frustrated Leeds
Despite his side’s poor disciplinary record on Super Sunday, Marsch highlighted Villa’s time-wasting throughout the match and claimed this is a regular problem brought over by away sides to Elland Road.
“Villa slows the game down and we’ve had two or three opponents here that, at every moment, throw the ball away and take a minute on every goal kick,” he told Sky Sports. “We need some help to manage this, we can’t do it alone.
“This is the best environment in the league for me and fans don’t come here to watch a ‘snail’s pace’ match.
“At half-time I said: no frustration, we know what the tactic is and we want to focus on what we want to achieve. Everything changes when we go a man down.
“We worked, over the four weeks, on ‘man-down tactics’ so it helped us in the moment to manage it. Next time I will work on ‘man-up tactics’, that’s a better strategy!”
Villa manager Steven Gerrard admitted that his side wanted to “frustrate Leeds”.
“At times Leeds wanted a war and we went to war,” he told Sky Sports. “When it was scrappy, we dug in, we fought, we won second balls, we competed really well. We frustrated Leeds and the crowd.”
Marsch claimed his Leeds side fought “like lions” and revealed his teams have been working on what to do when they get a player sent off.
“At half-time I said: no frustration, we know what the tactic is and we want to focus on we want to achieve. Everything changes when we go a man down,” added the Leeds manager.
“We worked over the four weeks on ‘man-down tactics’ so it helped us in the moment to manage it. Next time I will work on ‘man-up tactics’, that’s a better strategy!”
Keane on Sinisterra red: ‘Height of stupidity’
Sky Sports’ Roy Keane speaking on Super Sunday:
“It’s just the height of stupidity. He’s given a daft foul away [for the first yellow]. It’s clumsy, there’s no danger. There’s a time to foul someone when they’re breaking on you but there’s no danger there, so he’s setting himself up for a fall.
“He’s on a yellow card, back away, it’s the height of stupidity. I’ve done daft things on the pitch but this is up there. Then they’re all complaining, the fans are moaning, he’s asking the referee what have I done? Get down the tunnel, honestly.”
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch speaking to Sky Sports:
“Luis shouldn’t do that while carrying a yellow, it puts himself in jeopardy. That was not an intelligent play.”
Leeds travel to Crystal Palace on Super Sunday at 4pm before Aston Villa head to Nottingham Forest on Monday Night Football at 8pm – both live on Sky Sports Premier League.
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