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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear

Toothless Lions have no answer to slickness of Leeds United's counter-attacks


Millwall (0) 0

Leeds United (1) 3 Piroe 15, 77, Georginio 80


The Lions were overpowered by emphatic finishing from a Leeds team which still carries the aura of a Premier League outfit.


Urged-on by their usual visceral supporters, Millwall threatened to upset the odds after a battling first half in which they had plenty of the ball and got forward in numbers.


But two quick goals midway through the second half ended the resistance - the visitors having taken a 1-0 lead into the break.


Lions fans were left seething when they fell behind - deciding they were on the wrong end of two decisions before Leeds broke away with the slickest of moves - ending with Joel Piroe slotting in from Georginio Rutter's pass.


The pace of Willy Gnonto in the initial break had left Millwall defenders trailing in his wake.


The Lions thought they might have had a shout for a penalty in the seconds before that breakaway when Luke Ayling went to ground, but ref Chris Kavanagh, who was well placed, signalled that the defender used his head rather than a hand to scramble the ball to safety.


A subsequent collision just outside the area between Piroe - the eventual scorer - and Kevin Nisbet - also left the official unmoved but it looked a foul and the Lions had more of a case.


Leeds always threatened in the speed of their raids, with Crysensio Summerville adding to the Premier League-quality hallmarks, but Millwall responded to going a goal down with their customary spirit.


Ryan Longman cut in from the left edge of the area to fire low to Illan Meslier's left - the keeper doing well to get down and palm away to his left. Billy Mitchell skied over after a promising move before the break involving Tom Bradshaw and the lively Brooke Norton-Cuffy down the right flank.


Casper De Norre created an opening for Bradshaw early in the second half - which was fired at Meslier from an angle - and more of the same pattern seemed likely with the Lions retaining hopes of a comeback.


Yet Leeds might have put the game almost out of sight before the hour was up when only Jake Cooper's superb last-ditch tackle denied Summerville from close range.


And not long after Gary Rowett had made a triple substitution in a bid to chase that elusive equaliser, the visitors sealed it when Piroe claimed his second - tapping in from no distance after sub Dan James had powered into the heart of the danger zone and laid the ball out wide before collecting the return.


In the next counter-attack, James was again provider, laying the ball across the area for the ever-dangerous Georginio to finish emphatically to send a majority of home fans heading for the exits with 10 minutes left. Only chanting away fans seemed present by the end.


Millwall had been unbeaten in their last six matches against Leeds at the Den, winning five of them, but their struggle for goals this season - they had four in six fixtures before today - meant recovering from the early setback was always going to be a big challenge. And so it proved.


Their season is still spluttering rather than taking off.


Lions: (3-1-4-2) Bialkowski - Leonard, Cooper, Wallace - Mitchell (Saville 84) - Norton-Cuffy, Campbell (Esse 64), De Norre (Flemming 64), Longman (Emakhu 73) - Bradshaw, Nisbet (Watmore 64)


Leeds: (4-2-3-1) Meslier - Ayling, Rodon, Struijk, Byram - Gray, Ampadu - Summerville (James 69), Piroe (Kamara 83), Gnonto (Anthony 69) - Georginio

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