Aston Villa fail to break down 10-man Leeds in ill-tempered stalemate

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Leeds held on for a point after Luis Sinisterra was controversially sent off at Elland Road in an ill-tempered goalless draw against Aston Villa.

Colombia winger Sinisterra was dismissed early in the second half after failing to retreat from a free-kick and earning a second yellow card.

Villa created the better chances after Leeds went down to 10 men and went closest to a winner when Philippe Coutinho’s volley hit a post and Ollie Watkins headed the rebound wide.

But the game was dominated by both side’s insistence on winning the physical battle, with referee Stuart Attwell booking six other players as he struggled to retain control.

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Leeds boss Jesse Marsch watched from up in the gantry after his dismissal in his side’s last game at Brentford four weeks ago.

The American will have approved of his players’ commitment, but both sides treaded too close to the line and he will have bristled at the manner of Sinisterra’s needless dismissal.

Sinisterra, Marc Roca and Rodrigo were all booked by Attwell, as well as Villa debutant Ludwig Augustinsson, during a first half lacking in goalmouth action but not full-blooded endeavour.

Sinisterra and Robin Koch plus Villa’s Leon Bailey received yellow cards in the second period.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road

Stuart Attwell had a challenging afternoon at Elland Road (Tim Goode/PA)

Goalscoring chances were in short supply as the first half unfolded. Illan Meslier held shots from Watkins and Coutinho and John McGinn’s 25-yard effort was deflected wide.

The best move before the break belonged to Leeds and ended in Sinisterra flashing in a cross which evaded everyone on the edge of the six-yard box.

Leeds were reduced to 10 men three minutes after the restart.

When Douglas Luiz attempted to play a quick free-kick, the ball struck Sinisterra’s outstretched leg and Attwell booked the forward a second time for not retreating.

As Leeds fans vented their fury on Attwell, Villa threatened to take swift advantage, striking a post through Coutinho’s volley before Watkins headed the rebound wide.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road

Philippe Coutinho (left) struck the woodwork (Tim Goode/PA)

Leeds were in danger of imploding when defender Koch took out McGinn and the German was grateful for just a talking to by Attwell.

The home side sent on Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling with just over 20 minutes to go and their fresh legs gave Leeds a boost as Villa probed for the breakthrough.

Villa substitute Emiliano Buendia’s curling effort and Watkins’ low angled drive narrowly missed the mark, but Bamford lifted Leeds when he forced Emiliano Martinez into a diving save.

Watkins was denied by the on-rushing Meslier in the closing stages and at the other end McGinn produced a brilliant last-gasp tackle on Leeds substitute Mateusz Klich after Bamford’s gallop into the box.

The home fans let out a huge roar at the final whistle after their side had hung on, with resounding chants of “you’re not fit to referee” directed at Attwell.

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