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Birmingham City 4-5 Leeds United: Bielsa's men beat Blues in nine-goal thriller to go top

Helder Costa and Jack Harrison scored their first-half goals at St Andrew's within six minutes of each other
Helder Costa and Jack Harrison scored their first-half goals at St Andrew's within six minutes of each other

Leeds United won an astonishing nine-goal thriller against Birmingham City at St Andrew's to go back top of the Championship.

But it was rough luck on Birmingham, who three times came from behind to level before Wes Harding's injury-time own goal.

"Every time Birmingham scored, we had the energy to go for one more goal," said Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa's men will now start 2020 top of the second tier thanks to morning leaders West Bromwich Albion losing just a few miles away at home to Middlesbrough.

It looked like it might be a stroll for Leeds when Helder Costa and Jack Harrison scored inside the space of six first-half minutes.

But 16-year-old Jude Bellingham scored with his first goal in over three months to reduce the arrears at half-time before Lukas Jutkiewicz levelled on 61 minutes.

Luke Ayling put Leeds back in front eight minutes later, but Jeremie Bela equalised for a second time.

Stuart Dallas then struck on 84 minutes, only for Jutkiewicz to level again - but Harding's own goal in the fifth minute of added time settled a classic contest.

Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham's goal was his first in over three months since scoring in successive games in early season
Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham's goal was his first in over three months since scoring in successive games in early season

Ninety-odd minutes, nine goals . . .

Although without 10-goal top scorer Patrick Bamford, who suffered a dead leg in the 1-1 Boxing Day draw against Preston, Bielsa's side took the lead on 15 minutes when they broke quickly from a Birmingham corner.

Harrison collected a loose ball after Liam Cooper nodded away Gary Gardner's header and surged upfield before threading Costa through to turn Max Colin and bury a low, left-foot shot to Connal Trueman's left into the bottom corner.

Harrison then made it 2-0 with his fifth goal of the season, a half volley that took a hefty deflection off Harlee Dean to wrongfoot Trueman, after being set up by Ezgjan Alioski.

But Bellingham fired home from 15 yards from Colin's cross before Blues levelled with the first meaningful chance of the second half.

Colin's corner was nodded goalwards by Kerim Mrabti at the far post and goalkeeper Kiko Casilla could only parry as far as Jutkiewicz, who nodded home.

Leeds were back in front when Ayling cut inside from the right flank, foxing Bela with one touch, and without any further challenge from any Blues player, was allowed to stride forward and, as the ball sat up kindly for him on the half-volley, he lashed a right-foot shot just inside the left upright.

Birmingham pegged them back again when Bela glanced in Pedersen's free-kick, only for the unmarked Dallas to hook home from Ayling's pass.

But, although Jutkiewicz stabbed home Bela's cross from close range in the 91st minute to make it 4-4, Harding fired into his own net under pressure from Ayling's cross.

What next?

Leeds are back in the Midlands on New Year's Day for their 'second v first' clash with Albion at The Hawthorns.

They will start the day level on points with Slaven Bilic's side, but with a better goal difference of just two.

Blues, who have slid to within eight points of trouble, are at home again - to bottom club Wigan Athletic.

Luckless Lukas Jutkiewicz has now scored three goals in successive home games - and eight this season - but still finished on the losing side
Luckless Lukas Jutkiewicz has now scored three goals in successive home games - and eight this season - but still finished on the losing side

Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet told BBC WM:

"If you only think about the result, we're disappointed, because we came back three times against Leeds.

"But at the same time, after playing West Brom and Leeds at home in the last 15 days, we did see a lot of things we are looking for and need to be encouraged.

"We're missing a few players still and we look a bit vulnerable at the back. But it's about us showing this fighting spirit, resilience and good quality football, going toe-to-toe with the team that at the minute is on top of the league."

Leeds United midfielder Stuart Dallas:

"It's definitely one of the craziest games I've been involved in. So much emotion. We just had to step up and grind it out and hope that was it, but they just kept scoring.

