Mon. May 20th, 2019

Leeds beat Reading to return to top of Championship

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Pablo Hernandez reached double figures with his two goals in this win at Reading

Pablo Hernandez scored two magnificent goals to steer Leeds United back to the top of the Championship with a confident victory against Reading.

With pre-match leaders Norwich City not in action until Wednesday, Marcelo Bielsa’s side leapfrogged the Canaries at the summit with a performance of class and ruthlessness to quell a resurgent home side, who were unbeaten in three.

Mateusz Klich rolled Luke Ayling’s cutback in from 10 yards to put Leeds in front inside 15 minutes, and Hernandez took a slide rule pass on the edge of the box, spun and curled the ball off the post for the second.

The Spanish midfielder settled the contest just before the break when he thrashed the ball across goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from the edge of the box for the third.

As expected with such a comfortable lead, the second half was a more pedestrian affair, and Leeds were able to see the game through to full-time untouched.

While it is far too early to compare the current Leeds side to the legends of their early-1970s heyday, there were shades of their DNA in this performance.

Tyler Roberts was booked early on for a lunge on John Swift that was akin to a Norman Hunter challenge, while by contrast some of their one-touch football around the edge of the Royals’ box on occasion was reminiscent of the brand synonymous with Don Revie’s greats.

The lead was so comfortable that Patrick Bamford could afford to waste three chances, while Hernandez’s bid for a hat-trick fell short when his shot seared wide of the post.

While Leeds’ attacking football was sharp and slick, there were a few vulnerable moments at the back which Reading threatened to punish, particularly when Andy Yiadom spun into space and forced a smart narrow-angle save from Kiko Casilla.

Yakou Meite had another chance but Casilla was again sharp enough, and the Spanish keeper was alert to tip a fierce header over the top when a rare opportunity fell to Yiadom in the second half.

Overall, though, Leeds were untroubled, while Reading boss Jose Gomes handed a senior debut to academy product Michael Olise with the game well gone, who followed Ryan East in making his bow.

Reading manager Jose Manuel Gomes told BBC Radio Berkshire:

“Leeds are a very good team with probably the strongest offensive dynamic in this league.

“We started the game very well and we didn’t deserve to concede a goal in the moment we conceded but everything was perfect in the way they scored the goals.

“They shot four times and scored three goals but we didn’t give up, we reorganised and played better in the second half.

“We are not happy with the result but the players and the team played well so there are a lot of positives to take into the next game.”

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