Leeds United came into tonight’s match knowing that a win would take the Yorkshire club top of the table while Reading would be looking for any kind of points to help them in their efforts to stave off relegation. While Leeds were coming off of a decent 1-0 win away at Bristol City, Reading were coming off of an extraordinary come-from-behind win over Wigan Athletic, with a 97th minute winner coming from former Leeds man Mo Barrow.
Tonight, however, there would be no late-game heroics, as Leeds took the game by the scruff of the neck in the first half and refused to let up. Goals from Mateusz Klich and two brilliant goals from Pablo Hernandez gave Leeds all three points and a return to the top of the table.
Leeds opened the scoring with a great goal from Klich in the 14th minute. Leeds had looked sloppy and a tad out of sorts in the first few minutes, but all of that was erased after a moment of brilliance from the visitors. Patrick Bamford made a brilliant dummy, and the ball went straight to Klich, who made no mistake driving the ball into the back of the net. The midfielder, who had just received a call-up from the Poland national team, scored yet another goal in a Leeds shirt.
And then the first half seemed to be turned over to Hernandez, with some brilliant goal scoring from the Spanish magician. His first goal came after Ayling had done very well to recover the ball after Reading had tried to clear it out of danger. His pass found Hernandez, and he did very well to turn his defender and get a good shot on goal that Emi Martinez wasn’t able to get anywhere near.
Hernandez’s second goal was a work of art. After Bamford picked out Hernandez, his defender have him too much space, and Hernandez made him pay by picking out a brilliant shot that left Martinez with absolutely no chance.
The reaction from the Reading players after the second goal really told the story of the first half. While the Reading defenders in the box simply put their hands on their heads, the defender who was responsible for Hernandez could only look back in disbelief as the ball sailed past the keeper and into the back of the net.
An absolute masterclass from Leeds in the first half, as Leeds simply put the the pedal to the floor and went right at their opponents.
The second half didn’t feature as many highlights as Leeds seemed to ease up a little bit, and while Reading got a little bit back into the match, the match was never seriously in doubt.
Bamford missed three easy chances and Hernandez almost had a hat trick late on after a rebound from a Jack Harrison shot fell to the Spaniard, but it was not to be. However, all’s well that ends well, and Leeds go back top of the league and Reading remain in 19th place. All eyes will be on Norwich City as they host Hull City tomorrow to see if the can once again go above Leeds ahead of the weekend’s matches, with Sheffield United’s visit to Leeds looming as the match of the weekend.