Leeds out of relegation zone with 4-2 win over Wolves
WOLVERHAMPTON, England, March 18 (Reuters) - Leeds United earned a vital three points in their fight for Premier League survival with an entertaining 4-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, to ensure they head into the international break above the relegation zone.
Leeds, who started the day second-bottom in the table, climbed five places to 14th after registering just their sixth league win of the season and second since manager Javi Gracia took over at the end of February.
Wolves, who had Jonny sent off late in the second half and unused substitute Matheus Nunes red carded in stoppage time, stayed in 13th place.
"Today we got a very, very good win. Our players did an amazing game and they deserve the reward because we showed a very good display," Gracia said.
"The points are important and we need them. All the games are like a final.
"My way of living the games is always the same. There are some moments like today when it's normal to feel stress. Now I have time to recover and enjoy the points."
Jack Harrison smashed home the opener for Leeds from near the penalty spot in the sixth minute after being picked out by Italian teenager Wilfried Gnonto's pinpoint cross.
Luke Ayling doubled the lead from a corner early in the second half when he lost his marker and sent a free header from close range past Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa at the far post.
Leeds substitute Rasmus Kristensen added a third just after the hour mark from a tight angle after outmuscling Wolves defender Jonny.
Jonny pulled a goal back for Wolves three minutes later, curling home into an empty net from just inside the Leeds half after their goalkeeper Illan Meslier left his penalty area to head the ball clear and found himself stranded.
Matheus Cunha cut the deficit further with a deflected shot in the 73rd minute and Wolves pushed hard for an equaliser before Jonny was shown a red card for a studs-up challenge on Ayling that left the Leeds fullback writhing in agony.
The sending off in the 84th minute took the wind out of Wolves' sails and substitute Rodrigo chipped Sa to score Leeds' fourth in the seventh minute of injury time, despite referee Michael Salisbury being asked by VAR to check for a foul in the build-up.
Salisbury was advised to check the pitchside monitor for a tug on Wolves winger Adama Traore's shirt, but the official decided Rodrigo's strike should stand despite the clear contact.
The decision, one of several that went against Wolves, including a shout for a penalty in the first half, enraged the home side and Nunes became their second player to be sent off, this time for protesting.
"We should have had a penalty, it was very clear, but I don't know what's happening with us again. These fans deserve the same respect as all the other teams in the Premier League," Wolves coach Julen Lopetegui said.
"We suffered the fourth goal after a very clear fault. (The referee) didn't give a very clear foul on Adama ... There are always mistakes in football, but when you have the same mistakes always against the same team then, I don't know."
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.