Leeds United reached the second round of this season’s League Cup competition by disposing of League Two Salford City. It was a comfortable scoreline in the end, but doesn’t tell the full story of a hard battling Salford side.
The home side made the game difficult for Leeds in the first half, setting up a solid shape while Leeds were on the ball, making it very difficult for Leeds to nip ball in-behind the defensive line. While Leeds struggled for room in the Salford box, the home team made a nuisance of themselves at times, but only tested the keeper once. The ball was cut inside, with the Salford striker only just reaching the ball first, the ball snuck by two bodies before Kiko Casilla quickly dropped to the deck to cradle the ball in his gloves.
Leeds made a crucial breakthrough on the stroke of half-time, the only time that Leeds managed to get behind the defence in the first half. Leeds circulated the ball well around the penalty area, looking for the gap in the back-line. This opening was pounced upon by Jamie Shackleton’s pass through to Helder Costa on the far right hand side, the £15 million man slipped a low, pacey ball across the face of goal, and debutant Eddie Nketiah tapped home to open his account in a Leeds jersey.
Grabbing the second goal was something touched upon at the weekend and Leeds grabbed it just five minutes into the second half. Helder Costa got a second assist from the corner kick, Gaetano Berardi got away from his marker, and his run from back post to front was perfect to meet the ball, and an easy finish gave the Swiss the second goal of his career.
Leeds got a third in the 58th minute, a Salford corner was well cleared. Mateusz Klich’s tenacity rewarded him with plenty of space to run into having met the clearance 35 yards from goal. Klich reached the edge of the box before cutting inside and finding the far corner with a lovely curled finish. Classic Klich.
Salford did not go without their chances, with a number of strikes from distance calling Kiko Casilla into action by the danger-men Richie Towell and Danny Whitehead, while Adam Rooney missed a glorious chance as Casilla’s save was parried straight into the path of the Salford number nine, fortunately, he was unable to convert.