Leeds United capped off their first pre-season under Jesse Marsch with a victory over Cagliari in front of the Elland Road support.
The Whites started well and built momentum throughout the first half, with Bamford and Rodrigo getting into plenty of good positions without finding the killer touch.
That was until the 36th minute, when Rasmus Kristensen slipped an incisive low ball into the penalty area for Bamford to flick into the path of Rodrigo. The Spaniard looked up, opened up the tiniest bit of room between his two markers, and somehow lashed the ball into the top-right corner to give Leeds the lead.
Cagliari came back with a refreshed outlook and an aggressive approach. The Italian side came out the blocks and created several openings and opportunities for themselves without much final product.
The Whites managed to boost their lead over the visitors on the 47-minute mark when Rodrigo’s lofted ball from the right toward Jack Harrison was well controlled and shifted back to Rodrigo arriving in the right channel of the box. His low effort was deflected in at the near post.
A third goal came quickly afterwards, as Brenden Aaronson dropped deep to collect the ball and turn with ferocious pace to quickly turn defence into attack. As he approached the halfway line before sending Patrick Bamford through with a tremendous travel pass. Bamford confidently approached the keeper’s territory and powerfully slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.
Cagliari snatched two in quick succession themselves, reducing the deficit to two on 66 minutes as Lapadula finished off a nice move for the visitors. Two minutes later, Zito Luvumbo really dampened the mood inside Elland Road as a comfortable lead was reduced to a slightly worrying situation in a flash.
But Jesse Marsch’s side remained focused on the game plan, scoring the fourth on 71 minutes as Harrison was found on the left channel of the penalty area by Struijk. Harrison took it to the byline before firing the ball across goal for Patrick Bamford to arrive and tuck away his second goal.
The three-goal lead was restored as Patrick Bamford intercepted a poor ball coming out of the Cagliari defence before he slipped the ball to Aaronson on the right channel. The American international lifted the ball over the keeper, and Rodrigo ensured the ball’s safe return into the back of the Cagliari net.
Robin Koch made the scoreline look like something of a drubbing late-on, nodding home Brenden Aaronson’s free-kick delivered from the right side of the box.