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Leeds United v Leicester City: Championship – live

Everyone take a breath. Grab a drink, and a kit-kat, other chocolate bars are available.

A breathless first half comes to a close with Leicester in the ascendancy, but with neither side giving a single inch. Leeds have played some cracking football without really testing Mads Hermansen, while the visitors took their chance through Wout Faes. That’s the difference after 45 minutes.

As it stands, Leicester would be surely en route to the Championship title, while Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes would be dealt a significant blow. BUT – and it’s a big but – you feel there are plenty more twists and turns for us in this contest.

We’re now into two added minutes. This has been an enthralling watch.

45 mins: Leeds have two players lying on the deck, amid appeals for a free-kick (or two) – which Pawson ignores. Leicester can’t get the right pass away to launch a counterattack and capitalise.

43 mins: Phenomenal stuff from Dewsbury-Hall there, just to glide away from the challenges and take his team up the pitch. Sensational feet.

42 mins: Rutter and Gnonto almost get in each other’s way … in fact it’s very messy from Leeds on the edge of the Leicester box and eventually an offside flag goes up. Farke puffs out his cheeks.

40 mins: The territorial advantage lies with Leeds, who have also had the bulk of possession and have not been without chances in this game. They’ve just lacked that clinical touch in front of goal, as Summerville exemplifies with a wild old shot that flies into the stand.

37 mins: No shots on target for Leeds yet … however, there’s a chance to conjure something up here as they win a corner. It’s tough-tackling stuff from Leicester to defend it, though, with Mavididi taking it clear.

36 mins: Leeds appeared to be building up a head of steam with some nice triangles down their inside-right channel, but Gray overhits his cross in the end.

34 mins: Rutter is looking to set Summerville off and running as Vestergaard, running back towards his own goal, buys a cheap free-kick. The Leeds fans don’t like that.

32 mins: “Where’s your famous atmosphere?” is the taunt from the travelling Leicester fans, who are clearly enjoying the current scoreline and maybe the fact the game has calmed down a touch.

An early contender for pun of the night, courtesy of Peter Oh:

Speaking of the middle of the pitch, any chance that the respective number 8s have locked horns, or at least eyes? [Winks at Kamara.]

30 mins: Leeds are enjoying a rare spell of low-tempo possession, with Leicester happy to sit in for the time being. The home side really do have some great ball-players: Gnonto, Rutter and Kamara are all impressive at the moment.

This is the goal that separates the sides as we approach the half-hour mark.

27 mins: It’s ice-cool from Firpo to chest it back to Meslier under pressure in his own box. Seconds earlier, Meslier hadn’t been so composed under pressure from Daka … he passed it out of play.

It’s becoming a bit stop-start with tackles flying in once more. Dewsbury-Hall is down clutching his ankle.

26 mins: Rutter was again the architect for Leeds in creating that latest Summerville chance. The home side look so dangerous on the transition, but their final ball and/or finishing has let them down so far.

24 mins: Summerville is denied by a last-ditch challenge by the sliding Vestergaard. This is chaos right now, but it’s absolutely brilliant to watch.

23 mins: The middle of the pitch seems to have become completely – and alarmingly – open in this game. It’s end-to-end stuff already.

22 mins: Oh, Gnonto, what have you done? Rutter has been sublime so far and plays the Italian into a lovely pocket of space in the Leicester box. But Gnonto’s touch is so poor, so heavy and it allows the visitors to shuttle back and block.

20 mins: A super run from Dewsbury-Hall ends with the midfielder taking a tumble in the penalty box … under very minimal contact. Nothing doing there.

19 mins: As Enzo Maresca receives treatment for an injury he’s suffered on the touchline, Pereira receives the first yellow card of the game. And it’s a poor decision by Craig Pawson. The Portuguese clearly won the ball.

18 mins: All the noise is being made by the Leicester fans now. That Faes goal has got them bouncing.

17 mins: A chance for Leeds to hit back immediately … and again Piroe has squandered it. Gnonto’s cross from the right found the No 9 in acres of space. It wasn’t the easiest header but it’s guided well wide.

Faes scores from the resulting corner! Daka flung himself at the ball to flick it on at the near post – and the centre-back is there to nod it in at the back stick.

Elland Road is stunned.

15 mins: Both managers are keen on the inverted full-back role, with Archie Gray stepping inside to play that for Leeds.

The hosts are caught this time, though, with Mavididi laying it back to Daka after winning it, with the shot forcing Meslier to fingertip over.

