Ipswich 1 Leeds United 0: Christiansen blames “provocation” for red card

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Ipswich ended a five-game winless run after Bersant Celina’s stunning strike was enough to beat Leeds at Portman Road.

The Kosovan international’s effort midway through the second half secured a 1-0 victory for the Tractor Boys, whose opponents had to play more than 50 minutes with 10 men after Eunan O’Kane was dismissed.

Eunan O'Kane is sent off. Picture by Simon Hulme

Eunan O'Kane is sent off. Picture by Simon Hulme

Leeds skipper Liam Cooper missed a glorious late chance to earn the away side a share of the spoils but Ipswich held firm in an entertaining game.

The win sees Ipswich remain 12th in the Sky Bet Championship table while Leeds stay seventh - outside the play-off spots on goal difference alone.

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen felt his side deserved more from the match.

He said: “I’m disappointed for the result, I’m sorry for my players that we didn’t take something positive with us.

“I’m proud because the effort that they showed and everyone in the stadium also recognised that it was not right to lose this game.

“It was a nice goal, no doubt. Perhaps you can defend it better but ok.

“I’m happy with the response, at half-time my message was the same, we want to take the three points and that was the spirit of the team.

“I believe if we play 11 against 11, we take the three points for sure.”

Asked about the sending off, Christiansen said: “There is no evidence that he goes to him. It was provocation, he went for that and he got that.

“From the point of view - where the camera is - there is no sign of doing it and I take my conclusion from what I saw.”

Calls for an Ipswich penalty were waved away in the fifth minute after Joe Garner appeared to be caught by Leeds captain Cooper.

Good interchange between Myles Kenlock and Celina on the left for the Blues saw the former’s deep cross headed back by David McGoldrick but the striker’s header was well cleared.

Ipswich goalkeeper Dean Gerken - in for the injured Bart Bialkowski - then unconvincingly punched Gaetano Berardi’s cross into the air but Ezgjan Alioski could not direct the ball on target.

Leeds missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Pablo Hernandez’s low cut-back saw Pawel Cibicki miscue his shot wide.

Three minutes later Kemar Roofe got clear of the Ipswich defence but his shot was well blocked by Town skipper Luke Chambers after the Leeds front man cut back.

Leeds were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when O’Kane was dismissed for raising his arm at Town left-back Jonas Knudsen after the two players squared up to each other near the byline.

Ipswich ended the half strongly and Martyn Waghorn’s inswinging corner struck the near post before Celina’s direct run and cross found Garner, who could only fire over at close range at full stretch.

The home side hit the woodwork once again in first-half injury-time, with Kosovan international Celina’s excellent curled effort hitting the far post having left Leeds goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald stranded.

Ipswich’s Callum Connolly brought a good save from Wiedwald at the start of the second half after breaking clear and Garner fired the follow-up wide.

Ipswich opened the scoring in the 67th minute when Celina cut in from the left and let fly with an excellent strike which beat Wielwald from 25 yards out.

Leeds captain Cooper spurned a great chance to equalise in the 81st minute when he blazed over the bar at the far post from close range.

The away team threw everything at Ipswich in the closing stages and substitute Pierre-Michel Lasogga brought a fine save from Gerken in injury-time.