Match ends, Reading 0, Leeds United 3.
Reading 0-3 Leeds United: Pablo Hernandez scores twice as Leeds return to the top
Pablo Hernandez scored two magnificent goals to steer Leeds United back to the top of the Championship with a confident victory against Reading.
With pre-match leaders Norwich City not in action until Wednesday, Marcelo Bielsa's side leapfrogged the Canaries at the summit with a performance of class and ruthlessness to quell a resurgent home side, who were unbeaten in three.
Mateusz Klich rolled Luke Ayling's cutback in from 10 yards to put Leeds in front inside 15 minutes, and Hernandez took a slide rule pass on the edge of the box, spun and curled the ball off the post for the second.
The Spanish midfielder settled the contest just before the break when he thrashed the ball across goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from the edge of the box for the third.
As expected with such a comfortable lead, the second half was a more pedestrian affair, and Leeds were able to see the game through to full-time untouched.
While it is far too early to compare the current Leeds side to the legends of their early-1970s heyday, there were shades of their DNA in this performance.
Tyler Roberts was booked early on for a lunge on John Swift that was akin to a Norman Hunter challenge, while by contrast some of their one-touch football around the edge of the Royals' box on occasion was reminiscent of the brand synonymous with Don Revie's greats.
The lead was so comfortable that Patrick Bamford could afford to waste three chances, while Hernandez's bid for a hat-trick fell short when his shot seared wide of the post.
While Leeds' attacking football was sharp and slick, there were a few vulnerable moments at the back which Reading threatened to punish, particularly when Andy Yiadom spun into space and forced a smart narrow-angle save from Kiko Casilla.
Yakou Meite had another chance but Casilla was again sharp enough, and the Spanish keeper was alert to tip a fierce header over the top when a rare opportunity fell to Yiadom in the second half.
Overall, though, Leeds were untroubled, while Reading boss Jose Gomes handed a senior debut to academy product Michael Olise with the game well gone, who followed Ryan East in making his bow.
Reading manager Jose Manuel Gomes told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"Leeds are a very good team with probably the strongest offensive dynamic in this league.
"We started the game very well and we didn't deserve to concede a goal in the moment we conceded but everything was perfect in the way they scored the goals.
"They shot four times and scored three goals but we didn't give up, we reorganised and played better in the second half.
"We are not happy with the result but the players and the team played well so there are a lot of positives to take into the next game."
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa told BBC Radio Leeds:
"It was a fair result, we could have scored more goals and conceded a goal. In spite of the difference in the result the team was faithful to the style. We played an opponent that has dangerous offensive players.
"If you look at the table, you only can reach the conclusion we have many games to play and taking this into account, we have to win every game.
"Or at least, we have to try to win each game because it will be indispensible."
- 42EastSubstituted forHarriottat 63'minutes
- 10SwiftBooked at 82mins
- 17BarrowSubstituted forOliseat 69'minutes
- 43LoaderSubstituted forMcClearyat 81'minutes
- 2AylingBooked at 29minsSubstituted forDallasat 56'minutes
- 11RobertsBooked at 9minsSubstituted forShackletonat 69'minutes
- 43KlichSubstituted forDouglasat 75'minutesBooked at 86mins
- Gavin Ward
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 0, Leeds United 3.
Attempt missed. Callum Harriott (Reading) left footed shot from long range on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Michael Olise.
Liam Cooper (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Yakou Meite (Reading).
Offside, Reading. John Swift tries a through ball, but Garath McCleary is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Garath McCleary (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Olise.
Attempt blocked. Matt Miazga (Reading) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Foul by Pontus Jansson (Leeds United).
Yakou Meite (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.
Attempt saved. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Barry Douglas (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Barry Douglas (Leeds United).
Andy Yiadom (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tyler Blackett (Reading).
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).
John Swift (Reading) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Reading. Garath McCleary replaces Danny Loader.
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Michael Olise (Reading).
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jamie Shackleton with a through ball.
Attempt missed. Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Stuart Dallas.
Foul by Patrick Bamford (Leeds United).
Matt Miazga (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Leeds United. Barry Douglas replaces Mateusz Klich.
Attempt missed. Danny Loader (Reading) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Callum Harriott with a cross.
Foul by Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United).
Callum Harriott (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Reading. Michael Olise replaces Modou Barrow.
Substitution, Leeds United. Jamie Shackleton replaces Tyler Roberts.
Attempt saved. Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.
Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum Harriott (Reading).
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Kiko Casilla.
Attempt saved. Andy Yiadom (Reading) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Tyler Blackett.
Substitution, Reading. Callum Harriott replaces Ryan East.