"I'm just glad I was playing in it rather than watching it, but the crowd have definitely got their money's worth.

"The games are coming thick and fast now. We now have West Brom in three days' time, which is obviously going to be a massive game but we just have to concentrate on ourselves."

Line-ups

Birmingham

  • 27Trueman
  • 5Colin
  • 12Dean
  • 2HardingBooked at 48mins
  • 3Pedersen
  • 22BellinghamSubstituted forMonteroat 74'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 34Sunjic
  • 20GardnerBooked at 39mins
  • 7CrowleySubstituted forBelaat 68'minutes
  • 18MrabtiBooked at 62minsSubstituted forGiménezat 74'minutes
  • 10JutkiewiczBooked at 63mins

Substitutes

  • 1Camp
  • 11Bela
  • 15Montero
  • 16McEachran
  • 19Maghoma
  • 24Giménez
  • 26Davis

Leeds

  • 13CasillaBooked at 71mins
  • 5White
  • 6Cooper
  • 2AylingBooked at 88mins
  • 10Alioski
  • 15Dallas
  • 43KlichSubstituted forBerardiat 86'minutes
  • 23Phillips
  • 22Harrison
  • 14NketiahBooked at 73minsSubstituted forRobertsat 81'minutes
  • 17Hélder Costa

Substitutes

  • 1Meslier
  • 3Douglas
  • 11Roberts
  • 28Berardi
  • 36Gotts
  • 48Stevens
  • 49Casey
Referee:
Keith Stroud
Attendance:
22,059

Match Stats

Home TeamBirminghamAway TeamLeeds
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home15
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away9
Fouls
Home10
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Birmingham City 4, Leeds United 5.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Birmingham City 4, Leeds United 5.

Offside, Leeds United. Ezgjan Alioski tries a through ball, but Tyler Roberts is caught offside.

Goal!

Own Goal by Wes Harding, Birmingham City. Birmingham City 4, Leeds United 5.

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Wes Harding.

Attempt blocked. Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Harrison with a cross.

Booking

Jefferson Montero (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 4, Leeds United 4. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jérémie Bela with a cross.

Booking

Luke Ayling (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Ezgjan Alioski.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Gaetano Berardi replaces Mateusz Klich.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 3, Leeds United 4. Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Luke Ayling.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 3, Leeds United 3. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Kristian Pedersen with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Liam Cooper (Leeds United).

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Tyler Roberts replaces Eddie Nketiah.

Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Wes Harding (Birmingham City).

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Wes Harding.

Foul by Jack Harrison (Leeds United).

Connal Trueman (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Kristian Pedersen.

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Wes Harding.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Álvaro Giménez replaces Kerim Mrabti.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jefferson Montero replaces Jude Bellingham.

Booking

Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.

Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United) has gone down, but the referee deems it simulation.

Booking

Kiko Casilla (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.

Hélder Costa (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kristian Pedersen (Birmingham City).

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Kalvin Phillips.

Attempt blocked. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Birmingham City 2, Leeds United 3. Luke Ayling (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jérémie Bela replaces Daniel Crowley.

Attempt blocked. Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Offside, Leeds United. Kalvin Phillips tries a through ball, but Hélder Costa is caught offside.

Booking

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds25156442202251
2West Brom25149247272051
3Fulham25126739281142
4Brentford25124937201740
5Nottm Forest2411763123840
6Sheff Wed25116837251239
7Preston2511683630639
8Bristol City2510873936338
9Swansea2510873130138
10Cardiff2591063734337
11Millwall2591063131037
12Hull2510693934536
13Blackburn2510693231136
14Reading2495103127432
15QPR2595113847-932
16Middlesbrough257992432-830
17Birmingham2585122940-1129
18Charlton2477103334-128
19Huddersfield2577112837-928
20Derby246992232-1027
21Stoke2563162840-1221
22Barnsley2549123247-1521
23Luton2563163153-2221
24Wigan2548132137-1620
View full Championship table

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