Leeds 4-0 West Brom: Patrick Bamford at the double as Marcelo Bielsa's men go top
Last Updated: 02/03/19 12:50pm
Leeds sprung back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with a clinical 4-0 victory over promotion rivals West Brom at Elland Road on Friday.
Marcelo Bielsa's side wobbled in midweek with a 1-0 defeat at QPR but were back to their bouncing best against the lethargic Baggies, who were outrun and outclassed.
Pablo Hernandez took just 16 seconds to set the tone, rifling home a power-packed drive from 22 yards before Patrick Bamford grabbed the first of his double on 28 minutes.
Leeds were relentless all over the pitch and Bamford extended their lead on 64 minutes before Ezgjan Alioski wrapped up the scoring in injury time (90+2).
In one of the most congested battles for the title in recent years, Leeds now are one point clear of Norwich and three ahead of Sheffield United.
Leeds: Casilla (7), Alioski (8), Cooper, (7) Jansson (7), Ayling (7), Phillips (7), Klich (7), Roberts (9), Harrison (7), Hernandez (8), Bamford (8)
Subs: Shackleton (N/A)
West Brom: Johnstone (6), Holgate (5), Dawson (5), Hegazi (5), Adarabioyo (5), Livermore (6), Barry (4), Harper (6), Robson-Kanu (5), Gayle (6), Rodriguez (5).
Subs: Morrison (6), Field (6)
Man of the match: Tyler Roberts
On Saturday, Norwich travel to Millwall and Sheffield United have a mouth-watering derby clash with Sheffield Wednesday on Monday, live on Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, West Brom remain fourth but are now seven points off the table toppers.
The match pitted the Sky Bet Championship side with the best away record, in West Brom, against the side with the joint-most points won at home, in Leeds.
It had the billing of an entertaining match-up and it lived up to the hype inside 16 seconds when Leeds stole the ball off their opponents from kick-off.
Jack Harrison set the attack down the left and his pass found Hernandez on the edge of the penalty area, and with West Brom not closing him down, the Spaniard let fly into the top corner.
It was his seventh of the season and set Leeds firmly on their way as they maintained their perfect record of winning all 16 games when scoring first this season.
Tyler Roberts should have finished an exquisite pass from Hernandez on 12 minutes but the home fans didn't have to wait long for the all-important second goal.
Roberts produced a cute pass down the side of Craig Dawson and Bamford composed himself before curling a calm effort into the bottom corner.
West Brom tried to match Leeds' attacking endeavor after the break but that only left spaces for Hernandez and the brilliant Roberts to cause havoc in.
It was Roberts that provided the assist for Bamford's second as the former Middlesbrough striker's effort found the bottom corner via a deflection off Dawson. He's scored 12 goals now in his last 16 Championship starts.
It was exhibition stuff from then on as Alioski finished off a flowing move down the right with one of the last kick of the game.
With just 11 games remaining, a return to the Premier League is within touching distance for Leeds.
And, a rocking Elland Road is loving the ride.
Man of the match: Tyler Roberts
The Leeds midfielder had just one assist all season before this encounter but grabbed two in 90 minutes against his former club, who allowed him to leave for £2.5m last year.
Co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe said: "I wanted a player that epitomised Leeds' endeavor. Roberts played with pace, power and aggression and balanced that out with quality in possession."
Manager reaction: Marcelo Bielsa
"The attitude of the players gave us the chance to win, even if we hadn't scored after 16 seconds.
"We have to focus on our own games and not on the events elsewhere with our rivals. We are interested in what the others do, but our position is to focus on what we're doing."
Manager reaction: Darren Moore
"We got caught cold by the early goal and it's a hard one to take on the chin, but we've got to take it.
"Coming here to Elland Road to play in front of a passionate crowd it was always going to be a really tough game, so we gave ourselves a mountain to climb by conceding an early goal."
Leeds travel to face Bristol City next Saturday at Ashton Gate (kick-off: 3pm) while West Brom host Ipswich Town at the same time at The Hawthorns.