Last-gasp Pablo Hernandez strike sinks Swans

Former Swansea City star Pablo Hernandez struck in the final minute of play for Leeds United to ensure his old employers missed the chance to climb back into the Championship’s top six.

The game looked destined to end all square after Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher had gone close for the hosts while Patrick Bamford was superbly denied by Freddie Woodman.

But substitute Hernandez broke Swansea hearts at the death as Leeds edged ever closer to securing the league title while the Swans have three matches left in their attempt to secure a play-off spot.

Both managers resisted the urge to make changes to their most recent team selections, with Swansea naming the same squad which beat Birmingham City 3-1 while Leeds chose the same starting XI that took to the field in their 5-0 demolition job of Stoke City.

Leeds players warmed up while wearing white shirts with “RIP Big Jack” printed on the front in tribute to the late Jack Charlton who died on Friday.

There was a minute’s silence for the 1966 World Cup winner prior to kick-off, while both sets of players took the knee in respect of the Black Lives Matter movement after a period of applause for key workers.

The Whites had not won at Swansea since Don Revie’s side claimed a 3-0 victory at the Vetch Field in April 1964, and Steve Cooper’s troops went into the game knowing they would move into the top six for the first time since beating Wigan in January if that record was extended.

The tone was set early on as Leeds enjoyed prolonged periods on the ball, although it was the hosts who created the better chances as Brewster fired a tame shot at Illan Meslier before Gallagher had a shot blocked.

Stuart Dallas of Leeds United is tackled by Connor Roberts of Swansea City

Marcelo Bielsa cut an increasingly frustrated figure on the sidelines, but he was almost celebrating just before the game’s first drinks break as Kyle Naughton almost turned a driven cross beyond Woodman, although the ball mercifully rolled into the side netting.

The visitors improved after taking on some much needed fluids in the Swansea sunshine, with Woodman being forced to palm away Stuart Dallas’ strike after it took a deflection off Connor Roberts.

There was a real spice to the game, understandably so with so much at stake for both sides. Referee Keith Stroud dished out yellow cards to Brewster, Jay Fulton and Mateusz Klich in quick succession.

But the league leaders should have gone ahead just after the half hour mark as Ben Cabango lost his bearings which saw the ball drop to Bamford, although the striker’s shot was straight down the throat of Woodman.

Brewster was unable to loop a header over Meslier before Andre Ayew was unfortunate not to pip the Leeds goalkeeper to the ball in the box after a set-piece as Swansea responded.

Bielsa sent on former Swan Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski for the second half, with Dallas and Wales international Tyler Roberts making way.

Leeds bombarded the Swansea goal after the restart, although Woodman was untested as Swansea defended stoically.

And as was the way in the opening half, Swansea carved out the better openings as Gallagher had a driven shot tipped over by Meslier on 52 minutes.

The Swans’ work rate continued to be impressive, and it ensured Leeds weren’t able to dictate proceedings as they would have liked.

Hernandez showed his quality just after the hour mark as he picked out Jack Harrison whose volley landed in front of Bamford, but the striker’s header was brilliantly saved by Woodman as Swansea kept Bielsa’s men at bay.

Roberts had the ball in the net with 10 minutes to go, although Ayew was offside in the build-up while Harrison and Hernandez fired over for Leeds at the other end.

But Hernandez had the last laugh against his old club as his strike went in off the post to ensure Swansea were left without any points to show for their monumental efforts as Leeds took revenge for losing the reverse fixture in similar fashion.

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Swansea City: Woodman (Mulder 90+3); Naughton, Cabango, Guehi (Cullen 90); Roberts, Fulton (Byers 90), Grimes (C), Bidwell (Celina 90); Gallagher; Brewster (Routledge 81), Ayew.

Subs not used: van der Hoorn, Dhanda, Kalulu, Dyer.

Yellow cards: Brewster 29, Fulton 33

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, White, Cooper (C), Dallas (Alioski 46), Phillips, Klich, Harrison (Berardi 90+3), Costa (Shackleton 90+2), Roberts (Hernandez 46), Bamford.

Subs not used: Miazek, Doulgas, Struijk, Bogusz, Poveda.

Yellow cards: Klich 31, Harrison 75, Hernandez 90

Goal: Hernandez 90

Referee: Keith Stroud

How the match unfolded:

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