Leeds United signed off at Elland Road with a 2-1 defeat to Brighton in an incident packed Npower Championship game.
The Whites ended with nine men after Rodolph Austin and El Hadji Diouf were both sent-off while Brighton, who got the win they needed to clinch a play-off place, also had Inigo Calderon red carded.
The Seagulls led early through Will Buckley and had an extra man from the 12th minute when Austin saw red for pushing Ashley Barnes, but were rocking in the second half after Calderon was sent-off for hauling down Diouf in the area.
However, the game instantly switched back in their favour as after putting away the resulting penalty Diouf’’s celebrations were cut short as he was the next to be ordered off for what was believed to be a gesture towards the away fans.
The visitors then came up with a winner three minutes from time as Leonardo Ulloa headed home an Andrea Orlandi cross.
With Leeds having little at stake it showed early on as Brighton held the early initiative and came close to scoring in the first minute as Orlandi hit the post.
Buckley made no mistake on 10 minutes after latching onto a weak Tom Lees back pass and it looked all against Leeds when they went down to 10 men within two minutes with Austin harshly sent-off for raising his hands on Barnes after taking offence to a tough challenge by the Brighton forward moments earlier.
But United did not buckle and gradually played their way into the contest. They felt aggrieved when denied three big shouts for penalties for a possible handball and nudges on Luke Varney and Diouf.
Ross McCormack hit a shot over and hooked another just wide and Diouf hit a low shot that was almost turned in by Varney while Brighton rarely looked like they had an extra man, although Buckley did curl one shot inches wide.
Ulloa went close for the visitors early in the second half and David Lopez forced a save out of Paddy Kenny, but Brighton were pushed back for much of the half and the pressure finally told on 72 minutes when Diouf was brought down and picked himself up to net a deserved equaliser from the spot.
But after Diouf’’s sending off it was nine against 10 for the final 15 minutes and the visitors suddenly upped their attacking play, scoring their late winner with Ulloa left free to head home from close range.
To their credit, Leeds kept going and Brighton keeper Tomasz Kuszczak was forced to make two saves to keep out headers from Jason Pearce and Lees. But it was defeat to end the home campaign with just an away game at Watford to come next Saturday.
Leeds United 1
(Diouf 74, pen)
(Buckley 10, Ulloa 87)
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Austin (sent-off 12), Green, Tonge (Brown 84), Diouf (sent-off 75), McCormack, Varney (Morison 62).
Brighton: Kuszczak, Salter (Calderon 68, sent-off 73), Greer, Upson, Painter (Dicker 45), Buckley (Vicente 66), Hammond, Lopez, Orlandi, Ulloa, Barnes.
Referee: Graham Scott.