Brentford 1 Leeds 1: Casilla has another night to forget as blunder sees Bielsa’s boys’ wobble continue
KIKO CASILLA had yet another night to forget as he produced a contender for goalkeeping blunder of the season.
With Leeds producing one of their trademark dominant displays, there was no danger as Liam Cooper played a regulation back pass to the Spaniard after 25 minutes.
But what was to follow was complete farce.
First, he allowed the ball to roll under his foot. Then he fell flat to the ground, allowing Said Benrahma the easy task of tapping the ball home.
Casilla, 33, has been in meltdown since his clanger against Cardiff, which has coincided with Leeds’ horror run. This game was billed as one of the Championship games of the season. And it did not disappoint.
But, incredibly, Brentford keeper David Raya decided to rival Casilla for the biggest cock-up of the campaign.
He totally flapped at Kalvin Phillips’ 38th-minute corner before Cooper drilled in from close range.
At least that spared Casilla’s blushes a bit.
But the Spaniard always looks like an accident waiting to happen.
And his awful form has coincided with Leeds’ run of just two wins in 11 league games — during which they have lost five.
After they beat Hull at Elland Road on December 10, Leeds were a whopping 11 points in front of the Bees. But they were grateful to at least stay two points ahead of Thomas Frank’s men.
And although you can never predict anything in the craziest league on the planet, it will be a brave man to back Marcelo Bielsa’s men for automatic promotion now.
Once again Bielsa persisted with Patrick Bamford, who despite scoring 12 goals this season is constantly guilty of missing sitters.
The Bees showed their attacking intent from the off when Josh Dasilva held off Phillips before shooting but it was an easy save for Casilla on this occasion.
Helder Costa then got free down the right for Leeds but his low cross to the near post arrived too early for Bamford.
It looked as if the visitors were in when Jack Harrison raced towards goal. There was an easy pass to Bamford but he decided to take the shot on himself and it was straight at Raya.
Luke Ayling then had a great chance as he got on the end of a Phillips corner but headed straight at Raya.
Leeds were bossing the game as they so often do but again lacked that cutting edge.
But then came that Casilla moment left everyone gasping. And you just wonder how much longer Bielsa can stick by him?
Leeds tried to respond quickly and Pablo Hernandez stung the hands of Raya from distance.
Brentford could have doubled the lead but Ayling did brilliantly to block a Benrahma shot and divert it over the bar.
But, suddenly without notice, Reya caught the Casilla bug – rather than the ball before Cooper gleefully and gratefully slammed home.
After the break, Bamford had a great chance to head Leeds in front. Ayling whipped in a cross from the right perfect for the big hitman – but he put it over the bar.
But Mathias Jensen almost headed Brentford in front down the other end but could not get the right direction on to it.
Then Casilla almost got caught out by the bouncing ball as Watkins looked set to pounce – but he managed to grab hold of it at the second attempt.
Costa was cursing himself when he found himself with time and space to pick his shot after a Henrik Dalsgaard interception fell into his path. But he hit a tame effort straight at Raya. Then Bamford – after being set up by Harrison – skied one from 20 yards.
Bielsa finally had seen enough of his hot-or-cold striker and brought on Jean-Kevin Augustin.
Leeds poured forward in search for a winner but Hernandez crashed a shot over from the edge of the box.