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Gaetano Berardi lets down Leeds United fans once again

Championship

Gaetano Berardi lets down Leeds United fans once again

The Swiss defender picked up his third red card of the season v Sunderland yesterday.

Leeds United battled their way to a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Sunderland at Elland Road yesterday which was a decent result considering the club’s continued defensive woes. Leeds handed Paudie O’Connor his debut for the club, whilst Stuart Dallas reverted to a full-back role once again.

With that in mind, the performances of experienced defenders Pontus Jansson and Gaetano Berardi were key to any success Leeds were going to find.

The latter had a game of little consequence, until the final few minutes. For reasons unbeknownst to the Leeds faithful, the Swiss general flew into a double-footed lunge on Callum McManaman in the 89th minute and was shown a straight red card by the referee.

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Gaetano Berardi of Leeds United stretches for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Cambridge United and Leeds United at Cambs Glass Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

It was a simple decision to make and a moment of rash stupidity from Leeds’ experienced defender.

Berardi is a massive fan favourite at Leeds and rightly so. His attitude is often exemplary and he wears his heart on his sleeve. A classic hardman, Berardi is something of a throwback and Leeds fans have certainly accepted him as one of their own.

But the red card yesterday was just another example of Berardi letting Leeds down.

It was a needless challenge and one which left Leeds battling for the final moments of the game with ten men. Berardi, who was captaining the side, needed to do better by his teammates than getting himself sent off the field of play.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Matt Taylor of Bristol City(L) and Gaetano Berardi of Leeds United clash resulting in red cards for both during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Leeds United at Ashton Gate on October 21, 2017 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Not only was this a mistake that could have cost Leeds a point yesterday, but it also could damage them going forward. Berardi, like the rest of the Leeds camp, knows there is a defensive shortage. He will now serve a suspension which makes Paul Heckingbottom’s job even harder.

It was not the first time Berardi did something like this in 2018. He received a needless double booking against Cardiff City in February when Leeds were in the midst of another defensive crisis. Overall it is his third red card of the season and some Leeds fans have had enough.

His popularity is waning with these moments of madness and Berardi needs to find some tranquillity if he is to remain one of the Leeds faithful’s favourites.

Mathew Nash

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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