Leeds United claimed a crucial 1-0 win at Elland Road against Brentford in this sell-out mid-week fixture with a goal from substitute Eddie Nketiah. It was a different kind of match posed ahead of the Whites, with the Bees setting up in a 3-4-3 and looking to cause problems of their own for the home side.
Leeds kept much of the ball in the first half, in what was a cagey opening fifteen or so minutes. The Whites, despite large amounts of possession, struggled to get in-behind the Brentford back-three. A number of key openings could’ve been pounced upon a bit quicker and better in the first-half, but passing in the final third was slack more times than not. A real kick up the backside eventually arrived for Leeds, with a Brentford counter resulting in Bryan Mbeumo hitting the inside of the post from 25 yards.
Soon after, two chances came in quick succession for Patrick Bamford, both coming from Alioski’s aerial pass. The first came from the left-side, Alioski’s chipped ball dipped onto the head of Bamford, but the header was off-target. Just minutes later, Alioski chipped another one in, this time from a deeper central position. This time the keeper, Raya, came off his line and Bamford’s header over the keeper was just inches wide.
Into the second half and Leeds started on the front foot straight away. Leeds won two corners off the bat but were unable to create from these set-pieces. Leeds’ build-up play seemed far quicker and crisper than the first 45’, with another succession of corners coming ten minutes later, but were unable to convert again. Yet another penalty claim was dismissed by the referee, this time the culprit was Julian Jeanvier, in what seemed a fairly clear handball this time around.
Brentford wouldn’t create much in the second period of play, Watkins coming closest on the break after the hour mark. His low strike from the far-left side zipping just wide of the post.
By the 77th minute, Portugal’s Helder Costa and England youth international Eddie Nketiah had entered the field, and by the 81st minute, the ball was in the net. Mateusz Klich brought the ball forward following Gaetano Berardi’s challenge, he then found the advancing run of Costa on the right hand side. From this moment, we could see the carbon copy of the opening goal at Salford City just a week previous. The ball eventually came across the face of goal from Costa, and Nketiah once again, had a tap-in.
Leeds were able to hold on from here capping off a dominant performance with a win and a clean sheet in-front of the home fans at Elland Road.