Struijk late goal against Brighton earns Leeds vital draw

Premier League round-up: Leicester put five goals past sorry Watford

Leeds United 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1

Pascal Struijk headed a stoppage-time equaliser as Leeds snatched a vital point in their fight for Premier League survival with a 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Late substitute Struijk headed home at the far post in the second minute of added time to lift Leeds out of the bottom three after Danny Welbeck had given Albion a half-time lead at Elland Road.

Following relegation rivals Burnley’s defeat at Tottenham earlier on Sunday, Struijk’s last-gasp leveller ensured Leeds’ bid to retain their top-flight status will be decided on the final day of the season.

Leeds almost made a dream start when Joe Gelhardt’s effort following a corner was inadvertently blocked on the goal-line by the face of his skipper Liam Cooper.

But Brighton wasted little time in showing their intentions as they close in on their highest-ever finish in English football by creating two big chances in quick succession.

Moises Caicedo shot straight at Illan Meslier from six yards and then Solly March dragged his attempt wide after finding himself one-on-one with the Leeds goalkeeper.

Pascal Gross was next to test Meslier as the hosts repeatedly gave up the ball and Brighton far too easily exposed their frailties at the back.

The visitors’ opening goal duly arrived, courtesy of more lightweight Leeds defending, in the 21st minute and the hosts only had themselves to blame.

Club-record signing Rodrigo — not for the first time — dithered in possession and Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma was left unchallenged as he came away with the ball and ventured into Leeds’ half.

Bissouma’s ball down the right channel appeared to pose little immediate danger, but Welbeck out-paced and out-muscled Diego Llorente before dinking an excellent finish over Meslier.

Leeds improved once falling behind and were denied an equaliser in the 42nd minute when Mateusz Klich’s shot was brilliantly saved at full stretch by Robert Sanchez.

Raphinha snatched at a half-opening early in the second period and Jack Harrison blazed over.

Leeds, roared on by another full house, swept forward again and Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk rescued his side when deflecting Rodrigo’s flick from Raphinha’s cross off-target.

Sanchez produced another flying save to keep out Raphinha’s thumping drive and the Brazilian then turned Rodrigo’s arcing low cross just the wrong side of a post as Leeds built a head of steam.

Klich was next to be thwarted by the inspired Sanchez and Gelhardt’s low shot fizzed inches wide as Leeds pressed for an equaliser.

With time running out, the home fans sensed it was not to be their day and a section turned on the club’s hierarchy.

A chorus of “Sack the board” rang out as Welbeck missed a golden chance to seal victory for the Seagulls in the closing stages by heading Leandro Trossard’s cross wide.

But in the second minute of added time, Gelhardt evaded several challenges in Brighton’s box and crossed to the far post where Struijk rose to head home a vital equaliser.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Norwich City 1

Rayan Ait-Nouri’s first goal in 19 months salvaged a point for Wolves against relegated Norwich.

The defender — who had not scored since his 2020 debut — struck to rescue a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

Yet eighth-placed Wolves extended their winless run to six — a streak which officially ended their hopes of a return to the Europa League.

They were forced to come from behind after Teemu Pukki’s 11th goal of the season gave the Canaries a first-half lead.

Relegated Norwich did at least end a run of five straight defeats but they remain bottom of the Premier League.

If the Canaries were going to salvage any late pride from another awful season they needed a dramatic improvement at Molineux.

Indeed the visitors wasted two glorious chances to open the scoring inside the first 15 minutes through Pukki.

They twice found a way through Wolves too easily, first when Kieran Dowell slipped in Pukki and the striker skewed a poor effort wide of the far post with just John Ruddy to beat.

Soon after, Mathias Normann clipped a fine pass behind the home defence only for Ruddy to deny Pukki, with Toti Gomes mopping up as Dowell tried to pounce.

Wolves were yet to find second gear, a few nice touches from Joao Moutinho aside, and failed to seriously trouble a defence which had already conceded a league-high 78 goals.

The majority of the first half was played at pre-season pace with the home fans imploring their club not to sell Ruben Neves — linked with a summer move — as the on-pitch action failed to catch their attention.

Raul Jimenez’s ambitious volley dropped over but the hosts were too pedestrian and paid the price eight minutes before the break.

Max Aarons seized on a loose ball and fed Pukki on the right, with the striker cutting inside faced by Conor Coady and Toti.

Both defenders encouraged the Finland international by giving him too much space and the striker’s effort took a slight deflection off Coady to wrongfoot Ruddy and roll in.

Wretched Wolves could only improve and Pedro Neto drilled wide after the break before they levelled 10 minutes into the half.

Chiquinho’s half-time introduction had lifted Wolves from their slumber and he was tripped by Dimitris Giannoulis on the right.

Norwich failed to clear Moutinho’s fine free-kick and the ball bounced kindly for Ait-Nouri — who still had plenty to do — to loop a header into the bottom corner.

Wolves sensed an instant second and Chiquinho’s delicious cross was met by a diving Neto, only for Angus Gunn to turn his header over.

But they lost momentum quickly and could not find another way through as the game meandered to an inevitable draw.

Watford 1 Leicester City 5

Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes each scored twice as Roy Hodgson’s final home match in charge of relegated Watford ended in an embarrassing 5-1 Premier League loss to Leicester.

Joao Pedro’s deflected effort gave the Hornets an early lead in front of incoming head coach Rob Edwards.

But familiar defensive issues contributed to the hosts’ downfall as James Maddison’s leveller and doubles from Vardy and Barnes condemned them to a 26th Premier League loss of a miserable campaign.

