Leeds 2-0 Rotherham: Marcelo Bielsa's side maintain perfect start
Luke Ayling and Kemar Roofe on target for Leeds
Last Updated: 19/08/18 7:20pm
Leeds maintained their impressive unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 Yorkshire derby victory at home to rivals Rotherham.
Goals from Luke Ayling and leading scorer Kemar Roofe did the damage as Marcelo Bielsa's team made it three successive league victories and four in all competitions.
Defender Ayling headed the home side into a 49th-minute lead before Roofe put the contest beyond doubt with a clinical 72nd-minute finish.
Amazingly it was right-back Ayling's first Leeds goal and first goal for nearly three and a half years having last scored in April 2015, playing for Bristol City when then demolished Bradford 6-0. And for Roofe it was a third goal in four games to continue to what has so far been a fine start to the season.
Millers boss Paul Warne made eight changes to his starting line-up from Tuesday night's 3-1 home win over Wigan, while opposite number Bielsa also made eight changes from his team which beat Bolton 2-1 at Elland Road in midweek.
And the Whites started brightly when Kalvin Phillips blasted high and wide for the hosts after only four minutes. Roofe also went close to opening the scoring with a right-footed drive from the edge of the box.
Keeper Marek Rodak saved easily from Spanish forward Samuel Saiz as Leeds maintained their sustained pressure, but it was the Millers who should have taken the lead.
Shot-stopper Bailey Peacock-Farrell produced a fine point-blank save to deny winger Ryan Williams after skipper Liam Cooper had carelessly given the ball away in his own penalty area. Ayling rifled a left-foot shot just wide of the right post as the game hotted up.
However, just a minute later and the visitors were desperately unlucky not to score when midfielder Jon Taylor's blistering strike rattled the inside of the left upright.
Lone striker Michael Smith then teed up midfielder Matthew Palmer on the edge of the box but he disappointingly blazed his shot over.
At the other end, Polish playmaker Mateusz Klich shot wide of the left post, while midfielder Will Vaulks had a rasping goalbound shot charged down just outside the area for the Millers.
Rodak denied Swiss defender Gaetano Berardi with an athletic fingertip save on the stroke of half-time as it finished goalless at the break.
The Whites had the perfect start to the second half. Rodak blocked Cooper's goalbound header and Roofe should have powered home the rebound.
But Ayling was on hand to head home, although referee Robert Jones had to check the ball had crossed the line before deservedly awarding the home side the lead.
Roofe then had a shot charged down and Saiz saw his close-range shot brilliantly headed off the line by Millers' skipper Richard Wood. But not long after Roofe pounced to double the home side's lead in the 72 minute and the job was done.
Debutant Ryan Manning came off the substitute's bench to force Peacock-Farrell into a save, but it was little too late for the visitors.
Marcelo Bielsa: "Winning three games in a row is good for us. You have to respect your opponent, but I think we deserved to win the game. The problems we had were in the first half were more linked to our own goal rather than focusing on our defensive actions. We have been better in the first half, but we built too much from the back.
"In the second half it was looking like what happened in the first half, but the opponent didn't have any offensive action. Our opponents were tired so we had more space to attack. Unlike our first two league games, today was more of a Championship game. Rotherham had three clear moments where they could have scored a goal, which was because of the mistakes we made."
Paul Warne: "The lads had a real opportunity to upset the apple cart today - and they didn't take it. They're great human beings my lads, but they have to believe they are better than they were today.
"We want to get better and really compete, but we've got to be realistic but I hope they all think we need to improve, even by 5 per cent that would benefit us. In the Championship you don't get many opportunities to score, so hopefully we take more of them going forward."