Match ends, Leeds United 1, Sunderland 1.
Sunderland squandered a second-half lead at Leeds and slipped closer to a second consecutive relegation.
Pablo Hernandez curled in a superb leveller to deny Sunderland a second away win in a row and leave the Black Cats seven points from safety.
Sunderland had gone 1-0 up with Paddy McNair's angled half-volley.
Both sides also hit the woodwork twice in an eventful game, while Leeds' Gaetano Berardi was sent off late on for a foul on Callum McManaman.
The full-back's dismissal stunted Leeds' momentum as they pushed strongly for a winning goal, and they could have been beaten but for Bailey Peacock-Farrell's save to deny McManaman a stoppage-time winner.
Both sides went close in a goalless first half, with Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Camp pushing Ronaldo Vieira's shot onto the post and Ashley Fletcher heading against the crossbar for the visitors.
George Honeyman almost extended Sunderland's lead after McNair's opener, but the young midfielder hit the upright and Aiden McGeady's follow-up was cleared.
And, after a ninth goal of the season for Spanish midfielder Hernandez, Leeds struck the post again with a free-kick from Samu Saiz.
Sunderland will be relegated if they lose three of their five remaining matches, with their final two league games of the campaign coming against third-placed Fulham and leaders Wolves.
Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom told BBC Radio Leeds:
"We started well, which was pleasing, and we were on top. We got in some great opportunities in the first half. We looked threatening, but without really saying, 'We should have scored there.'
"It was always in the back of my mind that whatever point we made a change, we were going to have to really open the game up. With the bench that we had and the players we had available - whatever change we made, we were going to be made defensively weaker, so it was important we made ourselves better attacking-wise.
"As soon as Sunderland got the first goal, we needed to be better attacking. So we made the change, took the risk and the game really could have opened up. Then it could have gone either way."
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman said:
"A point is not enough. A point was never going to be enough for us today. We needed the three with the position we are in. The performance was more than enough, it was good.
"Normally you come to Elland Road and are happy to get a point because it is such a tough place to come. We need to win five games of football, simple as that, and we have won only six all season so we are right up against it.
"It's a big ask, a tall order, but it's not impossible. I wouldn't put money on us, but we have got to keep performing like that. Whether we run out of games, we haven't yet. We cannot throw in the towel yet."
- 18JanssonBooked at 90mins
- 37O'ConnorBooked at 75mins
- 28BerardiBooked at 90mins
- 23PhillipsSubstituted forRoofeat 65'minutes
- 10AlioskiBooked at 83mins
- 21SáizSubstituted forAnitaat 90+2'minutes
- 9LasoggaSubstituted forEkubanat 79'minutes
- 23KonéBooked at 70mins
- 6CattermoleSubstituted forLua Luaat 90+5'minutes
- 26HoneymanBooked at 12minsSubstituted forEjariaat 83'minutes
- 19McGeadySubstituted forMcManamanat 89'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 11Lua Lua
- Jeremy Simpson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Leeds United 1, Sunderland 1.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Pontus Jansson.
Attempt blocked. Kazenga Lua Lua (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Donald Love with a cross.
Attempt saved. Lamine Koné (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lynden Gooch with a cross.
Substitution, Sunderland. Kazenga Lua Lua replaces Lee Cattermole.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Attempt saved. Callum McManaman (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Donald Love.
Attempt missed. Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Substitution, Leeds United. Vurnon Anita replaces Samuel Sáiz.
Callum McManaman (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.
Pontus Jansson (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.
Gaetano Berardi (Leeds United) is shown the red card.
Foul by Gaetano Berardi (Leeds United).
Callum McManaman (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Sunderland. Callum McManaman replaces Aiden McGeady.
Samuel Sáiz (Leeds United) hits the left post with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.
Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).
Offside, Sunderland. Donald Love tries a through ball, but Aiden McGeady is caught offside.