Leeds United locked horns with Plymouth Argyle in a riveting Emirates FA Cup fourth-round showdown on Saturday afternoon, featuring a cup clash between two Sky Bet Championship contenders.
In a jam-packed Elland Road, Daniel Farke’s squad initiated the proceedings with a notable upper hand. The initial breakthrough opportunity unfolded when Georginio Rutter made a spirited dash towards the box.
Jaidon Anthony seized upon Georginio’s delivery, unleashing a low shot that collided with the post. The rebound fell to Willy Gnonto, whose subsequent strike met the crossbar after an acrobatic save by the Plymouth custodian, Conor Hazard.
Despite the relentless pressure, it took Leeds half an hour to seize a well-deserved lead. Anthony embarked on a mesmerizing run, eluding multiple defenders as he cut in from the wing, before curling a sublime shot into the bottom corner.
Leeds, under Farke’s direction, controlled the lion’s share of first-half play, leaving Illan Meslier with little to do in the United goal. Nevertheless, despite their dominance, the first half concluded with no further goals.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
As the second half commenced without alterations on either side, both teams persisted in their quest to secure a coveted spot in the fifth round.
Just beyond the hour mark, with the second half lacking clear-cut chances, a crucial defensive intervention from Sam Byram was required. Plymouth surged forward, and Hazard was lobbed by Ryan Hardie, but Byram showcased alertness, sprinting back to clear the danger with a well-timed header.
With 20 minutes remaining, Leeds fashioned a promising chance of their own. Joel Piroe combined effectively with Georginio, who supplied a ball into the box for Gnonto. However, the forward’s effort sailed over the bar.
Plymouth leveled the tie with their next offensive move. Adam Randell found space in the box and clinically dispatched a left-footed strike. Following the equalizer, Farke swiftly turned to his bench, introducing Ian Poveda in place of Gnonto.
In the closing stages, Hazard was tested once again. Anthony sought his second goal with a similar effort to his opener, but the ‘keeper thwarted the attempt.
The Whites responded with a double substitution, bringing on Patrick Bamford and Junior Firpo for Byram and Jamie Shackleton. Bamford’s initial touch saw him power a header from Anthony’s corner towards goal, only for Hazard to make another commendable save. The Plymouth ‘keeper continued his heroics, tipping over Gruev’s curling strike at full stretch moments later.
Despite the determined efforts of both sides, the deadlock persisted until the final whistle, necessitating a replay.
Before the replay, the draw for the fifth round will be broadcast live on ITV on Sunday, January 28, 2024, at approximately 2:10 pm during ITV1’s prelude to Liverpool vs Norwich City.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 1-1 Plymouth Argyle