Elland Road witnessed another classic Leeds United-Millwall clash, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side winning 3-2 to return to the Championship’s summit.
Leeds found themselves 2-0 down at half-time following goals from Shaun Hutchinson and Jed Wallace, but a Patrick Bamford brace and deflected Pablo Hernandez effort secured a memorable comeback win against Gary Rowett’s side.
These two sides have played out classics in the past two seasons, with Millwall winning 4-3 at Elland Road in 2018 and Leeds coming out 3-2 winners in March 2019. And, this evening, they served up another treat at LS11.
Millwall started with real confidence and handed Leeds an early warning when a Wallace cross fell the way of Ryan Woods, but his shot was way over the bar of Kiko Casilla.
However, that confident start grew, as you might expect from a side with only one defeat in 13, and Rowett’s side had the lead on only four minutes.
After Jake Cooper forced a corner, Hutchinson met Wallace’s dangerous in-swinging delivery at the back-post, with the centre-back’s header buried beyond Casilla.
Leeds would, of course, respond, with Ezgjan Alioski and Mateusz Klich off-target from outside the area, before Bamford failed to properly test Bart Bialkowski.
Klich was also brought down after a long break towards the edge of the area, but Darren England waved away appeals for a free-kick: the first of a series of decisions that left Elland Road furious.
Moments later, Stuart Dallas broke into the Millwall box to force a decent save from Bialkowski, but England didn’t see the goalkeeper’s touch, awarding a goal-kick.
Dallas would again test the Millwall goalkeeper, before Rowett’s side landed their second blow.
Woods retrieved a ball on the left side before feeding Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who worked his way into the area before drawing a foul from Alioski, giving England no option to point to the penalty spot.
Wallace sort of silenced the jeers directed at the referee by firing Millwall into a two-goal lead, leaving the crowd furious, with it their belief Woods had carried the ball out of play before feeding Bodvarsson.
Despite the protests, Millwall had a lead to protect and they did that, limiting Leeds’ chances and frustrating the home fans with clearance after clearance.
Again, Leeds aimed to respond, with Bamford’s back-post header blocked for a corner, with the resulting delivery headed straight at Bialkowski from Liam Cooper.
Hernandez then jinked his way into the area probing for a way back into the game, but his effort from a narrow angle was harmless.
Half-time came and so did more criticism of England; Leeds staring a third straight defeat in the face and Millwall well positioned to extend an impressive run of form.
Leeds were out early for the second-half and they were fired up to put a woeful opening 45 minutes behind them. On 48 minutes, they had a goal back.
Hernandez’s corner caused chaos in the Millwall area, with Bamford on hand to convert from close range.
Elland Road was fired up now, matching Leeds’ energy on the field.
The strings were being pulled by Hernandez, who had Bialkowski scrambling to push a looping effort over the bar, before Alioski and Jack Harrison wasted chances at the far post.
Bielsa’s side smelt blood, and before long, they had an equaliser when a cross fell the way of Hernandez on the edge of the area, with the Spaniard’s deflected effort beating Bialkowski.
And, before you had chance to breathe, Leeds were ahead; Luke Ayling’s cross from the right met by a diving Bamford, whose headed effort sent Elland Road wild on 66 minutes.
First-half frustrations a distant memory now.
Soaking up pressure from here didn’t feel like an option for the home side, who continued to push for more.
Helder Costa nearly delivered that as the game ticked past 75 minutes, working his way onto his left foot before curling the ball onto the crossbar.
Magnificent football from Leeds created another opening for Hernandez, but the playmaker couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough to test the busy Bialkowski.
Klich should’ve put the game to bed as we moved past 80 minutes, but the Polish international lost all composure as a ball fell his way 12 yards out, with a wild effort ending up in the Kop.
Alioski and Murray Wallace would exchange chances as stoppage time approached, with Leeds guilty of playing with fire at a time they shouldn’t have.
However, there would be no late sting from Millwall, with Leeds running out 3-2 winners, just as they did last season.
Relief around Elland Road at the full-time whistle: a first win in 2020 and back to the top of the Championship table.
For Millwall, stunned by a Leeds comeback in West Yorkshire for the second time in 10 months.
FULL-TIME: Leeds United 3-2 Millwall.