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Leeds United win after beating Fulham in a 7-goal thriller

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Leeds win after beating Fulham in a 7-goal thriller. Leeds’ opening two Premier League games this season have seen 14 goals, the most in a top-flight side’s opening two matches since Wolves in 1962-63. Leeds came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Fulham in their first Premier League home game for 16 years.

After losing 4-3 at Liverpool on the opening weekend, this was the second week running that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were involved a frenetic end-to-end affair. Helder Costa’s fifth-minute goal for the hosts sparked the contest into life, with his powerful close-range effort going in off the underside of the crossbar.

However, Aleksandar Mitrovic levelled the scores with a penalty after Robin Koch had fouled Joe Bryan. Leeds were soon back in front though, with Poland midfielder Mateusz Klich stroking in a penalty after Bryan had fouled Patrick Bamford.

Bamford’s placed effort just after the interval put Leeds firmly in charge and they looked to have sealed the win when Costa added a fourth from Bamford’s cross. But Bobby Decordova-Reid’s low drive and Mitrovic’s second goal of the day for the Cottagers set up a dramatic finale.

Good times return to Elland Road

Tony Blair was the UK prime minister and American TV sitcom Friends had just aired its final episode the last time Leeds featured in a Premier League fixture at home. Yet Costa’s thumping finishes off the underside of the Fulham crossbar after five minutes was a perfect reminder that the good times have returned to Elland Road.

A narrow opening-day defeat at champions Liverpool illustrated the strides they have made under Argentine boss Bielsa. But this time their adventurous attacking and energetic style was rewarded with all three points – although it was still a performance underscored by moments of naive defending.

Bamford and Costa in particular, excelled for the hosts leading from the front at every opportunity. Costa‘s pace and trickery repeatedly occupied more than one visiting defender at a time as he constantly demanded the ball. Not only did that invaluably create space for his team-mates, but he was also at his clinical best scoring with both of these two shots resulting in goals.

Bamford’s showing as Leeds’ lone striker will also have pleased Bielsa. In a system that means the 27-year-old is likely to have to sacrifice himself at times, Bamford superbly created Costa’s goal on the left. And he showed a cool head to convert his only real chance of the game from Klich’s pass.

Fulham pay for defensive lapses

While Fulham boss Scott Parker has already conceded his team are likely to lose more games than they win this term he will have been disappointed by the way they gifted Leeds their opening goal.

For the second week in succession, his team conceded from a corner and were punished for a lapse in concentration and poor organisation. Bryan’s push on Bamford will also go down as a moment that was easily avoidable with the full-back and central defender Denis Odoi both caught out of position. However, unlike their home defeat by Arsenal, Fulham did at least show the character to respond against a side that had beaten them 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last term.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s sleight of foot and drive in midfield helped to kick-start the comeback, as he brushed off recently capped England midfielder Kalvin Phillips to play in Decordova-Reid. Former Lyon defender Kenny Tete also marked an impressive Premier League debut with a fine cross, from which Mitrovic scored his second of the game.

‘This won’t be a constant’- what they said

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “This won’t be a constant all year. It is very difficult to maintain the efficiency [in front of goal] we have had in these first two games.

“The characteristics of our game is to create goalscoring opportunities. In these two games we have created very little but we have scored all our chances. “We have had two very different games. Against Liverpool, we tried to get close to a very big rival and today we tried to not be caught by Fulham. Both were very difficult games.”

Fulham boss Scott Parker speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “There were a lot of encouraging things. You go 4-1 down away from home and they could really drop their heads. I didn’t see that in my team. I saw a real character and determination.

“The biggest thought in my head is that you cannot give up goals that we have given up today. You can’t expect to score four or five goals to win football matches in this league.

“If you give up goals too easy you aren’t going to win many. I just worry that a red bolt doesn’t go off for us. We need to smell it [danger] and sense it in those moments that are crucial in games. Sometimes we are a bit too nice. “I see an innocence about them not being streetwise. Overall there are a lot of positives but there was one negative which I realise is going to be the difference between us getting results or not.”

Mitrovic’s golden touch

  • Leeds’ opening two Premier League games have seen 14 goals this season (F7 A7), the most for a top-flight side’s opening two matches since Wolves in 1962-63 (F12 A2).
  • Since the start of last season, Fulham’s Mitrovic has scored more league goals than any other player in England’s top four tiers (28).
  • The seven goals scored between Leeds and Fulham was the most in a Premier League game between two newly promoted teams since Wolves 4-3 Leicester in October 2003.
  • After winning their first ever Premier League game in Yorkshire (1-0 v Leeds in April 2002), Fulham have lost their past eight top-flight trips to the county by an aggregate score of 6-22.
  • With Bamford and Klich’s goals vs Fulham, Leeds have had two different players each score in the opening two matchdays of a Premier League season for the first time.
  • There have been four penalties in Leeds’ first two Premier League games this season; the most in a team’s first two games in a single campaign since Bolton in 2002-03 (also four).
  • Costa’s strike after five minutes is the earliest Leeds have scored a home Premier League goal since April 2003, when Mark Viduka scored after four minutes against Fulham.
  • Costa became the 70th different player to score a Premier League goal for Leeds, and the second Portuguese to do so after Bruno Ribeiro.

What’s next?

Leeds travel to Sheffield United for their next Premier League game on Sunday 27 September (12:00 BST).

Fulham host Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 23 September (19:00). They resume their Premier League duties when they welcome Aston Villa to Craven Cottage on Monday, 28 September (18:00).

Source BBC News

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