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Bellusci rescues point for Leeds

Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci rescued a point for his side with a deserved late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Yorkshire derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Bellusci to the rescue: The Italian's late goal earned Leeds a point Credit: Press Association

Bellusci to the rescue: The Italian's late goal earned Leeds a point

The Italian centre-half applied a striker's finish when he steered home a bouncing ball in the 79th minute to cancel out Chris Maguire's effort earlier in the second half.

Wednesday crushed Leeds 6-0 when the sides last met in January at Hillsborough, but were fortunate to take the lead at Elland Road and were grateful to goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who thwarted the home side on several occasions.

Leeds head coach Darko Milanic has still to taste victory after three games in charge, but there were signs of an enterprising team in the making.

The Owls' impressive start to the season could easily have stalled after their recent Capital One Cup walloping at Manchester City, but, under popular manager Stuart Gray, they displayed a resilience that has been lacking in recent campaigns.

The hosts were the more effective side going forward in the first half, but had nothing to show for their dominance.

Alex Mowatt dispossessed Jose Semedo in midfield and threaded a fine pass into Souleymane Doukara's path inside the penalty area, but the French striker dragged his low right-footed shot just wide.

Rudy Austin then lashed in a dipping 30-yard effort from out of the blue that Westwood tipped over the crossbar.

Leeds countered swiftly in the 26th minute and more incisive interplay ended in left-back Gaetano Berardi's thumping drive ricocheting off Mowatt.

Striker Mirco Antenucci then looked to have put the home side ahead when he latched onto Austin's slide-rule pass to slip the ball under Westwood, but he was deemed offside.

Leeds manager Darko Milanic gestures from the dug-outWednesday's best chance in the first period fell to striker Stevie May, who headed right-back Liam Palmer's cross inches wide of Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri's right-hand post in the 44th minute.

Leeds twice threatened early in the second half when Antenucci's lob over Westwood was cleared by Palmer and the Wednesday goalkeeper made a fine save with his foot to deny the lively Italian again soon after.

But it was the visitors who stole the lead in the 52nd minute. Jacques Maghoma found Maguire on the right side of the penalty area and the winger arrowed a right-footed shot into the bottom-right corner of Silvestri's net.

Westwood then denied Leeds again with another superb save from Antenucci's rising shot after he had been played in by strike partner Doukara.

May spurned a golden chance to double Wednesday's advantage when he pulled a low shot wide after a clever turn in the box.

Leeds built up a head of steam as they chased a late equaliser. Austin's shot was blocked by Palmer, but, when Mowatt's excellent free-kick bounced to Bellusci on the left edge of the area, the centre-half side-footed the ball cleanly on the half-volley into the bottom corner to haul his side level in the 79th minute.

Wednesday substitute Gary Madine's low effort was saved by Silvestri and Austin fired off target at the other end before the sides settled for a point apiece.


Ferdinand: "I chose Leeds over London"

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he decided to join Leeds United over Chelsea when he was at West Ham.

Needed up north: Ferdinand moved to Leeds to get away from London Credit: Press Association

The Champions League winning defender joined Leeds for a club record fee of £18 million in 2000, before leaving for for around £30 million two years later to join arch-rivals Manchester United.

Ferdinand wrote in his new book '2 sides.' that he turned down interest from Chelsea in favour of a move to Elland Road because he needed to get away from 'the bright lights' of the capital.

"It wasn't until I went to Leeds that my attitude began to change and mature - and my game really started to improve. I have to thank David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, for helping me.

"When I decided to leave West Ham, Chelsea wanted me but I realised I needed to leave London. I had to get away from the bright lights and all the invitations to nightclubs I found so hard to refuse.

"When I met the chairman, Peter Ridsdale, he talked about money and I wasn't listening.

"I was sitting there thinking, I don't really care about the money, I'm sure it will be more than enough. He (O'Leary) promised to make me a better footballer."


Owner Cellino watches match with Leeds United fans

Leeds United's Italian owner Massimo Cellino endured his side's 2-0 defeat at Brentford sat amongst the supports.

Fans tweeted a picture of Cellino in the stands.

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Darko day for Milanic

New Leeds United manager Darko Milanic admits his side's defeat away at Brentford was "a bad result" for the Whites.

Darko day: New head coach Milanic admits it was a bad result after Leeds lost 2-0 at Brentford Credit: Press Association

Milanic was appointed Leeds boss last week and took charge of a side unbeaten in their last four Championship games, having won three of those fixtures under caretaker boss Neil Redfearn.

Redfearn did not travel to Brentford as part of the Leeds' coaching staff and Milanic watched his side go behind in the final minute of the first half when Jota hit the back of the net.

Then, with Leeds chasing the game at Griffin Park, Brentford made sure of the points when Alan McCormack saw his shot deflected in, putting the hosts 2-0 up and condemning Milanic to defeat in his first match as Whites boss.

"For me it's a big day, to have my debut in the Championship. It is a bad result for us and I have to congratulate the home team, they played very well," the Slovenian told LUTV.

"If we look at all the game we had some problems with the opposition. We started better in the second half. For 15 minutes we played very well, we controlled the game, we had good possession, we had some shots.

"But after that, and before that also, it was very difficult."At the end we had to risk more because of the goal and they were very dangerous on the counter attacks."

Cellino sacks consultant in row over Reading fixture

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has sacked consultant Graham Bean over a row about next week's rearranged fixture against Reading.

Cellino sacks consultant in row over Reading fixture

Bean, 53, a former Football Association compliance officer who ran day-to-day operations at Elland Road, has been dismissed four months after joining the club.

His departure follows a disagreement over the club's decision to agree to a request from Reading to switch their league game at Leeds next week to Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Reading asked for the game to be put back 24 hours as their match against Wolves this weekend, to be televised by Sky Sports, has been moved to Sunday.

Cellino, who was away at the time, was not involved in discussions in July about the rearranged fixture and subsequently terminated Bean's 12-month contract.

Bean has overseen much of the club's administration during his time at Elland Road and was involved with players' contracts.

I wish the club and all the staff at Leeds all the best, I've enjoyed working with them.

But I can't say the same about Mr Cellino. I can't really comment.

But if anybody thinking of working at Leeds United under the current regime asks my advice, I'd say stay well clear.

The club deserves much better.

– Graham Bean

Milanic meets reporters on first day at Elland Road

He has already been compared to a water melon by his employer, Massimo Cellino, but Darko Milanic seemed unfazed by the Italian's eccentricities as he met reporters for the first time today.

The Slovenian is United's first manager from outside the British Isles and joins from Austrian side Sturm Graz.

Chris Dawkes reports:

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