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Late Struijk equaliser earns Leeds a vital point in battle against relegation

Crystal Palace and Wolves also rescued draws on a busy afternoon in the Premier League.

Pascal Struijk celebrates his crucial equaliser.
Pascal Struijk celebrates his crucial equaliser.
Image: PA

PASCAL STRUIJK HEADED a stoppage-time equaliser as Leeds snatched a vital point in their fight for Premier League survival with a 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Late substitute Struijk headed home at the far post in the second minute of added time to lift Leeds out of the bottom three after Danny Welbeck had given Albion a half-time lead at Elland Road.

Following relegation rivals Burnley’s defeat at Tottenham earlier on Sunday, Struijk’s last-gasp leveller ensured Leeds’ bid to retain their top-flight status will be decided on the final day of the season.

The visitors’ opening goal arrived in the 21st minute, courtesy of lightweight Leeds defending. Club-record signing Rodrigo – not for the first time – dithered in possession and Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma was left unchallenged as he came away with the ball and ventured into Leeds’ half. Bissouma’s ball down the right channel appeared to pose little immediate danger, but Welbeck out-paced and out-muscled Diego Llorente before dinking an excellent finish over Meslier.

Leeds improved once falling behind and were denied an equaliser in the 42nd minute when Mateusz Klich’s shot was brilliantly saved at full stretch by Robert Sanchez.

Raphinha snatched at a half-opening early in the second period and Jack Harrison blazed over.

Leeds, roared on by another full house, swept forward again and Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk rescued his side when deflecting Rodrigo’s flick from Raphinha’s cross off-target.

Sanchez produced another flying save to keep out Raphinha’s thumping drive and the Brazilian then turned Rodrigo’s arcing low cross just the wrong side of a post as Leeds built a head of steam.

Klich was next to be thwarted by the inspired Sanchez and Gelhardt’s low shot fizzed inches wide as Leeds pressed for an equaliser.

With time running out, the home fans sensed it was not to be their day and a section turned on the club’s hierarchy.

A chorus of “Sack the board” rang out as Welbeck missed a golden chance to seal victory for the Seagulls in the closing stages by heading Leandro Trossard’s cross wide.

But in the second minute of added time, Gelhardt evaded several challenges in Brighton’s box and crossed to the far post where Struijk rose to head home a vital equaliser.

watford-v-leicester-city-premier-league-vicarage-road Incoming Watford manager Rob Edwards is introduced to the crowd at Vicarage Road. Source: PA

Elsewhere this afternoon, Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes each scored twice as Roy Hodgson’s final home match in charge of relegated Watford ended in an embarrassing 5-1 Premier League loss to Leicester.

Joao Pedro’s deflected effort gave the Hornets an early lead in front of incoming head coach Rob Edwards.

But familiar defensive issues contributed to the hosts’ downfall as James Maddison’s leveller and doubles from Vardy and Barnes condemned them to a 26th Premier League loss of a miserable campaign.

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At Villa Park, substitute Jeffrey Schlupp netted a late equaliser as Crystal Palace secured a 1-1 draw at fellow Premier League mid-table side Aston Villa.

Schlupp, three minutes after coming on, finished from close range in the 81st minute to cancel out Ollie Watkins’ 69th-minute opener.

Lucas Digne had a strike saved by Jack Butland and Watkins hit a shot wide in stoppage time as a subsequent Villa push to reclaim the lead proved in vain.

The result left Patrick Vieira’s Palace and Steven Gerrard’s Villa still in 11th and 12th place respectively, a point apart.

aston-villa-v-crystal-palace-premier-league-villa-park Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp scores. Source: PA

It also finished 1-1 between Wolves and relegated Norwich. Rayan Ait-Nouri’s first goal in 19 months salvaged a point for Wolves, but Bruno Lage’s side extended their winless run to six – a streak which officially ended their hopes of a return to the Europa League.

They were forced to come from behind after Teemu Pukki’s 11th goal of the season gave the Canaries a first-half lead.

Relegated Norwich did at least end a run of five straight defeats but they remain bottom of the Premier League.

Premier League results 
  • Spurs 1-0 Burnley 
  • Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace 
  • Leeds 1-1 Brighton 
  • Watford 1-5 Leicester
  • West Ham 2-2 Man City
  • Wolves 1-1 Norwich

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