Leeds United 3 Stoke City 1: Whites sweep aside Potters in Championship opener

Goals from Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Liam Cooper were enough to give Leeds United a opening day victory over Stoke City at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, 5th August 2018, 6:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th August 2018, 6:43 pm
Liam Cooper restores the two goal cushion.

The opening chance of the game fell to the hosts following a succession of corners the ball made its way out to Ezgjan Alioski who swung in an inch perfect cross to find Kemar Roofe all alone in the area.

Roofe met the delivery with a fine volley but the point blank effort was straight at Jack Butland in the visiting goal and after a scramble the ball was eventually cleared.

Just minutes later and Leeds would be ahead.

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Leeds United open the scoring at Elland Road.

Samuel Saiz collected the ball in midfield and after some fancy footwork disguised a lovely through ball which split the Potters defence in half leaving Mateusz Klich to slot home past the onrushing Butland and send Elland Road into raptures.

After a spell of pressure from the hosts Tom Ince almost stunned the 34,000 strong crowd into silence.

The new arrival from Huddersfield Town strode into the United half and struck a speculative effort from 25-yards which clipped the top of Bailey Peacock-Farrell's goal.

Gary Rowett's men then had a glorious chance to level proceedings as Gaetano Berardi was caught napping in defence allowing James McClean to burst through on goal.

Instead of opting to shoot the winger squared to forward Benik Afobe but Liam Cooper's outstretched boot was enough to block the pass before Peter Etebo mustered a tame effort which was well saved by Peacock-Farrell.

The Whites smelled blood and a clever flick from Pablo Hernandez found Alioski alone in the box but his thunderous volley was matched by Butland this time.

Roofe and then Alioski once more saw efforts fall agonisingly wide of the post but it was playmaker Pablo Hernandez who added a second in stoppage time of the opening half.

The Spaniard picked his spot and drilled a low effort goalwards which crept under Butland and into the bottom corner of the net to give Bielsa's men a cushion at the break as they left the field to a standing ovation.

Just minutes after the break Stoke had a lifeline.

After a scramble in the box James McClean was sent tumbling to the floor with referee Scott Duncan pointing to the spot which new signing Afobe duly converted with ease.

As the Potters looked to have a way back United restored the advantage as Douglas whipped in a sublime corner which was met by a glancing Liam Cooper header.

Stoke attempted to pick themselves up off the canvas once more forcing Peacock-Farrell into action with a string of saves.

First the United stopper had to get down low to keep out a McClean free-kick before producing a top class save from second half substitute Peter Crouch's headed effort.

The Whites ended with a flurry following another point blank save from Peacock-Farrell as the ball bounced around in the area following a corner.

Leeds broke with a purpose as a Stuart Dallas cross evaded Lewis Baker before a reverse was inches away from Jack Harrison's head.

The two goal cushion would be enough though as the late afternoon sun shone across Elland Road with the Bielsa revolution getting off to a winning start and in some style.