Leeds winger Dan James sent off for HORROR challenge on Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic

Dan James became the second Leeds player to be shown a straight red card in successive weeks after his shocking tackle on Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who is now a major doubt for the FA Cup final as a result of the crunching challenge.

Jesse Marsch’s men were trailing 1-0 at Elland Road when an over-zealous James jumped into a tackle, initially getting the ball but followed through on the tackle and catching Kovacic on the calf.

While the challenge was met with universal approval from the Elland Road crowd, referee Anthony Taylor – who was stood just behind the tackle – saw it differently and brandished the red card. 

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Dan James (left) was sent off for a reckless tackle on Mateo Kovacic (centre) on Wednesday

Referee Anthony Taylor didn’t hesitate in showing the Welshman a straight red card

James walks off the pitch after being shown a straight red card for his horror tackle

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There were few complaints from his team-mates as James trudged off while Marsch rewatched the footage and pleaded to the fourth official that James got the ball. 

It makes James the second Leeds player to be shown a straight red card in successive matches following Luke Ayling’s dismissal in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal. 

And Graeme Souness slammed the tackle as ‘dangerous’ at half-time, despite acknowledging that the Welshman got the ball initially. 

Graeme Souness slammed James’ challenge as a ‘dangerous tackle’ at the half-time interval

🗣️ “He got a bit of the ball but a hell of a lot of Kovačić!”

Graeme Souness had no doubts that Dan James’ “reckless” tackle was a straight red card 🟥 pic.twitter.com/LTjftQPHHj

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 11, 2022

Souness said at half-time: ‘It’s reckless. Yes, he gets the ball. But he gets more of the player. It’s a dangerous tackle and a red card.

‘He got a bit of the ball but a hell of a lot of Kovacic!’

Arsenal legend Alan Smith, who was on commentary for the game at Elland Road, believe it was a right call to send James off.

‘My initial reaction is one of shock,’ Smith said. ‘It’s deja-vu for Leeds following that Arsenal defeat.’

It’s the second game in a row where Leeds have been shown a straight red card, with Luke Ayling sent off against Arsenal last week for his two-footed lunge

Kovacic now remains a major doubt for Chelsea’s FA Cup final with Liverpool this Saturday, leaving Thomas Tuchel with a potential selection problem for the Wembley showpiece.

Chelsea went on to score another two goals at Elland Road, moving them four points clear of fourth-place Arsenal who have a game in hand.

Leeds, meanwhile, remain in a relegation fight and are level on points with Burnley with just two games left.

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