12 mins: Pereira finds his way into the Leeds box to latch onto a cross, but his header is lacking power and easily gobbled up by Meslier. The tempo has just slowed a tad now.

10 mins: Leicester want to pass it around. Leeds want to press high. It’s making for interesting – and frenetic – viewing.

9 mins: We must have had half a dozen shots at goal already in this game, the latest of which comes from Harry Winks, who is Leicester’s midfield metronome but not known for his shooting. Aaaand that’s why. He was miles out and dragged it very wide.

7 mins: There’s a few tasty challenges going in. Gruev on Dewsbury-Hall, there, brings about a free-kick for Leicester. Moments earlier Choudhury had been on the receiving end of one, too.

Fatawu picks up the scraps after a half-clearance but he wallops over.

5 mins: Now a chance for Leeds after Gray overlaps from right-back and it falls quite kindly for Piroe … over the crossbar! A nice flick from Gnonto to set that up. But the finish was terrible.

4 mins: Despite Choudhury being a midfielder and Pereira being a right-back, Choudhury is playing right-back and Pereira looks to be playing in midfield. Leicester are getting themselves into the game, enjoying a spell on the ball. Dewsbury-Hall drills wide on his left foot.

2 mins: No shortage of impetus from either side in the opening minutes, as Leeds get it forward, Rutter turns nicely and darts down the left, winning the home side a corner.

Vestergaard heads it to safety.

1 min: A team all in white against a team all in blue. Ain’t that a sight for sore eyes. Farke and Maresca look rather more relaxed than the two sets of supporters.

Let’s goooooooo!

The players are out and we’re good to go. Game faces on, everyone.

Daniel Farke tells the TV cameras “it’s important not to break the rhythm and use the momentum” of an eight-match winning run – although he says Leeds’ good results of late will not necessarily help them today.

“This atmosphere is second to none in this country,” he says of the Elland Road roar that awaits his troops. “It’s a good option for us to find another gear tonight.”

This song feels apt, given the venue and atmosphere tonight.

Let’s be honest, this should really be a Premier League fixture. It has all the hallmarks of one: lots riding on it, a bumper crowd, high quality benches on both sides. It’s a damn sight more interesting than Luton v Burnley (sorry guys, it just is). We’ve even got a Premier League ref gracing us with his presence. Welcome Craig Pawson!

These two sides will just hope this is a Premier League game in 2024/25.

If the Lionesses’ clash with Austria tickles your fancy, then that’s our other live football offering this evening and John Brewin is your man.

It does seem like Leeds have the stronger substitutes’ bench tonight. Farke truly has an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal, for this level.

Leicester are not in the best of moments, as modern managers like to say, despite being top of the league. Wilfred Ndidi is out long-term, Kelechi Iheanacho is still missing and it seems Jamie Vardy has an injury, too, which keeps him out of the matchday squad. Throw in the fact that the Foxes lost their previous game and you have a few wobbles for Maresca’s men to deal with.

That said, a win today would probably put the rubber seal on automatic promotion for them and only four Championship teams (Middlesbrough twice, Coventry, Leeds and Hull) have actually beaten Leicester this season. They’re still a formidable outfit.

Leeds: Meslier, Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo, Gruev, Kamara, Summerville, Rutter, Gnonto, Piroe

Subs: Klaesson, Cresswell, Cooper, Roberts, Shackleton, James, Joseph, Anthony, Bamford

Leicester: Hermansen, Pereira, Faes, Vestegaard, Justin, Winks, Choudhury, Dewsbury-Hall, Fatawu, Mavididi, Daka

Subs: Stolarczyk, Coady, Doyle, Nelson, Praet, Akgün, McAteer, Albrighton, Cannon

Well. What a game this promises to be. The absolute best of the Championship, a game that will probably eclipse plenty of Premier League matches in terms of quality, stature and competitiveness. “This is a special game, this is why we started to play football,” said Daniel Farke earlier this week as he looked forward to a sizzling Elland Road atmosphere under the Friday night lights – it’s second versus first in the second tier.

With Leicester currently enjoying a seven-point cushion at the top, it’s probably a bigger game for Leeds tonight. They can feel Ipswich and Southampton breathing down their necks, and those teams in third and fourth respectively have fairly friendly home games tomorrow – in which they’ll be expected to capitalise on any Leeds slip-up.

Where’s your money, then? Leeds have won five on the bounce going into this one, while Enzo Maresca’s side suffered a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough last time out. The Whites were the victors by a solitary goal when the two sides faced off at the King Power in November.

It’s an 8pm GMT kick-off tonight and it should be a genuine cracker. Don’t miss out.

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