Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul controversially dodged a red card as his side comprehensively leapfrogged over Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United to the top of the Championship on Saturday night.
The away-day specialists stunned Marcelo Bielsa’s frontrunners with a goal in each half from Mario Vrancic and another strike from their leading scorer Teemu Pukki.
The Canaries now lead the table on goal difference but Leeds were left fuming after 26 minutes when Krul rushed outside his area at 1-0 and jumped into Tyler Roberts, felling the striker as he lobbed into the side netting.
Teemu Pukki celebrates after doubling Norwich's lead in their victory over Leeds
Pukki taps in from after Mario Vrancic's shot is deflected into the Finnish striker's path
Though referee Stuart Attwell judged Norwich had defenders covering the goal-line to let Krul off with a booking, the ferocity of challenge itself would probably have led to a dismissal if committed by a defender.
The pumped-up Krul then wound up Leeds by celebrating his side's second goal and went head to head with Leeds sub Patrick Bamford as he celebrated his side's win.
Looking at the bigger picture however, Leeds must be getting worried that their form is on the wane while Norwich get stronger and stronger. Third-place Sheffield United are only a point behind the pair.
Bielsa’s side have now lost five of their last seven games in all competitions while Norwich boss Daniel Farke has seen his side lose only one league game since early October. They have suffered just one defeat on the road all season.
Mario Vrancic celebrates with Emi Buendia after his free-kick put Norwich ahead
Vrancic's shot took a deflection on its way into the top corner at Elland Road
LEEDS (4-1-4-1): Casilla, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Alioski, Forshaw, Roberts (Bamford 63), Harrison (Clarke 45), Klich, Hernandez (Douglas 45), Roofe.
Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Shackleton, Gotts
Yellow cards: Roberts, Roofe
Scorers: Bamford (90)
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Lewis, Vrancic, Trybull (Tettey 84), Buendia (McLean 85), Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki (Rhodes 87).
Subs not used: Hanley, Srbeny McGovern, Cantwell
Yellow cards: Krul
Scorers: Vrancic (5, 78) Pukki (35)
Manager: Daniel Farke
Referee: Stuart Attwell
With Elland Road housing its first sell-out for two years and the local Yorkshire Evening Post splashing it as “The Showdown” you could smell the anticipation.
The teams were first and second at the start of the weekend and both desperate to return to the Premier League where they think they belong.
Marcelo Bielsa is the 16th manager Leeds have employed since losing their top-flight status in 2004 – and by far the most charismatic.
The Argentine is revered by Pep Guardiola, sits on a bucket to watch games and is thorough enough to ask staff to hide in bushes to watch United’s opponents train.
Norwich dropped out of the Premier League more recently, in 2016, but have also surpassed expectations this season under their impressive German coach, Daniel Farke.
The wall of noise that greeted kick off was like the Elland Road of old, the days of Billy Bremner through Eric Cantona to Alan Smith and Harry Kewell. A minute’s applause in memory of ex-Leeds striker Phil