|Salford City 0 v 3 Leeds United|
Tuesday, 13th August 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Salford City 0-3 Leeds United - Eddie scores as steady Whites secure victory
Tuesday, 13th Aug 2019 22:37 by @LucasMonk99
Leeds United secured their progression into the second round of the League Cup on Wednesday evening.
Eddie Nketiah, Gaetano Berardi and Mateusz Klich were all on the scoresheet as Leeds United claimed, with a competent performance, a 3-0 victory away to Salford City in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
Nketiah, who moved to Elland Road on transfer deadline day in a season-long loan deal from Arsenal, made the perfect start to his stint with the Whites by scoring from close range on the brink of the half-time whistle.
Berardi then doubled United’s advantage shortly after the interval when he deftly converted Helder Costa’s corner at the near post.
And Klich made certain of Leeds’s success shortly thereafter when he raced onto a long ball before arching an excellent shot beyond the grasp of Salford goalkeeper Chris Neal.
Marcelo Bielsa made no fewer than seven changes to the starting lineup that drew against Nottingham Forest last time out. He handed a debut to Nketiah, and Costa, Berardi, Leif Davis, Jamie Shackleton, Jack Clarke and Ezgjan Alioski were the other players to start.
United made a tepid start to the match. A stolid Salford, promoted to League Two last season, defended deep and sought to play on the periphery and limited their opponents to efforts from distance.
The hosts threatened to establish a shock lead on 12 minutes when Richie Towell hammered a volley toward goal only for Davis to make an important block.
Thereafter, Leeds settled into the match and enjoyed a hegemony of possession - but clear-cut opportunities were not initially forthcoming.
Kalvin Phillips’s rasping drive, following enterprising play on the part of Shackleton, elicited a good save from Neal in the 36th minute. Following this, the visitors began to enjoy an accretion of momentum.
United finally finessed the opening goal of the game two minutes before half-time. They perforated the Salford defence with a series of crisp passes that culminated in Shackleton playing Costa in on the right of the box. He sent in a low cross and Nketiah made no mistake from a few yards out.
This was all a little harsh on a plucky Salford team, but Leeds flew out of the traps in the early stages of the second half in a bid to put the game beyond their reach.
And Berardi was on hand in the 50th minute to guide home Costa’s curling corner to double the lead, and score just his second goal for United since moving to West Yorkshire in 2014 from Sampdoria.
The home side sought to respond and, encouragingly for those members of the so-called ‘Class of 92’ looking on, they forced a corner.
Leeds, however, were able to scramble clear the danger. Klich raced onto the lofted clearance, composed himself, and swept a sumptuous shot into the far corner to all but confirm his side’s place in the second round.
Salford refused to relent, and they saw Nathan Pond’s effort hacked clear after some erratic goalkeeping from Kiko Casilla before the Spaniard pushed away Towell’s curling free kick.
Patrick Bamford, from the bench, drew a decent save from Neal at the other end. Jack Harrison, another substitute, had his shirt pulled in the box, but referee Keith Stroud waved away the protests.
In the end, Leeds held on for a respectable victory and a place in the second round, in which they will face fellow Championship side Stoke City at Elland Road.
At times Bielsa’s side made matters more onerous than they needed to be, and it must be said that Salford produced a mettlesome performance and gave a good account of themselves.
United can nonetheless reflect upon a satisfactory outcome. Three goals, a clean sheet, nothing in the way of injuries and suspensions and impressive debut performances from Nketiah and 18-year-old academy graduate Alfie McCalmont.
However, it was Phillips, as is often the case, who was the fulcrum for the victory, completing over 100 passes and dictating the pace of the game in an almost facile manner.
Leeds now look forth to Saturday’s trip to face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Leeds United: Casilla; Shackleton, White, Berardi, Phillips, Davis; Costa, Clarke (McCalmont 78’), Klich, Alioski (Harrison 78’); Nketiah (Bamford 78’).
Unused subs: Miazek, Bogusz, Dallas, Gotts.
Salford City: Neal; Jones, Pond, Piergianni, Touray, Maynard, Towell, Threlkeld (Gaffney 62’), Whitehead, Beesley (Lloyd 69’), Dieseruvwe (Rooney 70’).
Unused subs: Wiseman, Letheren, Jones, Smith.
Match Statistics (Salford / Leeds)
Possession: 38% / 62%
Shots: 15 /18
On target: 5 / 8
Corners: 6 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 11
Match Details (Salford / Leeds)
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Booked: Jones (Salford). Klich (Leeds).
Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips (Leeds).
Photo: Action Images
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