Swansea City 0-1 Leeds United: Late Pablo Hernandez strike puts Leeds on promotion brink

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Leeds United are within touching distance of ending their 16-year Premier League exile after a last-gasp victory at Swansea City.

Leeds marked the passing of club legend Jack Charlton before kick-off at the Liberty Stadium, then produced a solid, organised performance which leaves them needing just four points from their three remaining fixtures to clinch automatic promotion.

A game of few clear-cut chances looked set to end goalless until Swansea old boy Pablo Hernandez’s low shot rolled in off the post a minute from time.

Leeds’ return to the top flight could be secured when they host Barnsley on Thursday, if third-placed Brentford lose to Preston North End on Wednesday.

The Elland Road club have found form when it really matters, with this triumph meaning they have taken 13 points from their last five games.

Swansea are not out of promotion contention themselves, although a painful defeat saw them miss the chance to climb into the Championship play-off places.

There was a minute’s silence before the game in honour of England World Cup winner Charlton, while Marcelo Bielsa’s players wore warm-up shirts bearing the message ‘RIP Big Jack’ in tribute to a man who made more than 750 Leeds appearances.

Once the game started, Leeds’ present-day defenders had to get through some work to quell a lively Swansea side.

Buoyed by back-to-back victories, Steve Cooper’s side created the first opportunity of the day as Rhian Brewster shot straight at Illan Meslier from 20 yards.

Jay Fulton fired over from distance before Brewster’s flicked header was gathered by the visiting goalkeeper.

Leeds threatened for the first time just before the half hour, when Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman got down sharply to save Stuart Dallas’ deflected drive.

Moments later Leeds had the chance of the half when a long ball hit defender Ben Cabango and dropped for Patrick Bamford, only for Leeds’ top scorer to shoot too close to Woodman.

Swansea threatened first after the break, with Conor Gallagher bursting beyond a couple of challenges before firing towards the near post where Meslier pushed the ball to safety.

The next big moment for Bamford came when Hernandez, a half-time substitute, played a typically measured diagonal ball which Jack Harrison volleyed across the face of goal.

Bamford seemed certain to score, but his diving header was too close to Woodman and the on-loan Newcastle keeper made a fine save.

Harrison then lashed over the crossbar with the game seemingly heading for a draw, only for Leeds to find the winner.

Luke Ayling made ground down the right and pulled the ball back for Hernandez.

In space near the penalty spot, the Spaniard guided a shot beyond the reach of Woodman and into the net via the base of the upright.

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper:

“We felt comfortable in the game. They probably had a couple more clear chances than we did, but I thought we got into as many good areas as them.

“We’re really disappointed to concede like we did that late on. It’s a tough one to take, but we’ve quickly got to get over it. There are still points to play for.

“Whether we had drawn or won today, we still would have had to pick up points in the remaining games.

“There were lots of good bits from the performance. I’d have liked us to keep the ball a bit more if I’m honest. I felt like a set-piece might decide it, whether it was for us or them. Both teams set up tactically well so for them to get through at the end is obviously disappointing.”

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa:

“The match was very close with only a few chances. As the match progressed our possibilities grew. We deserved to score in the last 30 minutes and get what we got in the end.

“I cannot enjoy this yet. The only thing I can enjoy is the last objective, if we get it.

“More than feeling what we feel, we are more relaxed because we are taking the steps we had to. Of course, when you score at the end it’s a higher feeling, emotion. The bigger emotion, we didn’t get this yet.”