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Leeds 2-2 Villarreal: Player Ratings

Klich and Bamford score in promising Leeds United display as Whites draw close to preseason campaign.

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Leeds United secured a hard-fought draw against Europa League champions Villarreal at the LNER Community Stadium in York this evening.

Ahead of next week’s Premier League opener at Manchester United, the Whites responded well to the Yellow Submarines’ first goal within 10 seconds as Mateusz Klich’s cushioned finish provided a ninth-minute equaliser.

Poll

Who was your man of the match for Leeds against Villarreal?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Illan Meslier
    (21 votes)
  • 8%
    Liam Cooper
    (28 votes)
  • 19%
    Mateusz Klich
    (65 votes)
  • 21%
    Raphinha
    (73 votes)
  • 36%
    Patrick Bamford
    (124 votes)
  • 7%
    Other
    (25 votes)
336 votes total Vote Now

Patrick Bamford should have been awarded a penalty when he was brought down in the area after half-an-hour, but he was quickest to react when Liam Cooper’s powerful header smashed against the crossbar five minutes from half-time, handing Leeds the advantage after a hectic opening 45 minutes.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side were more thoroughly tested in the second half, and Villarreal’s patience was rewarded when they tucked home an equaliser with 10 minutes of normal time to play.

It was an excellent display from Leeds who welcomed Liam Cooper back to the starting line-up, while Kalvin Phillips impressed coming off the bench in the second half. Here are the player ratings:


Illan Meslier - 7.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Wasn’t much he could do for Villarreal’s swift opener or their equaliser. Made a strong save at the near post shortly after Klich’s leveller. Commanded his area well and showed good sharpness to kickstart a counter-attack after 25 minutes. Comfortably saved a bouncing effort from distance in the second half. Put his body on the line brilliantly to deny the visitors a late headed winner from close range.


Stuart Dallas - 7.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Very strong defensive display from Dallas. Tracked back well and held his own in 1v1 situations. Contributed with plenty of interventions to help Leeds control a frantic match. Looked effective going forward too. Provided a good cross for Cooper’s header against the bar, which was tucked away by Bamford for the second goal. Could have done a bit better to deny Villarreal their equaliser.


Liam Cooper - 8

Leeds United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Lynne Cameron - Pool/Getty Images

Solid defensive performance from the captain, whose presence has evidently been missed from the first team. Contributed with some strong challenges and distributed effectively. Positioned himself well to block Villarreal’s ventures towards the Leeds area. Rose brilliantly to smash a header against the bar prior to Bamford’s goal.


Pascal Struijk - 6.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Knocked the ball around nicely and positioned himself well in defensive situations. Had more of an impact during spells of Villarreal dominance in the second half. Will be happy with his defensive performance.


Luke Ayling - 6.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

No outstanding moments for the right-back, who defended comfortably for the most part. Struggled under pressure at times and wasn’t as involved in the build-up play as he’s used to being.


Robin Koch (off 46’) - 6.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Unfortunate to knock the ball into his own net in the opening seconds. Played some nice balls forward and otherwise did well enough defensively. Replaced by Phillips at half-time.


Jack Harrison - 7

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Covered the pitch well but not as involved as he would have liked in the first half. Provided an excellent deep cross for Bamford, who couldn’t direct his header on target. Provided another great chance for Bamford in the second half when he won the ball outside Villarreal’s area and set the striker up to dink the ball over the keeper and force a goal-line clearance. Crossing wasn’t quite at its best.


Mateusz Klich - 7.5

Promising display from the 31-year-old. Looks to have found his shooting boots with a well-placed side foot finish from outside the box to equalise for Leeds. Linked up play well and broke up Villarreal’s play effectively higher up the pitch. Contended with a potential injury during the second half but didn’t feel uncomfortable enough to come off.


Rodrigo Moreno (off 46’) - 6.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Wasn’t as busy as he would’ve preferred, but forced a good save from the keeper on the stroke of half-time after an excellent first touch from Raphinha’s ball sent him through on goal. Replaced by Roberts during the interval.


Raphinha (off 75’) - 8

Ajax v Leeds United - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images

An improved performance against Villarreal compared to the Ajax defeat midweek. Gave their defenders headaches throughout, causing trouble with driven shots and passes after cutting inside. Took risks with his passes to create opportunities and had plenty of tricks up his sleeve to retain possession.

Tracked back well to contribute defensively. Sometimes held onto the ball for too long but made up for it with some superb passes. Replaced by Costa during the second half.


Patrick Bamford - 8 (MOTM)

Excellent performance from the striker. Pressed well higher up the pitch and won the ball on a couple of occasions to keep Villarreal under constant pressure. Made some great runs off the ball, and was unfortunate to see his header glance wide after getting on the end of a deep Harrison cross.

Skimmed the woodwork with a decent effort from outside the box shortly afterwards. Was alert enough to cushion a close range finish after Cooper’s header struck the bar just before half-time. A second-half lofted effort beat the keeper and was cleared off the line by a defender. Drew fouls from the opposition, and should have been awarded a penalty in the first half.


Tyler Roberts (on 46’) - 6

Ajax v Leeds United - Club Friendly Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Didn’t have the desired impact off the bench, albeit through no lack of effort. Rarely saw the ball and wasn’t as effective as Bamford when pressing high up the pitch. Had one or two nice runs through the middle, though.


Kalvin Phillips (on 46’) - 7

FBL-ENG-PR-LEEDS-WEST BROM Photo by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Defended really well and made some excellent challenges as he showcased his impressive reading of the game. Consistently offered himself for teammates in pockets of space and retained the ball well in congested areas. Sprayed some nice passes forward from deep, although he struggled to consistently find his target.


Helder Costa (on 75’) - 6.5

Ajax v Leeds United - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Got himself involved which is more than could be said of him in previous friendlies. Didn’t always make the most of space ahead of him but caused some problems in more congested situations. Had a few blocked shots and got more stuck in than usual in the final third.


Who was your man of the match? Let us know in the poll at the top of the page (viewable in browser) and let us know on Twitter.