Leeds United 4 Harrogate Town 2: Whites begin life under Christiansen with victory

Kemar Roofe gave Leeds United the lead against Harrogate Town.
Kemar Roofe gave Leeds United the lead against Harrogate Town.
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Leeds United struck four times to begin life under Thomas Christiansen with a behind-closed-doors pre-season win over Harrogate Town.

An early penalty from Kemar Roofe set Leeds up for a 4-2 victory at Thorp Arch this afternoon as Christiansen’s squad were given their first run-out under the club’s new head coach.

Roofe scored after a 16th-minute handball by Harrogate’s Ben O’Hanlon, beating goalkeeper James Belshaw.

Marcus Antonsson had earlier hit the crossbar with a header and was denied by a good save from Belshaw soon after Roofe’s opener as United dominated their non-league opponents.

Madger Gomes, the young Spanish midfielder signed by Leeds from Liverpool last week, added a second goal on 33 minutes and Pablo Hernandez gave United a 3-0 advantage after a lay-off by Stuart Dallas in the 50th minute.

Harrogate pulled a goal back 15 minutes from time through striker Jordan Thewlis and reduced the deficit further when Ben Pollock nodded home eight minutes later but Lee Erwin sealed United’s win with a late tap-in.

Christiansen fielded different line-ups in each half during the first of seven friendlies scheduled for the summer.

Pontus Jansson and Eunan O’Kane were left out having made belated returns to training on Monday and Chris Wood is abroad after a spell of international duty with New Zealand.

Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was also omitted as Rob Green played out the first 45 minutes and new signing Felix Wiedwald the second.

Centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci, however, completed the second half having rejoined the club after his loan at Empoli last season.

United are open to offers for Bellusci, who has 12 months left on his deal, and the club gave the controversial defender’s an additional week’s holiday in an effort to allow him to find another move to Italy.

Bellusci has failed to attract a firm bid despite interest from Cagliari and Benevento and he flew back to England to begin work at Thorp Arch this week.

New signing Mateusz Klich featured in midfield while Toumani Diagouraga – on loan at Ipswich Town during the second half of last term – played in the heart of defence for the first 45 minutes against Harrogate, highlighting United’s need for additional centre-backs.

Leeds United first half: Green, Denton, Cooper, Diagouraga, O’Connor, Gomes, Bridcutt, Klich, Roofe, Doukara, Antonsson.

Leeds United second half: Wiedwald, Berardi, P McKay, Bellusci, Ayling, Dallas, Phillips, Vieira, Sacko, Hernandez, Erwin.

Kemar Roofe celebrates his second goal with his team-mates.

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