Silvestri heroics send Leeds United into last eight of EFL Cup

Leeds United players celebrate after their penalty shoot out win over Norwich.
Leeds United players celebrate after their penalty shoot out win over Norwich.
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Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was the hero as Leeds United went through to the last eight of the EFL Cup in memorable style at Elland Road.

The Whites came from behind twice to draw 2-2 despite having to play the whole of extra-time with 10 men after full-back Lewie Coyle went off injured with all three subs having been used.

They then triumphed 3-2 on penalties with Silvestri making three saves and teenager Ronaldo Vieira putting away the deciding spot kick.

Silvestri also came up with some heroics in the game as he made a string of fine saves to deny Norwich in a game that started with a minute’s applause in memory of a former Leeds goalkeeping hero, Gary Sprake.

Norwich may wonder how they did not go through as they were the better side for most of the half and had control in the first half of extra-time, but Garry Monk’s men dug in and produced a battling display that made the head coach proud.

Both sides made eight changes from their side that played at the weekend with Leeds bringing in Silvestri in goal, Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi and Coyle in defence, Matt Grimes and Alex Mowatt in midfield and Souleymane Doukara and Marcus Antonsson up front.

It was Norwich who made all the early running and could have been ahead after just 14 seconds when Cooper presented the ball to Steven Naismith and the Scottish forward went through one-on-one only to be denied by Silvestri.

Naismith then sliced a shot wide from the edge of the box, but the visitors were ahead on 13 minutes when Robbie Brady’s cross found Alex Pritchard unmarked at the far post and his stooping header sent the ball into the net.

Leeds responded, but Mowatt was unable to make much contact on a far post header.

Norwich continued to play the better football, though and Josh Murphy saw his angled shot well held low down by Silvestri.

The home keeper then denied Brady after the Irish international had hit a bending shot that looked destined for the net and Nelson Oliveira saw his volley from a corner cleared off the line by Mowatt.

Murphy’s cross-shot was tipped away by Silvestri before the game opened up and Leeds thought they had scored.

Kyle Bartley met Mowatt’s corner to put the ball in the net, but he did so with his hand and was booked instead of being able to celebrate a goal.

Bartley was almost the villain at the other end as his risky pass on the edge of his own box was seized upon by Pritchard, whose shot was finger tipped away by Silvestri.

Against the run of play, United grabbed an equaliser two minutes before half-time when Kemar Roofe’s cross was met at the far post by Doukara and he volleyed the ball across goal where Antonsson was given the easiest of tap-ins from less than a yard out.

The action continued into injury-time with Pritchard’s free-kick going just wide and Antonsson hitting a snap shot that was tipped over by Norwich keeper John Ruddy.

The second half started in lively fashion as Louis Thompson was allowed to run 40 yards without a challenge, but sent his shot wide from the edge of the home area.

Doukara came close for Leeds with a header from a corner that was well saved by Ruddy.

At the other end the dangerous Oliveira turned inside the box and shot over. He then left Bartley for dead on a great run into the area and cut in from the left only to see his shot saved by Silvestri.

United carved out a golden chance to go ahead on 69 minutes as Doukara’s cross evaded everyone at the near post and fell for Mowatt, but the midfielder hooked his volley over from no more than eight yards out with the goal gaping.

Mowatt cut in from his right wing position five minutes later only to see his shot comfortably saved by ruddy.

Substitute Chris Wood looked lively when he came on for Antonsson and his snap shot from the edge of the box was only saved in two attempts by Ruddy.

Norwich still threatened as their sub, Sergi Canos, turned well to get a shot in that was well held low down by Silvestri.

In injury-time Leeds had one last chance with Kalvin Phillips’ free-kick flicking off a Norwich defender only for the ball to land on top of the net.

But the Whites were down to 10 men for extra-time when Coyle went off with a leg injury and they had no subs left. It looked like they had a mountain to climb when the visitors went back in front as defenders stood like statues to allow Oliveira a free header to sent the ball past Silvestri.

Norwich then knocked the ball around with ease and looked to be heading through only to be stunned 10 minutes from time as Hadi Sacko got on the end of Grimes’ ball forward and his low shot was parried by Ruddy straight to Wood who had an easy task to make it 2-2.

Leeds’ 10 men held on for the remainder and went into their second penalty shoot-out this season in this competition.

Graham Dorrans scored first for City with Wood levelling. Pritchard and Naismith both saw their efforts comfortably saved by Silvestri while Roofe scored for United and Phillips had his spot kick saved by Ruddy to make it 2-1.

When Oliveira scored classily and Grimes sent his penalty way over it looked like advantage Norwich, but Brady saw his effort brilliantly saved low down to his left by Silvestri and Vieira stepped up to nervelessly clinch Leeds’ place in the quarter-finals.

Match Facts

Leeds United 2

(Antonsson 43, Wood 110)

Norwich City 2

(Pritchard 13, Oliveira 98)

Leeds win 3-2 on penalties

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

EFL Cup, round four

Attendance: 22,222

Leeds United: Silvestri, Coyle, Bartley, Cooper, Berardi, Grimes, Mowatt (Sacko 76), Vieira, Roofe, Doukara (Phillips 81), Antonsson (Wood 67).

Norwich City: Ruddy, Godfrey (Turner 77), Bennett, Bassong, Brady, Tetty (Dorrans 45), Thompson, Murphy (Canos 71), Naismith, Pritchard, Oliveira.

Referee: Andy Woolmer