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Match Recap: Leeds get excellent 2-0 win at Forest

Leeds ran out worthy winners with absolutely everyone playing their part in the victory

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Goals from Kemar Roofe and Ezgjan Alioski gave Leeds United a fully deserved win at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest.

Leeds were on top for the vast majority of the game and the performance left people with very little doubt that this really could be the start of something special for the club.

Kemar Roofe retained his place up front following his midweek hat-trick against Newport County. Vernon Anita kept his place in spite of a poor performance in the same match, and Pablo Hernandez proved his fitness to remain in the side when many had expected Stuart Dallas to get the nod on the left.

The opening was quiet with both sides showing a few nerves but it was Leeds who had the first chance. After 6 minutes Samu Saiz had a strike from just outside the area which went just over the bar. Shortly afterwards Kalvin Phillips played the ball into the box and Armand Traore made a good tackle to deny Ezgjan Alioski in the area.

With 10 minutes gone, Pontus Jansson misjudged a ball (that was admittedly a very difficult one to defend), his attempt looked as if it put off Daryl Murphy who couldn’t get on the end of the cross.

In the 14th minute some good work from Saiz, Alioski and Ayling down the right resulted in a cross, it was poorly headed away by Matt Mills but Hernandez volleyed wide from 18 yards out.

In the 17th minute, Saiz found Alioski but Traore made a good tackle, from the resulting corner an unconvincing flap by the Forest goalkeeper allowed Leeds to keep on the pressure and Alioski shot wide of the right post from 25 yards out.

Leeds were well on top by this point preventing Forest getting out of their own area and Leeds having all the possession.

After 20 minutes some good work on edge of the box by Forest’s forwards resulted in a one-two attempt on the edge of the Leeds area but it was well intercepted by Eunan O’Kane.

On 23 minutes Kemar Roofe was brought down by Andreas Bouchalakis about 35 yards out and a minute later Leeds took the lead.

Hernandez swung in the resulting set piece. A poor defensive header by Matt Mills was headed back in to the middle by Liam Cooper who found Kemar Roofe completely unmarked six yards out and he headed the ball into the bottom-right corner to put Leeds 1-0 ahead.

In the 29th Minute, Alioski played a ball into the box from deep on the right-wing, he found Roofe in the box but it was a tight angle and Roofe’s header lacked power.

WIth half an hour gone, Jansson made a good tackle on Murphy in the penalty area. From the resulting corner Matt Mills was left totally unmarked but Wiedwald saved the header. It was the first time Leeds had switched off in the half.

This seemed to give the home side confidence and they were then able to pin Leeds back for a few minutes.

Felix Wiedwald came out well to deny Ben Osborn, taking ball and man when Leeds could have been in trouble from a Bouchalakis through ball and then Barrie McKay was able to get a good ball in from the right but there was no-one in the box for Forest.

Wiedwald then had to come out again to deny Daryl Murphy who caught the Leeds goalkeeper with his follow-through but there wasn’t much in it.

In the 42nd minute there was some great work down the right from Alioski, beating Traore all ends up. He then found Saiz who exchanged passes with Hernandez before finding Alioski now in the inside-left channel. His drilled the ball across well between the defenders and the goalkeeper but no-one gambled to get on the end of it.

On the stroke of half-time Leeds had a great chance on the break, Saiz played it out to the right for Alioski who had Roofe streaking through the middle, however the Macedonian took too long and was unable to find him. He did win the ball back and find Saiz who shot over from distance but it should have been a much better chance.

There were no changes at half-time, which was unsurprising from a Leeds point of view following a very good half.

Leeds kept pressuring the opposition defenders and kept getting possession back in good positions.

In the 48th minute Saiz did well to beat Matt Mills on the right of the Forest penalty area, he tried to stay on his feet with Leeds in a great position but couldn’t keep his feet. Matt Mills was booked for the foul. Alioski put the resulting free-kick straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.

