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Tuesday at Elland Road was the kind of night football is made for. Drama, excitement and theatre the game had it all. What’s more Leeds United are through to the quarter finals of the EFL Cup, the lowest team in the last eight for the first time in their history. You’d have got great odds in the football betting on us being in a quarter final of a cup at the start of the season.
More importantly though is the fact that in recent seasons that is a game we would have lost, we would have capitulated but not on this occasion. Ten changes from the previous game saw fans doubting Monks team selection ahead of the game. Doubts were fuelled further after a poor start and Norwich took the lead through Pritchard on the quarter of an hour mark.
But Leeds came back into it, first Kyle Bartley had one ruled out for a handball before Leeds levelled things just before half time through Antonsson after some good work from Doukara. A goalless second half lead to the drama of extra time, an even more nervous half an hour for Leeds as they were down to ten men. Lewie Coyle having left the pitch injured at the end of regular time with all three substitutions made.
Again Norwich took the lead this time through Castro Oliveira but substitute Chria Wood continued his good goal scoring form by levelling things up taking the match into a penalty shootout. Garry Monk didn’t watch the penalty shootout but Marco Silvestri certainly did. His shot stopping has never been in question but he pulled off three superb saves against Alex Pritchard, Steven Naismith and Robbie Brady before Ronaldo Vieira tucked home the final penalty to put Leeds through.
For those of you who love statistics Silvestri becomes the first keeper in the clubs history to save three penalties in a shootout. It was somewhat fitting that a goalkeeper was the star of the show on a night when Elland Road celebrated the life of Gary Sprake who passed away last week. It is also the first time ever Leeds have won back to back penalty shootouts.
Leeds will face eight time winners and last seasons beaten finalists Liverpool away at Anfield in the quarter finals. Games to be played week commencing 28th November.