Leeds 3-1 Stoke: Marcelo Bielsa's side ease to victory in Sky Bet Championship opener
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 06/08/18 6:17am
Marcelo Bielsa's tenure at Leeds got off to a superb start as they outclassed Stoke in a 3-1 Sky Bet Championship victory at Elland Road.
Mateusz Klich and Pablo Hernandez's first-half goals got Leeds off to a great start on Sunday, and Liam Cooper put the game beyond Stoke again after Benik Afobe had pulled one back from the penalty spot.
Stoke are among the favourites for promotion this season, but looked hugely unconvincing in both defence and attack in their first game under Gary Rowett.
Leeds: Peacock-Farrell (7), Ayling (7), Cooper (7), Berardi (7), Douglas (7), Phillips (7), Klich (7), Alioski (7), Saiz (8), Hernandez (8), Roofe (8)
Subs: Dallas (n/a), Baker (n/a), Harrison (n/a)
Stoke: Butland (4), Bauer (4), Martins Indi (5), Shawcross (4), Pieters (4), Etebo (4), Ince (5), Badou (4), Allen (5), McClean (5), Afobe (5)
Subs: Fletcher (n/a), Crouch (n/a), Bojan (n/a)
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe
Leeds hit the ground running in the first half and were well worth their two-goal lead. The first came after 15 minutes when Samu Saiz fed the ball into Klich in the box, and he did well to take a touch and fire past Jack Butland.
Butland could not have done too much about the first, but the second in first-half stoppage time was a bit of a disaster for the England international.
There did not appear to be too much danger when Hernandez shot low from the edge of the area, but Butland somehow managed to let the ball squirm through his hands and into the bottom corner.
Stoke were handed a lifeline seven minutes after half-time when Barry Douglas chopped down Tom Ince in the box, and Afobe slotted the resulting penalty.
Barry Douglas made his debut for Leeds while Patrick Bamford was named on the bench. Gary Rowett handed Stoke debuts to Oghenekaro Etebo, James McClean, Tom Ince and Benik Afobe, while Jack Butland started in goal.
But Douglas would make up for that error after 57 minutes when his whipped corner, such a key feature for Wolves last season, found the head of Cooper, who powered the ball past the helpless Butland.
Rowett brought on Bojan and Peter Crouch to try and get Stoke back into the game, but Leeds were largely comfortable for the final half an hour as they saw out a great opening-day win.
Man of the match - Kemar Roofe
Leeds were impressive in attack and it was a tough choice between them all, but Roofe just edges it for the way he tied it all together in attack, while also giving Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi a very difficult afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa: "The physical effort of the players, the productivity of the players was pretty high.
"Our offensive actions were very good in some moments. It's a dynamic team, an offensive team and it is a team that dares to play.
"My team took risks when they were moving the ball so these are the positive aspects. But we lacked a bit of experience at the end of the game."
Gary Rowett: "We didn't play anywhere near well enough and it was a real eye opener for myself and for the group. That's what the Championship is all about, it's intense and the quickness caught some of the players out.
"The third goal was a killer because when we got back to 2-1 we felt that maybe if we didn't concede for a while we'd have a chance to build some pressure towards the end of the game.
"Our defending all game as a team was elementary and really poor. Their movement was good but we have make sure we block that space because it was too easy for them to get into scoring [positions]."
Leeds face Derby next Saturday at 5.30pm live on Sky Sports Football, while Stoke host Brentford at 3pm