Norwich 0-3 Leeds: United cruise to comfortable victory
Mateusz Klich, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez on target
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 25/08/18 6:34pm
Leeds moved confidently back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road.
Marcelo Bielsa's side took command midway through the first half, with two goals in the space of five minutes from Mateusz Klich and Ezgjan Alioski, and wrapped up the points midway through the second with a fine strike from Pablo Hernandez.
Norwich gave the visitors something to think about early on, but it was a fully deserved win for Leeds, who had briefly been toppled from the summit on Friday evening when Middlesbrough beat West Brom.
The Canaries meanwhile have taken just four points from their opening five games and were booed off at the end after looking distinctly second best for the majority of the match.
Norwich started the game well, and it needed an excellent block to deny from Pontus Jansson to thwart Teemu Pukki as the Finnish frontman bore down on goal.
But Leeds gradually started to take control and struck twice in five minutes midway through the opening period to take a firm grip on proceedings.
The opener came in the 21st minute, after goalkeeper Tim Krul had done well to parry away a firm header from Alioski. The ball fell kindly for Klich just inside the box and the Pole showed great composure to stroke the ball home.
Krul was blameless for that one, but he was badly at fault for Leeds' second, with Alioski beating him from a narrow angle at his near post after being played in by Kemar Roofe.
The Canaries responded well to the double setback and piled on the pressure in the lead-up to the break, with Jordan Rhodes seeing a goalbound effort deflected just wide.
Leeds had an opportunity to put the game to bed seven minutes after the restart when Roofe picked out an unmarked Samuel Saiz at the back post but the playmaker fired wastefully into the side-netting.
Norwich were having plenty of the play, however, but rarely threatened in the final third and the visitors made it 3-0 in the 67 minute as Hernandez cut in from the left and curled a glorious right-footed drive into the far corner of the net from just outside the box.
It was a superb solo effort which took the sting out of the home side's efforts and Krul did well to prevent Alioski from making it four with a low drive before Saiz's follow-up was deflected wide.
Daniel Farke: "Leeds are a good side, with a lot of quality, who play at a very high level and you could see why they are top of the league. But today I 100 per cent thought we could beat them.
"For the first 25 minutes we gave them lots of problems, probably the most problems any side has given them so far this season. But when you play like that you need to take your chances."
Marcelo Bielsa: "I think [Hernandez] is the player in our team who has had the biggest influence in our games so far. There is a great lucidity about his play - he always seems to instinctively know what to do for the needs of the team - and he can influence the game at the front, the middle and the back.
"He can find a solution to a problem anywhere on the pitch and is always making the team more fluid with what he does. He can play in very tight spaces and is always bringing other people into the match, making them better players too. He is a silent leader for us - he does all these things without saying a word."