Leeds United’s winless run in London continued on Tuesday night as they shared a 1-1 draw with Brentford in their top-six clash at Griffin Park.
The Whites have not won in the nation’s capital since December 2017 and despite dominating for long periods, were not able to find the killer blow for what would’ve been just their second win since the turn of the year.
Kiko Casilla’s slip handed Brentford the lead in the 25th minute before a fumble from his opposite number David Raya allowed Leeds to level 13 minutes later.
Given Nottingham Forest’s defeat against Charlton Athletic, a win for either side could’ve been them a huge boost in the race for automatic promotion but as it was, they were forced to share the spoils.
Brentford struggled to get a foothold in the opening exchanges, reduced to scraps and speculative balls through that were always a yard or two in front.
But Thomas Frank’s side grew into the game and in the 25th minute, Christian Norgaard was inches away from giving the hosts the lead.
Said Benrahma did exactly that seconds later. Kiko Casilla slipped on his way to collect Stuart Dallas’ pass and the Algerian raced through to tap it into the net–perhaps the low point of a desperately poor few months for the Spaniard.
“Leeds are falling apart again” rung around Griffin Park and for a few minutes, it looked as though they were as Benrahma had a chance for a second blocked by Luke Ayling.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side soon clicked into gear though and began to dictate play once again. Where Casilla had failed his team, David Raya soon proved his worth, tipping a fizzing Helder Costa volley over the bar, but he would make his own mistake before long.
Seven minutes before the break, a corner was whipped into the back post and Raya fumbled it allowing captain Liam Cooper to smash home an equaliser.
That goal seemed to give the Whites their mojo back. The visitors’ touches become sharper and they knocked the ball around with more conviction.
They continued to control the game after the break, restricting Brentford to breakaway efforts. Kalvin Phillips had looked rusty at times in the opening 45 minutes but he was back to his sparkling best in the second period–breaking up play and launching attacks for the Whites.
In a way almost symptomatic of their season, however, Bielsa’s men struggled to create many clear cut chances at all.
At the other end, Brentford continued to threaten. First Benrahma fired a free-kick into the wall and then Griffin Park was up in arms as the referee waved away an ambitious penalty claim.
The introduction of January signing Jean-Kevin Augustin did little to improve their fortunes in the final third.
The game ebbed and flowed in the closing minutes but neither side could land a killer blow, meaning Leeds hold their place in the top two for now, while the Bees climb to fourth.
Full Time: Brentford 1 – 1 Leeds United