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Jesse Marsch earns first Premier League victory as Leeds manager

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Leeds United was staring another disappointing result in the face on Sunday afternoon at Elland Road, but Jesse Marsch’s side dug deep to hand the American manager his first victory as head coach.

Joe Gelhardt’s 94th-minute winning goal helped Leeds United earn a 2-1 home victory over Norwich City on Sunday, lifting the Whites four points clear of the relegation zone in the English Premier League. The victory also snapped an eight-match winless run for the Yorkshire club, providing a boost of confidence heading into the final nine matches of the season.

“I feel like I played 96 minutes,” Marsch said postmatch. “Obviously there’s a lot of emotion in the late stages of the match. I’ve heard a lot about the magic of Elland Road, it’s certainly an incredible experience. My family were here for the first time today. 

“When you talk about individual moments in your career, that was certainly special,” Marsch added. “I know I’ll remember that one for a long time. The three points are incredibly valuable. What I take away is that the performance was strong and the idea of how we want to play the game.”

Leeds United took an early lead at Elland Road as Rodrigo’s breakthrough goal in the 14th minute put the hosts in front against the visiting Canaries. Daniel James connected with the Spanish forward, allowing Rodrigo to curl a shot into the bottom corner of Tim Krul’s goal.

After missing out on countless chances to double its lead, Leeds United watched as Norwich City picked up the offensive pressure after halftime. Jonathan Rowe struck the crossbar not long after coming onto the field and the Canaries finally netted their equalizing goal through Kenny McLean’s determination.

The Scottish midfielder raced into the box and hammered home Teemu Pukki’s assist which tied things up for Dean Smith’s side and looked to have given Norwich City one road point. However, Leeds United stole all three points at the death and Rapinha’s clever move around Krul in the box allowed Joe Gelhardt to slam home a wide-open opportunity.

Marsch became the first American manager to earn a Premier League victory since Bob Bradley won with Swansea City. German-born manager and USMNT alumnus David Wagner is also on the list, having won matches as manager at Huddersfield Town.

Leeds United will next face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday in its final match of March.

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