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Norwich City 0-0 Leeds United: All to play for in semi-final after cagey draw

Leeds boss Daniel Farke

Norwich City and Leeds United played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final at Carrow Road on Sunday, leaving the tie perfectly poised ahead of the second leg at Elland Road.

Both sides struggled to carve out clear-cut chances as caution reigned, though Leeds felt hard done by in the first half as Wilfried Gnonto saw a penalty appeal waved away and Junior Firpo was denied by the offside flag when putting the ball in the net.

Championship Player of the Season Crysencio Summerville was well shackled by the hosts, but former Norwich boss Daniel Farke may be the more pleased of the two managers, with Leeds stopping the rot after back-to-back defeats dashed their automatic promotion hopes.

The teams will reconvene in Yorkshire for the second leg on Thursday, with David Wagner’s men needing a better result than the 1-0 defeat they suffered on their last trip in January.

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Leeds were perhaps unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty six minutes in, as Borja Sainz appeared to drag Gnonto to the ground right on the line of the 18-yard box.

Norwich enjoyed a good spell as Illan Meslier got away with a couple of nervy moments at the back, but the Canaries benefitted from a huge let-off of their own on the half-hour mark, with Georginio Rutter flagged for the most marginal of offside calls before Firpo finished into an open goal.

Things briefly livened up after the restart as Gabriel Sara shot wide at one end and Summerville worked Angus Gunn at the other.

However, that increase in tempo was only temporary as the game reverted to a scrappy affair, with Farke replacing Gnonto and Rutter with Jaidon Anthony and Joel Piroe in a bid to introduce more attacking zeal.

The visitors exerted greater control throughout the closing stages, but they failed to truly threaten Gunn between the sticks, with a routine save from Anthony’s tame shot all that was required of the Norwich shot-stopper.

With away goals not a factor in the play-offs, it will be a case of winner-takes-all on Thursday, with a trip to Wembley Stadium to face either Southampton or West Brom the prize.

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Harry Carr

Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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