Leeds United’s second game in Australia ended in defeat to Aston Villa, with Danny Ings’ second half penalty proving to be the difference in a feisty encounter between the two sides.
The Whites made a bright start to the game winning an early corner following a dangerous cross from Dan James and Brenden Aaronson whipped in, with Rasmus Kristensen inches away from getting his head on the end of it.
A weaving run from Jack Harrison saw him brought down just over 20 yards from goal, but he couldn’t find the target with his strike on goal.
Against the run of play, Aston Villa were awarded a controversial penalty. Tyler Adams was penalised for handball as Philippe Coutinho broke into the Leeds box, however replays were inconclusive with the ball appearing to hit his chest.
Countinho stepped up from the spot, but he couldn’t beat Meslier, who made an unbelievable double save to deny the Brazilian.
Moments later, Aston Villa had another great chance to go in front when Coutinho played Watkins clean through on goal, but once more, Meslier pulled off another outstanding stop to keep the scores level.
Leeds had a good opportunity in the 31st minute, Aaronson played Patrick Bamford into the Villa box and he was denied by Olsen, before the rebound fell to James, but he scuffed his shot wide.
Robin Koch made a fine block to deny Watkins, before Aaronson had another decent opportunity before the break when he drove well into the box, but he couldn’t get his shot away before getting dispossessed, as the two sides went in level at the break.
Half time: Leeds United 0-0 Aston Villa
At the start of the second half James put in a low cross which was just behind Bamford, whilst Villa who made nine changes at the break had the ball in the net through Ings, but he was offside.
Ings again went close following a quick free kick, but he could only find the side netting, before Harrison scuffed a shot when well placed in the Villa area.
Leeds made six changes in the 62nd minute with Luis Sinisterra, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo, Archie Gray and Crysencio Summerville introduced for Harrison, Bamford, Aaronson, James, Marc Roca and Adams.
Aston Villa took the lead a minute later, Davis was penalised for handball and Aston Villa were awarded a second penalty and this time Ings made no mistake from the spot.
Things then went from bad to worse for Leeds when Gray forced off on a stretcher just 11 minutes after coming on, following a bad challenge from McGinn which resulted in a yellow card for the Villa midfielder.
Fellow substitute Leo Hjelde almost got Leeds level when his cross headed towards goal, but Olsen recovered to make a good stop.
Leeds continued to push in the closing stages but couldn’t break through the Villa defence and Steven Gerrard’s side held on for the victory.
Full time: Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa
Leeds United 0
Aston Villa 1 (Ings pen 63)
Leeds: Meslier, Kristensen (Drameh 64), Koch, Llorente (Struijk 45), Davis (Hjelde 68), Roca (Forshaw 62), Adams (Gray 62), Aaronson (Klich 62), James (Summerville 62), Harrison (Sinisterra 62), Bamford (Rodrigo 62). Subs not used: Klaesson, Gyabi, Gelhardt, Greenwood.
Aston Villa: Olsen, Cash (Guilbert 45), Mings (Carlos 45), Chambers, Digne (Young 45), Luiz (Sanson 45), Kamara (Nakamba 45), Bailey (A. Ramsey 45), Coutinho (Buendia 45), J. Ramsey (McGinn 45), Watkins (Ings 45). Subs not used: Archer, Iroegbunam, Feeney, Marschall.
Booked: Gray (Leeds), McGinn (Villa)
Referee: Adam Kersey
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane