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Fulham edged out at Leeds - Match Report Premiership MatchDay 02

last updated Friday 08th January 2021, 1:20 PM

Match Report

Leeds United (2) 4-3 (1) Fulham

Premier League Match Day 02 2021 at Elland Road

Saturday 19th September 2020    KO: 15:00

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Live on BT Sport

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic
Fulham striker
Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic
His Wiki page
Leeds United were on the right end of a 4-3 scoreline this week and Marcelo Bielsa will soon have an unlikely reputation as a great entertainer, yet enjoyable as it has been to see seven goals scored in two games exactly the same number have been conceded and the manager must have concerns about his defence.

Though apparently dead and buried at one point, Fulham came closer to taking something from this game than they had any right to after conceding four times in the first hour.

Both these newly promoted sides lost on the opening weekend, though Leeds gave the better account of themselves, and the impression that Fulham may be destined for a swift return to the Championship was strengthened when the home side went ahead from a set piece after just five minutes.

Harrison Reed’s attempt to clear a Kalvin Phillips corner was indecisive, to say the least, and the ball flew straight to an unmarked Hélder Costa at the far post, who controlled with an elegant first touch and crashed a left-foot shot into the roof of the net with his second.

If that was exactly the start Leeds would have been hoping for they failed to impose themselves from open play for the next half hour, when there was a surprising lack of creativity and quality on show from both sides.

Striker Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Fulham Striker
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
His Wiki page
Leeds had the excuse that the influential Pablo Hernández was missing, having injured himself in the warm-up, but that meant Rodrigo was promoted from the bench and the £27m record signing was just as anaemic as his teammates before being withdrawn at half time.

A smart save from Alphonse Areola prevented Robin Koch heading Leeds further ahead from another Phillips corner, but the defender made a costly error just after the half hour to present Fulham with a gift equaliser.

Joe Bryan had little chance of reaching a ball he had knocked beyond the Leeds back line yet Koch had already committed himself to the tackle, going to ground early and clipping the Fulham player who naturally made the most of a foul inside the box.

VAR checked the referee’s decision and confirmed it was correct, if extremely soft, and Aleksandar Mitrovic slid the penalty under Illan Meslier’s dive.

Fulham could consider themselves fortunate to be back on terms but they were unable to make the most of it, failing even to make it to the interval without conceding again.

Match Stats Leeds Fulham
Goals (2) 4 3 (1)
Scorers Costa 5 Mitrovic pen 34
Klich pen 41 Reid 62
Bamford 50 Mitrovic 67
Costa 57
Goal attempts 10 14
On target 7 6
Shooting Accuracy 70% 43%
Possession 50% 50%
Passes 322 348
Passes Success 75% 82%
Crosses 20 18
Crosses Success 15% 22%
Corners 5 3
Tackles 23 18
Tackles Success 74% 56%
Saves 3 3
Fouls 13 17
Offsides 3 0
Yellows 1 2
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
If anything the penalty Bryan gave away with a push on Patrick Bamford was even softer than the one at the other end.

Bamford was attempting to reach a cross but was hardly in position for a telling header and Bryan’s nudge in the back was so obvious Anthony Taylor was never going to miss it, leaving Mateusz Klich to restore the home side’s lead from the spot.

Whatever Scott Parker had to say at half time evidently had little effect, for on the restart Fulham shipped another couple of goal before the hour mark came up.

Five minutes into the second half Klich picked out Bamford on the edge of the area with a superbly measured pass, allowing the striker to turn past his man and slide a low shot beyond Areola.

Things looked even worse for the visitors when Bamford took on and beat Denis Odoi down the left for a cut back that Costa met sweetly close to the penalty spot, yet far from fading from sight at 4-1 down Fulham fought their way back into contention.

A couple of substitutions helped, certainly Bobby Decordova-Reid did not hang about when André-Frank Anguissa showed him a glimpse of goal.

The substitute did not have the best of shooting angles but was quicker to react than the Leeds cover for a diagonal shot past Meslier.

Four minutes later Fulham’s tails were properly up when Mitrovic climbed higher than Liam Cooper to score from Kenny Tete’s cross, and suddenly it was Leeds who were looking nervous and disjointed.

Mitrovic went close with a header and Neeskens Kebano struck a post before Tyler Roberts had a shot saved at the other end.

Incredibly, the last 20 minutes passed without either side scoring, which at least made a change.

When Premier League football finally returned to Elland Road, it was quite a game.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "This won't be a constant all year. It is very difficult to maintain the efficiency [in front of goal] we have had in these first two games.

"The characteristics of our game is to create goalscoring opportunities. In these two games we have created very little but we have scored all our chances.

"We have had two very different games. Against Liverpool we tried to get close to a very big rival and today we tried to not be caught by Fulham. Both were very difficult games."

Fulham boss Scott Parker speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "There were a lot of encouraging things. You go 4-1 down away from home and they could really drop their heads. I didn't see that in my team. I saw a real character and determination.

"The biggest thought in my head is that you cannot give up goals that we have given up today. You can't expect to score four or five goals to win football matches in this league.

"If you give up goals too easy you aren't going to win many. I just worry that a red bolt doesn't go off for us. We need to smell it [danger] and sense it in those moments that are crucial in games. Sometimes we are a bit too nice.

"I see an innocence about them not being streetwise. Overall there are a lot of positives but there was one negative which I realise is going to be the difference between us getting results or not."

Leeds United: Meslier, Koch, Ayling, Cooper, Dallas, Klich, Phillips, Harrison, Costa, Moreno (Roberts 45), Bamford (Alioski 70).

Unused substitutes: Caprile, Poveda-Ocampo, Rodrigo, Struijik, Shackleton

Costa 05 (left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the high centre of the goal following a corner.)
Klich pen 41 (converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal. Penalty conceded by Joe Bryan after a foul in the penalty area.)
Bamford 50 (right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mateusz Klich)
Costa 57 (left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.)

Booked: Klich (82,f),

Fulham: Areola, Bryan, Hector, Tete, Odoi, Onomah (De Cordova-Reid 59), Reed (Lemina 70), Zambo Anguissa, Cavaleiro, Kamara (Kebano 59), Mitrovic.

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Cairney, Knockaert, Ream,

Mitrovic pen 34 (converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner. Penalty conceded by Robin Koch after a foul in the penalty area)
De Cordova-Reid 62 (right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.)
Mitrovic 67 (header from the left side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Kenny Tete with a cross.)

Booked: Mitrovic (88,d), Tete (90,f)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 0

Source Paul Wilson at The Guardian
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