Skip to content

Championship playoffs: Leeds fuming after Norwich draw, Saints hold West Brom

Steven Paston - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Find the biggest stories from across the soccer world by visiting our Top Soccer News section and subscribing to push notifications.

Daniel Farke claimed Leeds were wrongly denied a crucial goal in their 0-0 draw against Norwich in the Championship playoff semi-finals, while West Bromwich Albion and Southampton also shared a goalless stalemate on Sunday.

Farke was left fuming when Leeds had the ball in the net on the half-hour through Junior Firpo, only for an offside flag to deny them the opening goal at Carrow Road.

TV replays suggested it had been a close but correct call against Georginio Rutter in the build-up to Firpo's finish.

But Leeds manager Farke, who led Norwich into the Premier League as their boss in 2019 and 2021, insisted it was the wrong decision.

"I'm still pretty annoyed with the offside situation," he said.

"Someone told me that Sky showed a picture they said was proof it was offside. I recommend everyone have a look on the scouting feed, where you have a proper line. It was not offside.

"Because we are playing at the top level, small details make a difference. It changes the whole picture here.

"Everyone speaks about Wembley, the £100-million game, and at this level all the decisions have to be spot on."

VAR will be in place for the Wembley playoff final but is not used in any other Championship fixtures.

"I have 12 apologising letters at home already during the season with offside goals and penalties not given," Farke said.

"If we would have used VAR during this season, we wouldn't be in the play-offs. We would have been promoted automatically."

Third-placed Leeds had finished the regular season with 90 points, 17 more than sixth-placed Norwich.

Farke's side, bidding for a quick return to the Premier League after last season's relegation, will be favoured in the second leg in front of their vociferous fans at Elland Road on Thursday.

But Norwich manager David Wagner, who took Huddersfield up to the Premier League through the playoffs in 2017, remains confident his side can reach the final.

"I'm absolutely fine with the performance and the shift the players put in," he said.

"I have a positive mindset following the draw. All cards are still on the table, and on Thursday we will go again."

In Sunday's other first leg, Southampton earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns, giving them the opportunity to finish the job in the return leg at St Mary's on Friday.

Southampton are bidding to return to the Premier League at the first attempt, while West Brom look to end their three-season hiatus from the top flight.

Both teams had chances as West Brom 'keeper Alex Palmer denied Flynn Downes when one-on-one.

Southampton's Alex McCarthy made an equally crucial save at the other end to keep out Grady Diangana's header before the interval.

McCarthy saved from Diangana again in the second half and Palmer made a stunning reaction stop with his feet to turn Ross Stewart's effort to safety.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox