Crawley Town manager John Yems and Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) at the People's Pension Stadium in Crawley, Britain, January 10 2021. Picture: Picture: ACTION IMAGES/REUTERS/PETER CZIBORRA
Crawley Town manager John Yems and Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) at the People's Pension Stadium in Crawley, Britain, January 10 2021. Picture: Picture: ACTION IMAGES/REUTERS/PETER CZIBORRA

Premier League side Leeds United suffered one of the FA Cup’s biggest shocks with a 3-0 defeat by fourth-tier Crawley Town in the third round on Sunday.

Leeds’ Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa made seven changes yet still fielded a strong line-up for the trip to West Sussex but League Two Crawley, a non-league club until nine years ago, produced a performance to remember.

Crawley’s squad contains several players who failed to make the grade at the top level and manager John Yems was delighted with their display.

“These players have got a lot to prove to the clubs who have released them and we’ve showed what we can do against a really good side in Leeds,” he said. “You have to enjoy these games — you work hard enough for it. It was a really good team performance and it’s clear that we’ve got 11 star men,” said Yems.

While the FA Cup is known for producing surprises, particularly at this stage, it is rare for a top-flight team to be beaten by such a decisive margin. Since the creation of the Football League’s fourth tier in 1958, this is only the second time a top-flight side has lost by three or more goals to opposition from that level in this competition.

Former Tottenham Hotspur youth player Nick Tsaroulla stunned the Yorkshire side in the 50th minute with a superb individual goal as he wriggled free of his marker before drilling the ball into the far corner. Ashley Nadesan doubled the advantage, breaking into the box and driving a low shot that Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla failed to keep out at his near post.

The third came when Nadesan’s low drive was saved by Casilla at close-range but Jordan Tunnicliffe pounced to smash the ball home.

“We’ll take anyone from the Premier League here, we’re trying to make this place a fortress,” Nadesan said. “The whole club has done everyone proud today. The first goal was a bit of a shock but to get the second goal straight after was really big.”

Leeds’ Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski was stunned. “We are really disappointed ... especially me I’m really sad. We took the game really seriously and we wanted to win and go on a run so it is disappointing. Crawley played the game of their lives, and congratulations. To beat us 3-0, I still can’t believe it,” he said.

In other Cup action Bernardo Silva scored two goals and Phil Foden another as Manchester City strolled to a 3-0 win over second-tier Birmingham City.

Portuguese midfielder Silva scored his first goal at the Etihad Stadium in more than a year when he fired the ball into the top corner in the eighth minute after Birmingham defender George Friend failed to clear.

Silva doubled City’s lead seven minutes later, finishing off a brilliant team move with a simple tap-in and Foden made it 3-0 before the break with a low strike from outside the box.

Riyad Mahrez thought he had added City’s fourth around the hour-mark when he slotted in at the back post, but the goal was disallowed after the Algerian was ruled offside.

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount scored on his 22nd birthday as Frank Lampard’s side eased to a 4-0 victory over fourth-tier Morecambe. Mount gave Chelsea an early lead at Stamford Bridge with a fierce shot from 20m, leaving Morecambe goalkeeper Mark Halstead with no chance.

Chelsea striker Timo Werner scored his first goal in two months with a simple tap-in from Kai Havertz’s knock-down shortly before halftime. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Havertz also got their names on the scoresheet in the second half as Chelsea secured their first win in four games in all competitions.

Reuters

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