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Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa’s side suffer huge FA Cup upset

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Crawley Town delivered one of the FA Cup third round’s most emphatic upsets as the League Two underdogs tore apart Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.

Three second-half goals rewarded a fantastic performance from John Yems’ side as they made light of the 62 places between themselves and their Premier League visitors.

Nick Tsaroulla, playing only his seventh game in senior football, set the ball rolling, beating three Leeds defenders to fire home a superb solo opener.

United keeper Kiko Casilla’s error allowed Ashley Nadesan to double the lead before Jordan Tunnicliffe added a third for Crawley, who could have won by more.

Bielsa made seven changes to his side but Leeds fielded England midfielder Kalvin Phillips among several regular top-flight starters including Pablo Hernandez, Ezgjan Alioski and club record signing Rodrigo.

But, after an even first half, they were completely outplayed in the second period by a Crawley side who have reached the fourth round for only the third time, having spent most of their 125-year existence in non-league football.

Crawley even had the luxury of bringing on reality TV celebrity Mark Wright in stoppage time for the former The Only Way Is Essex star’s debut, having signed for the club on non-contract terms in December.

Red Devils emulate illustrious namesakes

They may be the lesser-known of the two Red Devils but Crawley’s efforts were no less impressive than Manchester United’s 6-2 dissection of Leeds last month.

While Bielsa rested first-choice stars such as Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich, there was still plenty of experience mixed in with the youth in Leeds’ line-up.

But the hosts, sixth in League Two after an eight-game unbeaten run, never gave them the chance to settle and while neither side could break the deadlock before the interval, it was Crawley who went closest as Casilla kept out Tom Nichols’ close-range header.

Nick Tsaroulla.
Nick Tsaroulla scored his first goal in professional football, having only signed for Crawley in October

He was helpless, however, to prevent Tsaroulla – a former Tottenham trainee who spent a year out of the game through injuries sustained in a car crash – firing Crawley ahead after a twisting run into the area that beguiled the Leeds back-line.

Rather than protect their lead, Crawley went for the jugular and Nadesan soon doubled their lead, although his strike owed much to a bobble that beat Casilla at his near post.

Tunnicliffe then fired into the roof of the net after Casilla parried from Nadesan and Crawley could have had a fourth after top scorer Max Watters came off the bench to round the keeper, only to be denied by a covering defender.

The win marked the first time in four attempts that Crawley have beaten a Premier League side in the FA Cup and so comfortable was the victory that TV personality Wright was given his late cameo.

Line-ups

Crawley

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Morris
  • 4Francomb
  • 19Tunnicliffe
  • 24Craig
  • 6Dallison-LisbonSubstituted forWrightat 90+1′minutes
  • 20MatthewsSubstituted forDaviesat 71′minutes
  • 39HessenthalerBooked at 83minsSubstituted forDohertyat 90+1′minutes
  • 8Powell
  • 25TsaroullaSubstituted forWrightat 72′minutes
  • 10NadesanSubstituted forWattersat 72′minutes
  • 16Nichols

Substitutes

  • 3Doherty
  • 5McNerney
  • 11Frost
  • 15Davies
  • 26Galach
  • 30Wright
  • 36Watters
  • 37Nelson
  • 44Wright

Leeds

Formation 3-4-3

  • 13Casilla
  • 23PhillipsBooked at 69mins
  • 6CooperSubstituted forCaseyat 45′minutes
  • 24DavisSubstituted forGreenwoodat 58′minutes
  • 21StruijkSubstituted forJenkinsat 45′minutes
  • 46Shackleton
  • 10Alioski
  • 19Hernández
  • 7Poveda-OcampoSubstituted forDias Belloliat 58′minutes
  • 20RodrigoSubstituted forHarrisonat 45′minutes
  • 17Hélder Costa

Substitutes

  • 18Dias Belloli
  • 22Harrison
  • 25Caprile
  • 42Greenwood
  • 47Jenkins
  • 49Casey
  • 52Huggins

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