Premier League
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Leeds United 4-3 Fulham: Helder Costa's early goal sparks seven-goal thriller

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport
Helder Costa
Helder Costa is the second Portuguese to score for Leeds in the Premier League after Bruno Ribeiro.

Leeds came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Fulham in their first Premier League home game for 16 years.

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.

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 finish 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.

Leeds United 4-3 Fulham: Free-scoring Leeds will slow down - Marcelo Bielsa

But this time their adventurous attacking and energetic style were 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, he was at his clinical best scoring with both of this 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.

Leeds United 4-3 Fulham: We're too nice - Parker not happy with letting in easy goals

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).

Player of the match

Hélder CostaHélder Costa

with an average of 7.71

Leeds United

  1. Squad number17Player nameHélder Costa
    Average rating

    7.71

  2. Squad number9Player nameBamford
    Average rating

    7.45

  3. Squad number43Player nameKlich
    Average rating

    7.01

  4. Squad number23Player namePhillips
    Average rating

    6.43

  5. Squad number22Player nameHarrison
    Average rating

    6.34

  6. Squad number15Player nameDallas
    Average rating

    6.27

  7. Squad number11Player nameRoberts
    Average rating

    6.25

  8. Squad number10Player nameAlioski
    Average rating

    6.17

  9. Squad number2Player nameAyling
    Average rating

    6.17

  10. Squad number6Player nameCooper
    Average rating

    6.05

  11. Squad number1Player nameMeslier
    Average rating

    5.80

  12. Squad number5Player nameKoch
    Average rating

    5.66

  13. Squad number20Player nameRodrigo
    Average rating

    5.55

Fulham

  1. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic
    Average rating

    6.29

  2. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa
    Average rating

    5.57

  3. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid
    Average rating

    5.36

  4. Squad number21Player nameReed
    Average rating

    5.10

  5. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro
    Average rating

    5.10

  6. Squad number7Player nameKebano
    Average rating

    5.09

  7. Squad number1Player nameAreola
    Average rating

    4.95

  8. Squad number25Player nameOnomah
    Average rating

    4.90

  9. Squad number23Player nameBryan
    Average rating

    4.85

  10. Squad number18Player nameLemina
    Average rating

    4.71

  11. Squad number47Player nameKamara
    Average rating

    4.71

  12. Squad number2Player nameTete
    Average rating

    4.66

  13. Squad number4Player nameOdoi
    Average rating

    4.51

  14. Squad number3Player nameHector
    Average rating

    4.44

Line-ups

Leeds

  • 1Meslier
  • 2Ayling
  • 5Koch
  • 6Cooper
  • 15Dallas
  • 23Phillips
  • 17Hélder Costa
  • 20RodrigoSubstituted forRobertsat 45'minutes
  • 43KlichBooked at 82mins
  • 22Harrison
  • 9BamfordSubstituted forAlioskiat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Poveda-Ocampo
  • 10Alioski
  • 11Roberts
  • 21Struijk
  • 25Caprile
  • 44Bogusz
  • 46Shackleton

Fulham

  • 1Areola
  • 2TeteBooked at 90mins
  • 3Hector
  • 4Odoi
  • 23Bryan
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 21ReedSubstituted forLeminaat 70'minutes
  • 47KamaraSubstituted forKebanoat 58'minutes
  • 25OnomahSubstituted forDe Cordova-Reidat 58'minutes
  • 17Cavaleiro
  • 9MitrovicBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 7Kebano
  • 10Cairney
  • 11Knockaert
  • 12Rodák
  • 13Ream
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 18Lemina
Referee:
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamLeedsAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home10
Away14
Shots on Target
Home7
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home13
Away18

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leeds United 4, Fulham 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leeds United 4, Fulham 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Denis Odoi (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Michael Hector.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Leeds United. Liam Cooper tries a through ball, but Hélder Costa is caught offside.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Denis Odoi (Fulham).

  6. Post update

    Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Michael Hector (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Jack Harrison (Leeds United).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Joe Bryan (Fulham).

  10. Post update

    Hélder Costa (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Booking

    Kenny Tete (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Kenny Tete (Fulham).

  13. Post update

    Jack Harrison (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Booking

    Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Kenny Tete (Fulham).

  16. Post update

    Jack Harrison (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Mario Lemina (Fulham).

  19. Post update

    Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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