Leeds United rounded off their pre-season European tour with a 2-1 defeat against German Bundesliga side FC Energie Cottbus. As with all the games however, there were plenty of positives for Dennis Wise and his men, despite 2 very suspect red cards for The Whites.
Whilst the overall squad was the same as the previous matches against Berlin and Liberec, only 3 substitutions were made, indicating that the team that played on Monday evening may just be the planned squad for the League One season opener against Tranmere Rovers though impressive trialist Leon Constantine sat out this one due to an injury picked up in training.
It was the host side who began a lot brighter; though expected due to the somewhat imminent commencement of the German domestic season and it was not long before former Watford youngster Scott Loach was called into action. However as Leeds (and even Kandol, more from him later) fought their way into the game, Cottbus struck twice in two minutes leaving Leeds trailing after just 20. Goals from Cypriot international Stathis Aloneftis, and Albanian midfielder Ervin Skela somewhat swiftly put The Whites very much on the back foot.
It appears from the reports reviewed by Vital Leeds that the majority of our positions are shaping up quite nicely, with Tresor Kandol seemingly linking up well with his livewire strike partner Jermaine Beckford. Beckford, who has been linked with a return to Scunthorpe United, seems to impress more and more in a Leeds United shirt and he may be set to make a surprise decision to stay on at Elland Road for the upcoming season.
Just two minutes into the second half, and Leeds United managed to grab their first goal of the tour. I`m sure many a Leeds fan will be surprised to hear that it was none other than our very own Congolese ex-Barnet striker Tresor Kandol who (in the words of the official Leeds United website) “latched onto a great ball forward from Thompson and coolly slotted the ball home.” Yes, I must admit I was somewhat surprised too!
Once the game hit 69 minutes, things seemed be become a little bit bizarre as experienced Champions League referee Manuel Gräfe, one of the referee`s who ousted Robert Hoyzer as a match-fixing official, decided that Jonathan Douglas had said sometihng nasty to him, and was promptly sent off for foul and abusive language (Douglas that is, not Gräfe.)
It took just 2 more minutes for Herr Gräfe to get closer to completing his early Christmas card list as Jermaine Beckford apparently ‘had a word` to the wrong person and was shown a second yellow card. At the end of the day at least Douglas had someone to talk to during his early bath?
To quote the Leeds United website: “The second card prompted the remaining players to enter into a touchline huddle before re-grouping for a free-kick which was cleared by the hosts.”
It appears that the huddle must have done some good, as Leeds were close to a late equaliser, again from that man Kandol! However the referee`s assistant (who as far as I can see is un-named) had decided that Tresor was deemed to be “offside.” That opposed to the referee`s attempts to get the majority of the Leeds team “offpitch.”
All in all it sounded an entertaining game, and one that Leeds can draw a lot from considering the stature of the opposition and one bizarre scandal-busting referee.
The Leeds United squad now return to the UK for a match against Burnley at Turf Moor on the 28th July.
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