EFL Reporter @simgholam
Bristol City 1-3 Leeds: Pablo Hernandez inspires victory in opening game for Marcelo Bielsa's side
Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison on target as Leeds cruise to victory in their Sky Bet Championship opener.
Last Updated: 04/08/19 11:01pm
Leeds got off the mark in their Sky Bet Championship opener as they comfortably beat Bristol City 3-1 at Ashton Gate.
Installed as title favourites in pre-season, there were still some question marks over how Marcelo Bielsa's side would respond following their play-off heartbreak in May, but any notions of that were quickly dispelled as Pablo Hernandez put them in front in the first half, before teeing up Patrick Bamford for their second after the break.
Jack Harrison then finished the game off for Leeds with 18 minutes to go, before Andi Weimann scored a consolation for Bristol City, who were surprisingly flat in their first game of the season, and looked stretched defensively following Adam Webster's departure to Brighton earlier this week.
Ben White made his Leeds debut after joining on loan from Brighton, while fellow new arrival Helder Costa started on the bench.
Lee Johnson, meanwhile, opted to start Taylor Moore in central defence following the departure from Bristol City of Adam Webster earlier in the week.
It may have been a new season but, just like in years gone by, it was a moment of magic from Hernandez that provided the breakthrough for Leeds. The little Spaniard found a pocket of space on the edge of the Bristol City box after 27 minutes, before turning under little pressure and curling an absolute beauty of a strike into the top corner.
Hernandez then turned provider for Leeds' second goal after 57 minutes. Picking up the ball in the box, he skipped past Callum O'Dowda with tremendous ease before dinking a cross into the path of Bamford, who got across his marker and powered a header home from close range.
After 72 minutes it was essentially game over. Bristol City were committing bodies forward and that allowed Leeds plenty of space to spring into on the counter.
Bristol City: Bentley (6), Hunt (6), Kalas (5), Moore (5), Dasilva (6), Pack (6), Brownhill (6), O'Dowda (5), Weimann (7), Palmer (6), Diedhiou (5)
Subs: Eliasson (n/a), Paterson (n/a), Taylor (n/a)
Leeds: Casilla (5), Dallas (7), Cooper (7), White (7), Douglas (6), Phillips (7), Klich (7), Forshaw (7), Hernandez (8), Harrison (7), Bamford (7)
Subs: Costa (n/a), Alioski (n/a), Davis (n/a)
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez
Stuart Dallas flew forward down the right after they had won the ball back and played in Mateusz Klich in the middle. His shot was blocked but it only deflected as far as Harrison, who essentially had an empty net to turn the ball into.
Bristol City finally responded after 79 minutes as Weimann scored following a solo run and low finish inside Kiko Casilla's near post, but it was too little, too late for the home side as they fell to defeat.
Man of the Match - Pablo Hernandez
34 years of age but showing no signs of slowing down. Given a remarkable amount of space for the opener, Championship defenders will take note not to give him that much time on the edge of the box. His assist for Bamford's goal was also a sumptuous piece of attacking play.
Lee Johnson: "Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say they showed more quality than us on the day. I was disappointed with our composure and our start, but at the same time they were excellent. At half-time we managed to regroup a little bit and get going again, but that second goal was a bit of a sucker punch for us.
"I thought we were honest and kept going. Obviously we lost a big player in Webster, but I thought Taylor Moore came in and did fantastically well."
Marcelo Bielsa: "We were in charge for the first 30 minutes in each half, but we gave them chances in the last 15 minutes of each half. If we had finished both halves better we could have created more chances.
"It was important to win, playing away against a team that could be near the top of the table."
Leeds are back on Sky Sports Football next weekend. They take on Nottingham Forest at 12.30pm on Saturday. Bristol City head to Birmingham for a 3pm kick-off.