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ALFIE JONES buried the decisive penalty in a dramatic spot-kick shoot-out to send Leeds crashing out of the Carabao Cup and Hull into Round Three.

Tigers centre-back Jones struck after Ezgjan Alioski had taken this contest to penalties with a stoppage time leveller for Marcelo Bielsa's Premier League new boys.

5Hull attacker and former Leeds' youth-teamer Mallik Wilks is hailed by the visitors for his openerCredit: AFP

And the Tigers fully deserved to emerge victorious from a clash they dominated from start to finish.

Like most Championship sides last term, Leeds enjoyed a jolly good time of it against Hull.

But while the Whites racked-up a league double over City on their way to winning the second tier title, the Tigers tumbled from being fringe play-off contenders to rock bottom in the table and ultimate relegation.

The season turned sour on the Humberside outfit after they committed soccer suicide by flogging off prized assets Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki to West Ham and West Brom respectively in the January transfer window.

They are now in the process of repairing broken confidence, and want to give something back to their long-suffering fans by getting some momentum going as they plot a path back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

Boss Grant McCann's boys made a bright start of it by winning their opening two games of the campaign, at Sunderland in this competition, and at Gillingham in League One.

Leeds, on the other hand, ended their 16 years in the Football League wilderness by giving a highly creditable performance in a 4-3 defeat against the Premier League champions at Anfield.

Their thrilling display carried the promise of a successful return to the top flight for the Yorkshire giants, and Bielsa has bolstered his gifted squad with some astute signings this summer.

City showed six changes from the side that triumphed at the Priestfield Stadium, and they rocked their lofty White Rose rivals by firing in a fifth minute opener.

Wilks, a summer signing from Barnsley, couldn't believe his luck when the Leeds defence allowed him all the time and space he needed to rifle home a rising drive from the edge of the box which took a wicked deflection on its way into the roof of the net.

And the Tigers showed it was no fluke as they went on to dominate a first-half which could easily have seen them plunder another three goals.

On 17 minutes, Keane Lewis-Potter let fly with a blistering 20-yard effort which keeper Kiko Casilla was grateful to grab at the second time of asking.

Then, eight minutes later, towering centre-back Sean McLoughlin flicked a bullet of a header inches wide from Callum Elder's inch-perfect free-kick.

Finally, three minutes before the break, Lewis-Potter had Casilla grabbing thin air with a delightful curler from the edge of the box which shaved the outside of the flailing keeper's left-hand post.

The disappointing home side's best effort on a bad night for Bielsa saw Alioski's 26th minute drive cannon away to safety off the legs of a Hull defender.

And the impressive Tigers rearguard was always in command against a home side that for so long didn't have a clue how to break them down.

But Ezgjan Alioski rescued Marcelo Bielsa's Premier League newcomers with a left-foot equaliser three minues into stoppage time.

Then League One Hull pipped Leeds in the shootout as the hosts eventually missed two spot-kicks.

FULL REPORT TO FOLLOW

5Leeds' wideman Ezgjan Alioski shows his joy after taking the tie into stoppage timeCredit: EPA 5North Macedonia star Ezgjan Alioski drilled Leeds leveller on 93 minutesCredit: AFP 5Leeds-born Mallik Wilks breaks through against the Premier League new boys after just five minutesCredit: Getty Images - Getty 5Mallik Wilks fires Hull City ahead early on at Elland Road in the Carabao CupCredit: Getty - Pool Most read in FootballTOTAL BALLERSHow Ronaldo and Georgina lavish each other with diamonds, SUVs & £140 SOCKSWHAT THE DEL?Alli left OUT of Tottenham squad to travel to Bulgaria amid 'Mourinho rift'Live BlogLEEDS vs HULL - LIVERodrigo starts as Bielsa's boys face Yorkshire rivals in Carabao CupPicturedTOP OF THE FLOPSChelsea flop Kepa sends fans wild as he shows off huge bulge in pantsGossipIN A SANCHOle 'tells Sancho that Man Utd deal is close' with pair 'in regular contact'KICK OFFSt Mirren vs Celtic: TV Channel, live stream, kick-off time and team news

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Tampa Bay Lightning beat Dallas Stars to win Stanley Cup

By STEPHEN WHYNO /  AP Hockey Writer

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning are the champions of bubble hockey.

Brayden Point scored his playoff-best 14th goal and the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 2-0 on Monday night to win the Stanley Cup and finish off the most unusual NHL postseason in history, staged nearly entirely in quarantine because of the pandemic. The clock hitting zeros in an empty arena nonetheless set off a joyful celebration for a team that endured years of playoff heartbreak and two months in isolation.

Goals from Point and Blake Coleman and a 22-save shutout by Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 6 were enough to power the Lightning to their second championship after winning it in 2004. That also came with the league on the verge of a labor stoppage, a lockout that wiped out an entire season, and similar uncertainty hangs in the air now because of the coronavirus.

Questions about the future were put off for a celebration, by the Lightning and the NHL. Getting this done was a triumph of sorts, financial woes notwithstanding. The NHL is the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to crown a champion since the start of the pandemic.

Tampa Bay’s core group closed out the final with an almost poetic display of what got the Lightning to this point over the past several years and months. Their new star in Point scored a power-play goal in the first period with assists from longtime standouts Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman, key addition Coleman killed a penalty and scored on an odd-man rush in the second, and Vasilevskiy did his job on a relatively slow night in net.

It was more of a coronation than a challenge as the dominant Lightning outshot the Stars 29-22 and looked like the powerhouse they’ve been for much of the past decade.

In the final alone, Tampa Bay’s power play was clicking and turned the series around. Point’s goal made it 7 for 16 over the past five games to decimate the Stars, who were undone by their lack of discipline and couldn’t get enough “Dobby” magic from goaltender Anton Khudobin.

The Stars simply ran out of gas after injuries piled up. Rick Bowness, an assistant for Tampa Bay for five years who was part of their 2015 run that fell short in the final, faced his own uncertain future as interim head coach.

Commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand to present the Lightning with the Stanley Cup exactly 200 days after his dismal if hopeful announcement that the season was being put on pause with 189 games left unplayed.

The league and players’ union worked for nearly four months to iron out where, how and when to play so 2020 wouldn’t join 1919 and 2004 as a year in which the Cup wasn’t awarded.

The plan they came up with was unusual. Like the NBA, it called for walling off teams from the public for months on end. Unlike the NBA, it called for doing it in two spots — Toronto and Edmonton, while the U.S. grappled with spiking coronavirus cases in too many places for NHL leadership to feel comfortable.

And it worked. After more than 31,000 tests, there were zero positive coronavirus cases reported among players, coaches and staff inside the bubbles and just a handful among hotel, arena or restaurant employees. There was nothing close to a breakout.

The NHL has targeted a tentative Dec. 1 start date, but even Bettman acknowledged a later December or January start is possible. And even that is no guarantee given the uncertainty.

 

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