Leeds United 1 Hull City 1 - Tigers win penalty shoot-out at Elland Road
Egzjan Alioski’s stoppage-time equaliser looked like it might deny the Tigers their big day out in the capital, but they won a dramatic shoot-out 9-8 to progress at the expense of a lethargic Leeds United.
In the space of a few weeks the two Yorkshire clubs have moved two divisions apart, but it was Hull who were the better side in normal time.
They got what they deserved when Matt Ingram saved Jamie Shackleton’s penalty, and allowed Alfie Jones to win it.
Greg Docherty, Callum Jones, James Scott, Thomas Mayer, Callum Elder, Sean McLoughlin, Billy Chadwick and Dan Batty converted their kicks, with only Lewie Coyle seeing his saved. Alioski hit the post for Leeds.
Hull normally like to play with a totem-pole striker, but with Tom Eaves injured and Josh Magennis rested, Mallik Wilks played the centre-forward role very differently and very impressively against his former club.
He was happy to interchange positions with Scott and Keane Lewis-Potter, a fledgling striker learning his trade wide on the left. It made for a very dangerous Hull, and Wilks needed just five minutes to give his side the lead.
In their fourth game of the season across three different competitions, the Tigers looked confident and fit, even though they made changes too with Coyle captaining on his debut.
Leeds made 11 changes from the thrilling 4-3 defeat at Anfield, and looked like players trying to scrape off the rust as they chased the men in amber-and-black.
Even the cardboard fans did not see fit to turn out for the game, removed for the new Elland Road season as Hull prepare to welcome actual human ones to the KCOM at the weekend. Marcelo Bielsa had the insurance policies of Jack Harrison, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford on the bench and chose to use none of them.
Hull’s confidence was further boosted when Lewis-Potter and George Honeyman pounced on Kiko Casilla giving up possession and played in Wilks for a finish which deflected off Davis.
The 20-year-old was part of a young defensive outfit with 20-year-old Jamie Shackleton at right-back, 17-year-old debutant Charlie Creswell – son of East Yorkshire-born former Whites forward Richard – partnering Leof Davis, and Oliver Casey, 19, doing his best to shield them. Even when Casey made way at half-time, it was for 20-year-old Pascal Struijk.
That said, they did bring the small matter of £27m club record signing Rodrigo in at centre-forward, though he saw little of the ball.
When Shackleton blocked a Scott shot, Casilla had to save the follow-up from Wilks. Minutes later the striker beat Cresswell but this time the deflection, off Davis, helped the hosts.
Wilks pouncing on a heavy touch when Casey struggled to deal with an unsympathetic pass showed the contrasting confidence of both teams.
There was, though, still a chance for summer signing Alfie Jones, whose Tigers appearances have been limited to this competition so far, to showcase what he could do, heroically throwing himself in the way of an Alioski shot after Casey’s initial effort was blocked.
Leeds looked better in the second half, which Ian Poveda started brilliantly with his runs down the right, but rather than leading to a siege of Ingram’s goal, just a bit of a stalemate.
Eventually, it was Hull who got back on top, but Casilla did his best to spoil Docherty’s night.
The midfielder forced Leeds’s captain for the night – and penalty scorer – into a flying save midway through the half, beat away another shot from the midfielder, then stretched to keep out a delicate Scott touch. When Docherty was played through one-on-one in the final minutes, Casilla pooped his party once more.
“Come on Leeds! Come on Leeds! Come on Leeds!” begged sporting director Victor Orta as the game went into its final 10 minutes.
Alioski listened, thrashing home in added time when Cresswell headed into his path to take the game to a shoot-out.
It would be tempting to say this result shows Orta needs to be busy in the final weeks of the transfer window because the players on the fringe are not good enough for the Premier League.
That may be so, but Hull’s improvement since squeezing past Sunderland on penalties in round one shows the difference a couple of games can make.
That the Tigers are heading to Jarrod Bowen’s West Ham United next week is great news for the League One side.
Leeds did not seem overly bothered to be missing out.
Leeds United: Casilla; Shackleton, Cresswell, Davis, Douglas; Casey (Struijk 46); Poveda, Bogusz (Gotts 78), Roberts, Alioski; Rodrigo. Unused substitutes: Meslier, Phillips, Harrison, McCalmont, Bamford.
Hull City: Ingram; Coyle, A Jones, McLoughlin, Elder; Batty, Docherty; Honeyman (C Jones 81); Scott, Wilks, Lewis-Potter (Mayer 46). Unused substitutes: Cartwright, Emmanuel, Samuelsen, Greaves, Chadwick.
Referee: D Webb (C Durham).
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