Scotland keeper Angus Gunn suffers difficult evening in heavy play-off defeat as Steve Clarke casts eye over four Euro 2024 hopefuls

Canaries put to the sword by excellent Leeds at Elland Road

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn suffered a chastening evening at Elland Road as his and Norwich City’s hopes of gaining promotion to the English Premier League were crushed by Leeds United.

Daniel Farke’s side, who staggered into the play-offs after winning just one of their last six games of the regular season, rediscovered top form to blow Norwich away 4-0 – with three goals in the first half. Ilia Gruev’s clever free-kick, Joel Piroe’s header and Georginio Rutter’s emphatic far-post finish put Leeds in complete control at the interval and Crysencio Summerville added a fourth goal in the second half.

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Gruev gave them a seventh minute lead with a brilliant first Leeds goal in his 34th appearance for the club. Leeds were awarded a foul 25 yards out and after spotting Gunn out of position, the quick-thinking Bulgaria midfielder curled a left-footed free-kick inside the near post. “He’s a good goalkeeper but that’s such a poor error in such a big game,” said Sky Sports pundit Chris Sutton on Gunn’s involvement in the opener afterwards.

Angus Gunn conceded four goals in Norwich City's play-off defeat by Leeds.Angus Gunn conceded four goals in Norwich City's play-off defeat by Leeds.
Angus Gunn conceded four goals in Norwich City's play-off defeat by Leeds.

Leeds were swept along by the wave of white from the terraces and, with back-pedalling Norwich pulled out of shape, the home side raced into a two-goal lead in the 20th minute. Willy Gnonto charged down the right and his deep delivery was headed home by the unmarked Piroe for his 16th goal of the season in all competitions, with Gunn’s indecision at coming for the cross proving costly. “I thought he should have done better with the first two goals,” added Sutton on the Scotland No 1, who has largely experienced a strong season with the Canaries.

Norwich, who had Gunn’s fellow Scotland internationalists Kenny McLean in midfield and defender Grant Hanley on the bench, were gifted a chance to stem the tide two minutes later when Ethan Ampadu fluffed his challenge on Josh Sargent, leaving the Norwich striker a clear run on goal, but his dinked effort was superbly saved by Illan Meslier. After that let-off, Leeds were relentless. Piroe burst clear down the left far too easily and although Summerville slipped in his bid to latch on to the cross, the ball broke for Rutter, who lashed his far-post finish into the roof of the net.

It should have been 4-0 shortly after the restart when Piroe fired a first-time effort from in front of goal straight at Gunn, who saved again from both Summerville and Piroe soon after. But Leeds did not take their foot off the gas and were rewarded with a fourth goal through Summerville’s low finish from Junior Firpo’s cut-back, after Gunn had parried Gnonto’s effort. They brought on Scotland defender Liam Cooper with seven minutes left.

Leeds will take on either Southampton or West Brom in next weekend’s final. The second leg of that tie will be played on Friday evening at St Mary’s, with tie finely poised at 0-0.



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