The Foxes’ victory was relatively straightforward after their ongoing set-piece frailties were exposed early on and keeps them on course for a fifth-successive top-half finish.

Meanwhile, Watford’s latest defeat equals the overall top-flight record of 15 home reverses in a season and leaves former Forest Rovers boss Edwards in little doubt about the major summer overhaul required.

Veteran former England manager Hodgson, who turns 75 in August, will depart Hertfordshire having failed to taste victory on home soil and with just next weekend’s trip to Chelsea to improve a paltry return of nine points from 51 available since his January appointment.

Successor Edwards, who led Forest Green to the League Two title this term, received a ripple of applause as he was unveiled to a sparsely-populated stadium ahead of kick-off.

How many of the current squad will be at his disposal in the Championship next season remains to be seen but he had reason for early encouragement as the injury-hit hosts raced ahead.

Leicester made a mess of repelling a corner from Ken Sema and, following a couple of ricochets, Pedro fired home via a substantial touch from Timothy Castagne.

Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes have now conceded a league-high 26 times from set-pieces this term.

They almost fell further behind following another Sema corner but Adam Masina’s instinctive prod came back off the crossbar, before goalkeeper Danny Ward was alert to deny Pedro moments later.

Hodgson believes Watford are well placed to bounce back to the top flight next term.

Yet his side’s afternoon soon began to fall apart as rearguard issues, which have dogged a dismal season, allowed the dominant visitors to turn the game on its head in a clinical five-minute spell.

Craig Cathcart — a late addition to an initially unchanged starting XI after Samir was injured in the warm-up — collided with Masina as they attempted to deal with Jonny Evans’ long ball over the top and, faced with Ben Foster, Youri Tielemans calmly teed up Maddison for a simple finish into the roof of the empty net.

Matters were swiftly compounded, with Foster at fault on this occasion.

The former England goalkeeper rushed to the edge of his box in a bid to punch clear Maddison’s diagonal delivery but was beaten to the ball by Vardy, who gleefully headed into the unguarded goal with just 22 minutes on the clock.

Travelling fans wasted little time in taunting their lowly hosts, only to be dismissed with chants of “You’re nothing special, we lose every week”.

Both sides opted for changes at the break, with Hassane Kamara replacing Dan Gosling for the hosts and Marc Albrighton on for Foxes team-mate Nampalys Mendy.

Leicester’s alteration had an instant impact.

Approximately 17 seconds after the restart, Albrighton delivered an inviting cross from the right and the unmarked Barnes was on hand to divert a low volley under Foster at the far post.

Vardy — who also claimed a brace in the midweek win over Norwich — capitalised on another Cathcart misjudgement to race clear and put the result beyond doubt with still 20 minutes to go.

To Watford’s credit, they did show some fight and Foxes goalkeeper Ward — making his first Premier League appearance for the club — twice denied Pedro.

However, the Hornets’ misery was compounded four minutes from time as Maddison fed Barnes, who expertly drilled across goal and into the bottom-right corner.

It prompted more boos from the disgruntled home support, albeit some stayed behind to applaud their side during a low-key lap of honour.

Aston Villa 1 Crystal Palace 1

Substitute Jeffrey Schlupp netted a late equaliser as Crystal Palace secured a 1-1 draw at fellow Premier League mid-table side Aston Villa.

Schlupp, three minutes after coming on, finished from close range in the 81st minute to cancel out Ollie Watkins’ 69th-minute opener.

Lucas Digne had a strike saved by Jack Butland and Watkins hit a shot wide in stoppage time as a subsequent Villa push to reclaim the lead proved in vain.

The result left Patrick Vieira’s Palace and Steven Gerrard’s Villa still in 11th and 12th place respectively, a point apart.

After Gerrard and his team performed a pre-match guard of honour for players who were part of Villa’s 1982 European Cup triumph, the hosts made a lively start to the contest, with Danny Ings sending two early shots off-target.

Philippe Coutinho, on his first appearance since his loan at Villa from Barcelona was turned into a permanent deal earlier in the week, then tried his luck from distance, firing wide in the 11th minute.

Palace responded with a Conor Gallagher header that was blocked by Ezri Konsa and Eberechi Eze drilling wide before Wilfried Zaha saw a strike pushed away by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Ings went close just after the half-hour mark with a curling attempt after receiving the ball from Watkins, and Martinez was then called into action again at the other end as he dived to turn behind a shot by Nathaniel Clyne.

Clyne subsequently skewed a further effort into the stand as the interval neared, while Zaha vented his frustration after a tackle by John McGinn, briefly squaring up to the Scot and then protesting to referee Chris Kavanagh.

Villa suffered a setback in the opening moments of the second half with Konsa limping off following a coming together with Jean-Philippe Mateta, Calum Chambers coming on as the replacement.

Chambers made the intervention to clear when Zaha tried to find space to shoot in the Villa box soon after.

Zaha was then to the fore again as his reaction to another McGinn challenge on him drew heckles from Villa fans and the Ivory Coast international opted to cup his ears to the crowd.

Martinez made another save as he dealt with a deflected Gallagher shot, before Villa made the breakthrough when Digne crossed from the left and Watkins, battling with Marc Guehi at the far post, got on the end of it to divert the ball past Butland.

The lead lasted just over 10 minutes, with Palace restoring parity when Gallagher crossed, Guehi headed the ball on and Schlupp tapped in.

The remainder of the game saw Villa apply considerable pressure as they sought a winner, but Watkins saw a header blocked by the head of Joachim Andersen, Butland pushed away a firm Digne hit and Watkins then sent a shot across the face of goal and wide.