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League Cup Recap: An excellent first half powers Leeds past Bolton 2-1

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Samu Saiz ran riot and Leeds went home winners

Leeds United v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Leeds United hosted Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup, in a match that would showcase some of the players just outside of the starting XI under Bielsa, while also giving a chance to a few of the younger players looking to play their way into the side.

The chemistry between Samu Saiz and Patrick Bamford started to become apparent early on in the match, with Bamford coming close in the 14th minute after some good work from Saiz to spring him free for a shot that he really should have buried.

Leeds totally dominated the first 25 minutes or so, with Bolton often grasping at straws while attempting to defend.

Leeds were rewarded in the 27th minute as, who else, Saiz started an attack that Bamford did well to finish. Bamford nutmegged the defender in front of him, got the ball back and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net for his opening goal at Leeds and the first goal of the match.

Leeds continued to play well, and struck again before halftime, as the team rapidly counterattacked from a long throw, with Lewis Baker breaking free and looking for help. It appeared that the chance had gone, only for Saiz to control the ball in the Bolton box. Saiz waited patiently for the flying challenges to slide by, and then took a good shot that went into the back of the net.

Leeds went into halftime looking as if they were cruising into the second round at halftime, but the lack of match fitness seemed to bite some of the Leeds players and Bolton started to gain some ground in the match.

Leeds were sloppy at the back and allowed Bolton to grab a lifeline after Oztumer, who often appeared as one of the more dangerous Bolton attackers, put a good shot into the back of the Leeds net.

The goal seemed to embolden Bolton a bit, as they continued to press forward, while Leeds seemed to hang back a little bit and gave Bolton a bit more time and space then they had done in the first half.

Leeds dodged a bullet in the 67th minute as Bolton’s Grounds was wide open but took his shot too quickly and sent the ball into orbit instead of testing the keeper. Blackman perhaps should have dealt with the original shot better, but he left a rebound in the middle of the box that was just begging to be shot into the net with Blackman not able to get to the far post.

Leeds made their first subs in the 68th minute with Saiz and Tyler Roberts coming off and Matuesz Klich and Gjanni Alioski getting into the match.

Both teams had chances to score, but Leeds did enough to see out the match. Bamford missed another couple chances that could have easily been goals on another day before he was subbed off for Kemar Roofe in the 80th minute.

Jack Harrison also could have scored a pair of goals had his shots stayed down, but in the end, the two first half goals was all that was needed to see off Bolton and for Leeds to make it to the next round of the Carabao Cup.