|Leeds United 2 v 1 Middlesbrough|
Sunday, 19th November 2017 Kick-off 13:15
Leeds under investigation but Ayala escapes
Monday, 20th Nov 2017 21:53 by Tim Whelan
In the topsy-turvy world of the FA, Leeds are under investigation for missile throwing during yesterday’s keenly contested game with Middlesbrough, but Daniel Ayala will escape punishment for whacking Gaetano Berardi in the head.
Before the game the club had handed out thousands of flags to fans in the North and South Stands to boost the atmosphere as we tried to escape from our recent run of poor form. But in hindsight that doesn’t look like quite such a good idea, as some fans took the opportunity to use them as missiles.
Flags were hurled in the direction of some of the Boro players and one of the linesmen in the closing stages of a rather heated encounter. The FA’s disciplinary department is now going to write to Leeds to ask for the club’s observations about these incidents, which came after the home fans had been infuriated by a controversial 77th minute penalty .
The referee’s assistant somehow failed to see that Ayala had wrestled Ayling to the floor before our man unwisely grabbed hold of the Boro players leg, though he might have been acting in self-defence to stop Ayala treading on him. To add insult to injury, Ayling got a yellow card for drawing the linesman’s attention to his inadequacy, one of eight players to be booked during the game.
Apart from the penalty, Ayala was involved in quite a few of the more unsavoury incidents in the game, most notably when he elbowed Berardi in the head in the closing stages. But unlike Leeds, Ayala will escape any retrospective punishment, as his action was seen by the officials at the time. Why they didn’t think it was worthy of a card of any description is anyone’s guess.
Another man who got off relatively lightly was Garry Monk, who was taunted by the crowd after his defection in the summer, but didn’t get quite the level of abuse that he might have expected. It was left to their own fans to give him a bit of a hard time today on Twitter. Among the comments were that he was deluded to claim they deserved a draw, and that defensively Boro were awful.
And if you’re wondering about the bizarre two-man pitch invasion at the end, by one man in a big fur coat and the other in a shabby tracksuit, apparently they were two Italian comedians. They were Pio D'Antini and Amedeo Grieco, known collectively as the duo known as Pio e Amedeo , and they are believed to have been filming a sketch for TV. Presumably our Italian owner had given them permission to run on the pitch.
At the final whistle the penalty decision didn’t seem to have done us too much damage as we held on for the win, though it did deny us the two goal margin we needed to go above Boro into the top six. But we may not have heard the last of the consequences of the furious reaction the decision provoked.
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