Leeds were comfortably on top and Forest manager Mark Warburton made the first change on 50 mins, replacing Andreas Bouchalakis with exciting young forward Ben Brereton.

After the change Nottingham Forest started to cause some problems, with Armand Traore getting behind Luke Ayling on Leeds’ right hand side. However, his crosses were too deep on a couple of occasions.

Leeds worked a good opening when Ayling found Saiz, his pull back found Roofe in the box but his effort was blocked.

Liam Bridcutt picked up an unsurprising yellow card when he flew in and took out Saiz on the halfway line.

Leeds then nearly worked another opening as good hold up play from Kalvin Phillips allowed him to play a through ball for Roofe but he was held off well by Mills. Mills did have a hold of Roofe’s shorts but it would have been incredibly soft.

On 58 minutes Leeds picked up their first yellow card. Pablo Hernandez cynically pulling back Tendayi Darikwa when got wrong side of him.

Leeds looked a bit shaky at the back when Forest broke forward in the 60th minute through McKay, however the players all chased back and swarmed around Daryl Murphy when he received the ball and Anita made a good tackle.

Saiz and Hernandez combined on the edge of the Forest box a minute later but neither of them could quite find enough space and Saiz’s eventual shot was poor.

Forest then made a second change when Zach Clough replaced Ben Osborn.

The action was picking up now and a good ball in to the back post by Forest was defended excellent by Phillips.

Leeds looked the better side and were calm in possession but there were certainly some nerves starting to come in to the play.

Jansson was called into action to clear a Barrie McKay cross and Leeds countered immediately with Alioski running 60 yards but his shot was comfortably saved by Jordan Smith.

Leeds’ first change came after 69mins when new signing Jay-Roy Grot replaced Pablo Hernandez, Roofe moving back into the 3 in attacking midfield as Grot went up front.

Immediately after the sub Forest won a corner from another Jansson challenge. Jansson himself cleared but Leeds lost the second ball and only a good tackle from Ayling prevented a good chance for Daryl Murphy.

The home side made their final change as Daryl Murphy was replaced by former Hibernian striker Jason Cummings.

Forest then had a half-shout four a penalty when Liam Cooper had a grab at Ben Brereton, but it would have been a very harsh decision.

Leeds made their second change as Stuart Dallas replaced the goalscorer Kemar Roofe on the left.

Saiz won the ball back off Mills and then beat him twice excellently before Mills blocked his attempt at a cross giving Leeds a corner which Forest dealt with well.

Kieran Dowell played a nice one-two before shooting from 25 yards but his shot was blocked and went for a corner which Grot got his head to before Ayling cleared. Although replays showed that Forest could have had a penalty as Ayling was all over Matt Mills.

Into the final 10 minutes and Luke Ayling then picked up a yellow for what you could call a ‘tactical’ foul as he brought down Brereton with Forest on a good breaking opportunity.

Saiz then found Dallas with a terrific cross-field ball. Dallas took a good first touch and struck the ball wide of the far post with his left-foot.

Saiz then had an effort blocked from the edge of the box but he had a couple of options and should have looked for the pass rather than the shot.

Leeds then doubled their lead after 86 minutes. Kalvin Phillips made a fantastic sliding tackle on Darikwa to win the ball 35 yards out. Alioski picked the ball up, shifted it on to his left-foot and smashed the ball into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards out leaving Forest keeper Smith with no chance.

Leeds then replaced Phillips with Ronaldo Vieira as they looked to wrap up the victory, which Samu Saiz had a chance to do when Alioski laid the ball off to him on the edge of the area.

Dallas had another chance, again found by the excellent Saiz, but he again shot wide of the far post with his left-foot.

Leeds saw out the game then and players and fans alike were left to celebrate an excellent performance and a well-deserved three points.

Look out for the player ratings later. However, it is not a spoiler to say that Alioski was superb and fully deserved his goal, Saiz’s end product could have been better but he looked a cut above again. No-one had a bad game and it was a pleasure to watch. The defence were great too and a fourth consecutive clean sheet speaks for itself.