How Sunderland reined in Leeds United threat in thrilling Elland Road draw

Paul Heckingbottom.
Paul Heckingbottom.
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Paul Heckingbottom wasn’t satisfied with a point but praised his Leeds United players for their endeavour in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland.

Pablo Hernandez curled in a superb leveller 18 minutes from time to deny Sunderland, facing back-to-back relegations, a second away win in a row.

The Black Cats had taken the lead through Paddy McNair’s stunning strike but Leeds, who twice hit the woodwork in the second half, were worthy of a point.

Leeds boss Heckingbottom, twice linked with the Sunderland job last year, said: “You can’t be satisfied with the draw but you have to give the players credit for coming back.

“We opened the game up and we knew we’d be giving Sunderland more opportunities, but we were hoping we would create more and we did. We have to give the players credit for that but I would have liked us to capitalise on those big moments early on because then it’s a different game.

“We looked slick at times and Sunderland were a threat on the counter, they hit the bar from a set-piece and a lot of our best opportunities had to be really well worked.

“Sunderland had bodies behind the ball and they were keeping the ball in front of them, anything we did get was going to have to be eye of the needle stuff.

“We had to take the risk that we were going to open the game up.” Leeds remain 13th in the Championship.