Leeds suffered a humiliating FA Cup third round exit as League Two Crawley Town outplayed their Premier League opponents to win 3-0 at Broadfield Stadium on Sunday.
Three goals in 20 second-half minutes from Nick Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe sealed a famous win for Crawley.
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Indeed, so comfortable were Crawley that they could even afford the luxury of handing a debut in stoppage time to a reality TV star, Mark Wright.
Wright, who started his career at Arsenal and Tottenham before going into television, is making a documentary with the club to see if he can make it as a professional player.
It is the first time since 1987 that a top-flight team has lost by three goals to a fourth-tier side in the FA Cup.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men have made an impressive start to life back in the top-flight after a 16-year absence with the Argentine’s attacking brand of football winning plenty of admirers.
But Bielsa is yet to win a FA Cup tie in his three seasons in charge at Elland Road.
“He was very complimentary afterwards, but I suppose if you lose 3-0 you can’t do anything but,” said Crawley manager John Yems, who bemoaned the coronavirus restrictions that meant no fans could attend and hampers any celebrations for the players with the UK under a national lockdown.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. The pity is that there is no supporters here. I’ve been telling the lads to go out and enjoy tonight, but you can’t go out anywhere so that shows how up to date I am with things.”
Bielsa’s decision to hand Illan Meslier, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Mateusz Klich and Patrick Bamford a rest backfired.
“The result generates a lot of sadness and disappointment for us,” said Bielsa.
“The second-half was played how the opponents wanted to play.”
The Leeds boss made three substitutions after a goalless first-half, but rather than kick the visitors into gear, it was Crawley who took control in the second-half.
Tsaroulla’s stunning individual run and finish opened the scoring on 50 minutes.
Just three minutes later it was 2-0 as Nadesan’s shot snuck underneath the hapless Kiko Casilla.
Tunnicliffe then rounded off a comprehensive win when he smashed into the roof of the net after Casilla could only parry Nadesan’s initial effort. (AFP)