Soccer-Coutinho Sparkles For Villa, But Leeds Grab Draw In Thriller


BIRMINGHAM, England: Leeds United battled again to earn a 3-3 draw at Aston Villa after a virtuoso first-half show by Philippe Coutinho had left Marcelo Bielsa’s staff crestfallen on Wednesday.

Brazilian Coutinho canceled out an early opener by Daniel James with an aesthetic end after which produced two majestic passes for Jacob Ramsey to attain twice in 5 minutes.

James bravely nodded Leeds again into the competition in stoppage time on the finish of a rollercoaster opening interval.

Leeds, who’ve fallen too near the relegation zone for consolation, acquired their reward for a tenacious show within the 63rd minute when a nook fell on the toes of Diego Llorente and he fired house from shut vary.

The draw left Leeds in fifteenth place with 23 factors, six factors above third-from-bottom Norwich City, whereas Villa are in eleventh place with 27 factors.

A scintillating first-half was described by Villa supervisor Steven Gerrard as “chaos” and he was not wrong, although no one was complaining about the rich entertainment on offer.

“It was frantic, end-to-end and 100 mph. We almost brought into the Leeds style and we needed more calm heads out there so it looked more like our style,” Gerrard mentioned.

“A draw was the appropriate outcome. A enjoyable recreation for the followers tonight however not one for the coaches!”

Former Manchester United winger James got the ball rolling with a low finish in the ninth minute and he came agonisingly close to making it 2-0 with a thumping effort against the crossbar.

Villa made the most of that slice of good fortune and equalized almost immediately when Matty Cash cut a ball back from the byline and Coutinho took a touch before firing a shot on the turn beyond Illan Meslier.

Barcelona loanee Coutinho, who marked his Villa debut with an equalizer at Manchester United last month, then took over.

An exquisite pass sent in Ramsey to beat Meslier in the 38th minute and he produced a carbon copy five minutes later to split the Leeds defense again, this time Ramsey lashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Leeds looked shellshocked but James somehow got his head to a deflected Rodrigo cross to nod over the line and at least send the visitors back to the changing room with hope.

Llorente fired in following a poor clearance by Tyrone Mings from a corner and in a frenetic finale tempers began to fray with Villa’s Ezri Konsa sent off after catching Meslier with his forearm as a corner was played in.

While there were several candidates for man-of-the-match, Coutinho’s display in the first half had Gerrard purring.

“It was vintage Philippe Coutinho tonight. He’s certainly getting back close to where he was when the whole world was speaking about him,” Gerrard mentioned.

“He will get higher and higher. He is a pleasure to work with.”

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