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Reading 0-3 Leeds United: Pablo Hernandez scores twice as Leeds return to the top

By Matt NewsumBBC Sport
Pablo Hernandez's goal
Pablo Hernandez reached double figures with his two goals in this win at Reading

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."

Line-ups

Reading

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Martínez
  • 3Yiadom
  • 19Miazga
  • 6Moore
  • 24Blackett
  • 16Baker
  • 42EastSubstituted forHarriottat 63'minutes
  • 21Meite
  • 10SwiftBooked at 82mins
  • 17BarrowSubstituted forOliseat 69'minutes
  • 43LoaderSubstituted forMcClearyat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gunter
  • 4O'Shea
  • 5McShane
  • 12McCleary
  • 15Harriott
  • 28Walker
  • 48Olise

Leeds

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 33Casilla
  • 2AylingBooked at 29minsSubstituted forDallasat 56'minutes
  • 18Jansson
  • 6Cooper
  • 10Alioski
  • 23Phillips
  • 19Hernández
  • 11RobertsBooked at 9minsSubstituted forShackletonat 69'minutes
  • 43KlichSubstituted forDouglasat 75'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 22Harrison
  • 9Bamford

Substitutes

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 3Douglas
  • 15Dallas
  • 28Berardi
  • 37Brown
  • 46Shackleton
  • 53Gotts
Referee:
Gavin Ward
Attendance:
17,101

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamLeeds
Possession
Home38%
Away62%
Shots
Home9
Away13
Shots on Target
Home5
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home17
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 0, Leeds United 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 0, Leeds United 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Callum Harriott (Reading) left footed shot from long range on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Michael Olise.

  4. Post update

    Liam Cooper (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Yakou Meite (Reading).

  6. Post update

    Offside, Reading. John Swift tries a through ball, but Garath McCleary is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Garath McCleary (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Olise.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Matt Miazga (Reading) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Pontus Jansson (Leeds United).

  10. Post update

    Yakou Meite (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  13. Booking

    Barry Douglas (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Barry Douglas (Leeds United).

  15. Post update

    Andy Yiadom (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Tyler Blackett (Reading).

  18. Post update

    Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).

  20. Booking

    John Swift (Reading) is shown the yellow card.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds37227863382573
2Norwich36219672452772
3Sheff Utd37218863342971
4West Brom361710968482061
5Middlesbrough351513739261358
6Bristol City361510114538755
7Derby361510114644255
8Nottm Forest361314950401053
9Sheff Wed371313114449-552
10Aston Villa36121596253951
11Preston361312115549651
12Birmingham361214105346750
13Hull36148145051-150
14Brentford3613101360491149
15Swansea35138144543247
16Blackburn371211145056-647
17Stoke361015113742-545
18QPR36127174255-1343
19Reading37812174056-1636
20Wigan3799193655-1936
21Millwall36810183955-1634
22Rotherham36615153758-2133
23Bolton3778222458-3429
24Ipswich37314202961-3223
View full Championship table

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