Leeds United didn’t look as good as they did against Burton Albion, as Birmingham City played well for large stretches of the match, but they did just enough to claim another victory and are undefeated in all competitions, have kept six straight clean sheets in the Championship and have yet to concede a goal at Elland Road. Samuel Saiz scored in the first half for Leeds after beating two defenders and the goalkeeper to a loose ball in the six yard box after a thunderbolt of a shot from Pierre-Michel Lasogga, and Stuart Dallas put the game away with a goal in stoppage time. Combined with Cardiff City’s loss at Preston North End, Leeds went top of the table in the Championship tonight, with a big away match at Millwall coming up on Saturday.
Birmingham City got an early corner after a rare misplay at the back from the Leeds defence, but Leeds was able to clear the ball easily. This would be a theme for the match, as Birmingham poured on pressure for much of the match, but the visitors were unable to break through.
Kalvin Phillips wasted a free kick that Samu Saiz won in the 8th minute, sending it far over the bar. Saiz looked to prefer advantage, but the ref whistled for the free kick instead about 30 yards out.
16' Leeds break and have a great chance, Eunan O'Kane finds Pablo Hernandez, but his effort is headed off the line by Chiekh N'Doye 0-0— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 12, 2017
The clubs traded good chances at about the 15 minute mark. First, Birmingham City came close after a Jota cross found Michael Morrison and his header went just inches wide of the post. O’Kane and the rest of Leeds went on the attack with a few chances that went blocked. The best one came from Pablo Hernandez who had his shot cleared off the line by Birmingham’s Chiekh N’Doye.
Lasogga chases a long ball and smashes a shot at Stockdale, who makes a fine save but can't stop Saiz running into bury the rebound. 1-0— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) September 12, 2017
About two minutes later the good work by Leeds was rewarded by a Samu Saiz goal after Lasogga had gotten free and sent a powerful shot at Stockdale, the Birmingham City keeper, which was sent skyward. Saiz beat two Birmingham defenders to the loose ball and tapped the ball home for a goal in the 17th minute.
Leeds kept the pressure on in the next few minutes with an off-balance Lasogga only able to send a header to the top of the net and a Hernandez shot that was sent wide to the right after a brilliant cross from Samu Saiz that had picked out Hernandez in the middle of the box.
45' Maxime Colin beat Felix Wiedwald to the ball and his header was going in, but for Ayling's intervention 1-0— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 12, 2017
The teams traded chances once again, with Jota looking the most lively of the Birmingham City attackers. The best chance for Birmingham came at the beginning of stoppage time when Luke Ayling cleared off the line after Felix Wiedwald was beaten by a Colin header.
The first half was fairly even match despite the 1-0 scoreline and Birmingham City was giving Leeds a much tougher match than Burton had the week before.
The beginning part of the second half was similar to the end of the first half, with Birmingham putting some pressure on Leeds, but Jansson was able to head a corner kick out of danger.
Lasogga came close to scoring but Stockdale was able to beat him to the ball and prevent a goal, but a majority of the possession went Birmingham’s way, with a quickly taken free kick that was drug across the face of goal.
Anita goes to right-back, Ayling to centre-back, Berardi to left-back. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) September 12, 2017
Alioski was subbed off for Kemar Roofe on 60 minutes and then Liam Cooper went down injured, tried to carry on, but ultimately was forced off as Gaetano Berardi returned from injury and Ayling went to centreback and took the armband as Cooper went off.
The match got a little rough after the 70th minute, with a few nasty challenges coming in, resulting in a yellow card for Birmingham. Leeds was lucky not to be punished after a poor clearance from Wiedwald that ended up in the Leeds net, but Birmingham’s Che Adams had somehow found himself offside before the ball hand gone into the net.
Saiz got a shot off after a cheeky backheel from O’Kane had set him loose in the Birmingham box, but his shot was saved by Stockdale and no Leeds play was close enough to pounce on the rebound.
Yellow card: Kalvin Phillips taking one for the team. Hacks down Boga. 79th minute. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) September 12, 2017
Saiz got a cross towards Lasogga, but it was cleared by Birmingham’s Colin out to Boga, would was then fouled by Kalvin Phillips who was shown a yellow card. Hernandez was then subbed off as Stuart came on for the final 10 minutes or so.
Birmingham seemed to once again have the bulk of attacking intent as Leeds seemed resigned to holding down the fort and keeping the clean sheet. Birmingham put numbers forward on a corner in stoppage time, only for Leeds to break and Stuart Dallas to put the dagger into the hearts of the few hundred traveling Birmingham fans as he took the ball on himself after the box filled up with blue and white shirts and scored the final goal himself.
Leeds go top of the table after the result and are now on six straight clean sheets in the Championship, undefeated in all competitions. My man of the match has to go to Samuel Saiz, scorer of the first goal and creator of a few more chances. Felix Wiedwald gets honorable mention, as he got more work than he had for most of the previous three matches or so, but he was able to continue the clean sheet streak as well after a number of good saves. All Leeds Aren’t We.