Brentford and Leeds United shared the points in a high-intensity game at Griffin Park. A game with few clear-cut chances was defined by two goalkeeping mistakes. A calamitous error from Kiko Casilla presented Saïd Benrahma with Brentford’s goal but David Raya missed a punch in a crowd of players from a corner later in the half and Liam Cooper equalised for Leeds. And that’s how it finished.
Overall, The Bees will probably feel they deserved a share of the spoils. Leeds had more of the ball and more shots but didn’t create many good opportunities as Brentford defended very well. And with The Bees unable to make the most of their counter-attacking opportunities, the game finished all square.
The game started at a ferocious pace. There were chances at both ends in the early stages as the teams pushed forward when they could and hustled when out of possession. The game was stretched as both sides were happy to get high up the pitch when they didn’t have the ball. That left gaps to play in but with both sides well-drilled, those spaces were hard to exploit.
The best chance of the first quarter of the contest went the way of the visitors and was due to their high position without the ball. Henrik Dalsgaard was robbed by Jack Harrison and was suddenly in on goal. He weaved past Julian Jeanvier and chose to shoot rather than pass to Patrick Bamford. Fortunately for Brentford, the shot was weak and Raya saved comfortably.
Luke Ayling also had a header saved for Leeds in the early stages while Casilla saved from Josh Dasilva at the other end after space had been created in midfield. Ollie Watkins was also just unable to get on the end of a Mathias Jensen free kick in those opening moments with Bryan Mbeumo also lurking. Leeds probably had the better of that opening 20 minutes, with Kalvin Phillips influential in the centre of midfield, but it was Brentford who went ahead.
The goal came 25 minutes in and was a moment to forget for Casilla. Cooper played a firm back pass from the left but nothing that should have unduly worried the Leeds goalkeeper. But he failed to control, slipped and presented the ball to Benrahma, who tapped in to put The Bees in front. It was a goal out of nothing but did come at a time when Brentford were starting to take control. They had gone close just before when Watkins, after a move involving a collection of Brentford players, set up Christian Nørgaard for a shot that beat Casilla but faded away just past the post.
The Bees also went close just after the goal when Nørgaard got away from a throw in and fed the ball across, Watkins dummied and Benrahma shot but Ayling deflected it over the bar. Leeds did, however, respond well to going behind. They came close to an equaliser when Pablo Hernãndez let fly after a cross dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area, but Raya was alert and tipped it over.
And seven minutes before the break, they were level. It was another goal that owed more to the defence than the attack as a corner came in from the right and Raya failed to make a good connection on his punch. The ball dropped in to the centre of the penalty area and Cooper was in the right place to poke it home. Leeds had worked their way back in to the game and had restored parity at a vital stage in the game.
They could have gone in ahead at the break when Hélder Costa got on the end of a cross from the left and met it with a powerful diving header. But it flew past the far post and ensured the game was level at the interval. It had been a frantic beginning and end to the half and there were signs of tiredness from many players as they left the pitch at the break, the exertions taking their toll.
The visitors probably had slightly the better of the first half, with Phillips the key player in the contest, and they dominated the ball at the start of the second period as well. The game was, however, fairly even just after the interval with chances at both ends. The Bees were a little more direct than their visitors, looking to play in behind and get the ball in to the final third while Leeds were patient in defence, which meant they had more of the ball but not all the chances.
Raya saved an Ayling effort from the edge of the penalty area and Bamford then headed over when well-placed. Jensen had a shot deflect wide at the other end and went close again soon after. A corner was cleared and Dasilva lifted it back in, Jensen arrived at the far post and headed the bouncing ball over Casilla, but a defender was well placed to clear. The ball came back again and Casilla saved at the feet of Watkins, albeit having to scramble a bit to do so.
Ayling had another shot blocked for Leeds and was involved in a move down the right that should have seen them take the lead. Mateusz Klich broke away in to space but was unable to pick out Harrison with a pass as Dalsgaard made a vital interception. The ball dropped to Costa, but he failed to trouble Raya with a weak shot. Dalsgaard blocked another Harrison shot after Dasilva was robbed by the brilliant Phillips in midfield.
Phillips had a header blocked from a corner and Bamford hooked a shot over the bar as Leeds started to take control with the game entering the final quarter. Stuart Dallas also had a shot blocked for the visitors but as the minutes ticked down, the chances started to dry up. Benrahma hit a defensive wall with a free kick and a Hernãndez effort deflected over in the dying minutes but defences were on top in the final stages and neither team could find the crucial winning goal.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Pinnock, Henry; Dasilva (sub Marcondes 63 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen (sub Fosu 89 mins); Mbeumo (sub Baptiste 89 mins), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Racic, Roerslev, Valencia
Leeds United: Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Klich, Phillips; Costa, Hernãndez, Harrison; Bamford (sub Augustin 76 mins)
Subs (not used): Meslier, Douglas, Alioski, Berardi, Shackleton, Stevens
Attendance: 12,294 (1,602 away fans)