Bristol City 1 Leeds United 3 - Pablo Hernandez provides spark as Whites make winning start

Leeds United began the Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate thanks to goals from Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 6:45 pm
Pablo Hernandez celebrates his opening goal at Bristol City. (Copyright: Gareth Williams/AHPIX LTD)

Marcelo Bielsa opted to start summer signing Helder Costa on the bench while centre-back Ben White was handed his full debut in defence.

United enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges but it was the hosts who had the first sight at goal.

Kasey Palmer stepped up to fire a free-kick from 25-yards straight into the hands of Kiko Casilla after he was brought down by Adam Forshaw.

Bielsa's side were dominating the ball but it took a moment of magic from Spaniard Pablo Hernandez to light up the Sunday afternoon clash after the 20 minute mark.

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The 34-year-old jinked in and out of the City defence before firing an inch-perfect shot into the top corner from 20-yards leaving Daniel Bentley no chance.

Lee Johnson's men responded before the break as Andreas Weimann flashed a ball across goal for striker Famara Diedhiou.

Casilla was again called into action as he made a smart save down to his left after failing to claim a cross from a Josh Brownhill effort.

Forshaw struck a shot himself inches wide to signal the end of the half as the two benches clashed down the tunnel with the hosts unhappy following a tackle from Marlon Pack on Mateusz Klich.

The second period began with the two sides exchanging yellow cards as the needle from the half-time break carried through onto the pitch.

Ben White was on hand to clear away City's first chance following the interval before Hernandez again provided the spark for Leeds.

The Spaniard eased past his man into the area before pulling back a cross for Patrick Bamford, who was on hand to silence his critics and fire a header home to double the advantage.

Forshaw and Klich then went close as United searched for a third before Jack Harrison also saw an effort blocked.

The Robins thought they had a breakthrough as Brownhill flashed another free-kick into the side-netting with the home fans seeing their celebrations cut short.

Leeds, though, added to their misery as Stuart Dallas burst down the right to pick out Klich inside the area just minutes later.

The midfielder saw his shot rebound into the path of Harrison who made no mistake as he volleyed home into the empty net in front of the travelling Whites fans.

With 10 minutes to go City finally had their goal as some slack defending at the back allowed Weimann freedom on the left to drill low past Casilla after a slight deflection.

Despite a shaky few minutes Bielsa's outfit held firm to seal all three points and begin the Championship campaign with victory.

Bristol City: Bentley, Hunt, Dasilva, Kalas, Brownhill, O’Dowda, Pack, Palmer, Moore, Diedhiou, Weimann. Subs: Wollacott, Baker, Taylor, Szmodics, Eliasson, Paterson, Rowe.

Leeds United: Casilla, Douglas (Alioski 80'), Cooper, White, Dallas, Phillips, Klich (Costa 75'), Forshaw, Hernandez, Harrison (Davis 85'), Bamford. Subs not used: Miazek, Gotts, Bogusz, Clarke.

Bookings: Pack 47', Palmer 55', Taylor 88' (Bristol City). Forshaw 48', Hernandez 54' (Leeds United).