Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa earns praise for sportsmanship after Villa controversy

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to allow Aston Villa to walk in a goal drew widespread praise on social media.

Former Argentina boss Bielsa ordered his team to let Villa score after Mateusz Klich had broken the deadlock in controversial circumstances in their Championship clash at Elland Road.

Klich was played in by Tyler Roberts as, with Jonathan Kodjia down injured, the Villa players appeared to stop playing under the assumption Leeds would put the ball out for a throw-in.

A huge melee followed, in which Anwar El Ghazi was controversially sent off for a clash with Patrick Bamford, but Bielsa calmed the situation down by ordering his team to let Villa score.

The draw confirmed Sheffield United would claim the second automatic promotion spot ahead of Leeds though, because of the Blades’ superior goal difference, that was all but certain anyway.

Now there is a chance Leeds and Villa could meet again in the play-offs at either the semi-final or final stage.

While many were impressed with the sportsmanship shown by Bielsa – who was criticised in some quarters for his role in the so-called Spygate controversy earlier this season – some were not convinced there was any need for Leeds to have gifted Villa the goal.

Former Villa player Ian Taylor was among those praising Bielsa, though he described Bamford’s role in the incident as “embarrassing”.

Bamford appeared to make the most of any contact in his altercation with El Ghazi, which saw the Villa man sent off.

There was also some sympathy though with Leeds defender Pontus Jansson, who tried, albeit half-heartedly, to stop Villa scoring despite the instructions from his manager.

At the end of it all some were just left hoping that the two teams will meet again in the play-off final.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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