Leeds United 3 Blackburn Rovers 3: Ruben is United’s Achilles’ heel

1
Have your say

A back-heeled goal from Ruben Rochina denied Leeds United a deserved win over Blackburn Rovers.

Rochina struck in inventive style six minutes from time to snatch a dramatic point for Rovers at the end of a torrid second.

Leeds had earlier fought back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead. Second-half goals from Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio appeared to have secured the most unlikely of wins before Rochina came off the bench to strike.

Blackburn took control early on with first-half efforts from Markus Olsson and Nuno Gomes before El-Hadji Diouf pulled a goal back for Leeds just before the break.

Both sides had chances in the second period with United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny holding a free-kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Gael Givet blocking a shot from Luke Varney inside his own six-yard box.

Danny Murphy almost claimed a third goal for Rovers when his volley flew inches wide on 52 minutes but Blackburn were as fortunate to see Dickson Etuhu deflect David Norris’ attempt with keeper Paul Robinson badly exposed.

And McCormack levelled the score on 56 minutes when he burst onto Adam Drury’s long ball and crashed a volley over Robinson amid suspicions of a foul by Becchio on Givet.

The visitors wobbled badly after that and Murphy made a desperate goalline clearance after Becchio met Norris’ cross with a firm header, but the Argentine made no mistake when a mis-kick by Grant Hanley fell to him at close range.

Jason Pearce thought he had claimed a fourth goal for United but his header from a McCormack delivery was ruled out for offside and Blackburn hung in to force a draw in the closing stages.

Diouf has a last-gap chance to win the game but fired over the crossbar from six yards five minutes into injury-time.

Leeds boss Neil Warnock said: “The game was a good advert for the Championship but we were disappointed that the referee gave a free-kick against Tom Lees when Pedersen backed into him in the build-up to their third.

“Bill Shankly once said referees know the rules, they just don’t know the game.

“It was disappointing to be denied a win by a decision like that. I am so proud of my team for battling back from two down.”

Warnock also revealed that Diouf had a agreed a deal to remain at Elland Road until at least January.

Of Diouf, Warnock added: “I thought his contribution in the second half was good.

“He missed a good chance but they missed one a minute before.”

Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury, Diouf, Austin, Norris, Varney, McCormack, Becchio: Subs: Ashdown, Byram, Gray, Poleon, White, Brown, Kisnorbo.

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Ribeiro, Dann, Givet, Olsson, Formica, Murphy, Etuhu, Pedersen, Rhodes, Gomes. Subs: Orr, Lowe, Jorge, Junior, Rochina, Hanley, Kean.