Rafa Benitez was stuck between disappointment at the match officials and his own players, after a late goal cost Newcastle victory in a game they totally dominated.
Leeds didn’t win a single corner and Newcastle had 19, whilst Newcastle’s shots totalled 22 and completely dwarfed the four for the visitors.
These games do happen from time to time and are what make football such a great game, even if sometimes frustrating when you have been the better team by such a distance.
However, when it comes to the officiating in this division it has really been shocking – all the worse when you consider that the referees are full-time these days in the second tier as well as the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez says that he doesn’t understand some decisions ‘but we can do nothing’.
Unlike the Burton match, the officials arguably cost Newcastle points on Friday night, just as they did at Forest and possibly other games.
The lack of a natural finisher (apart from Ritchie) in Gayle’s absence didn’t help either but if Newcastle play anything like they did against Leeds, they will blow teams such as Ipswich and Preston away in the coming days.
“I am very upset, upset because we played a very very good game.
“A lot of energy, passion, good play, chances. A lot of good things but decisions (from the match officials) that I do not understand.
“Then we make a mistake at the end and we pay for it.
“I don’t understand five minutes (injury time) and I don’t understand some decisions – but we can do nothing.
“We try to respect the referees but I still don’t understand what is going on.
“We had a penalty the other day (v Burton) and we lost seven minutes – they gave three minutes (injury time). Today we don’t have anything special and five minutes (injury time).
“They (the players) didn’t switch off, it is to do the right things and to be in the right positions. We didn’t stop the cross (for the Leeds goal) and we were in a bad position defending – we pay for that.
“Their keeper was man of the match and they have one chance and they score.”
‘One of best performances of the season?’
“Yes, it was really good.
“You have to give credit to our players because they were giving everything and playing good football.
“A pity that after that you have to concede a goal like this in 95 minutes.
“We have to be positive and be ready for this next game (Ipswich away on Monday).”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Leeds 1
Newcastle: Lascelles 67
Leeds: Wood 90+5
Possession was Leeds 44% Newcastle 56%
Total shots were Leeds 4 Newcastle 22
Shots on target were Leeds 2 Newcastle 4
Corners were Leeds 0 Newcastle 19
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie (Yedlin 84), Shelvey, Hayden (Colback 79), Gouffran, Perez (Diame 90), Mitrovic
Elliot, Hanley, Murphy, Atsu
Crowd: 52,301 (Leeds 3,200)
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(The instant fan/writer reaction from Friday night’s match HERE)
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