Report from Elland Road.
Leeds United 0
Aston Villa 1 (El Ghazi 5’)
Leeds United: Illan Meslier, Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk (Gjanni Alioski 52’), Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Mateusz Klich, Tyler Roberts (Pablo Hernandez 71’), Helder Costa (Jack Harrison 64’), Raphinha, Patrick Bamford. Subs not used: Kiko Casilla, Leif Davis, Joe Gelhardt, Charlie Cresswell, Jack Jenkins and Niall Huggins.
Aston Villa: Emliano Martinez, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings (c), John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Bertrande Traore, Matt Targett, Marvelous Nakamba, Anwar El Ghazi (Trezeguet 88’), Ahmed El Mohamady, Jacob Ramsey (Morgan Sanson 79’). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Neil Taylor, Douglas Luiz, Ross Barkley, Bjorn Engels, Keinan Davis, Kaine Kesler.
Aston Villa went away from Elland Road with the three points after Anwar El Ghazi found the back of the net inside five minutes, scoring the only goal of the game.
Marcelo Bielsa made just the one change ahead of the match, following Tuesday’s impressive win over Southampton at Elland Road. Helder Costa was the player introduced to the starting line-up, in place of Jack Harrison.
The visitors went into the lead inside five minutes, through El Ghazi. Ollie Watkins had the initial shot into the box which was heading well wide, but El Ghazi controlled it well, brought the ball down and finished beyond Meslier at close range.
In what had been a fast paced opening to the match, Emiliano Martinez was called into action for the first time on the 10 minute mark. Good player between Raphinha and Tyler Roberts allowed the striker to have a powerful effort on goal, which the goalkeeper saved well.
Goal-scorer El Ghazi was continuing to look dangerous and he saw two more efforts on target, both saved by Meslier. Back down the other end, neat football from Leeds allowed Stuart Dallas a chance, putting his effort wide, then a couple of minutes later Liam Cooper saw a header saved from a corner.
No more major chances of note came in the remainder of what had been an end-to-end, but from a Whites point of view, a frustrating first half at Elland Road.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa
Shortly after the restart, Bielsa went to his bench for the first time, bringing on Gjanni Alioski in place of Pascal Struijk.
The opening 15 minutes in the second half had been very different to the first, with yellow cards for Roberts, Matt Target and Mateusz Klich the only events. Just after the hour mark, the second substitution for the Whites came as Jack Harrison entered the pitch and replaced Helder Costa.
The game had become very stop-start, with no real rhythm or tempo, as the visitors looked to keep their advantage in the match. Leeds had one final card to play from the bench and brought on Pablo Hernandez in place of Roberts, searching for the goal to get back level.
Neither team had tested the defence of one another, nor troubled the keeper enough at either end as the game edged ever closer towards its conclusion.
Approaching stoppage time, Leeds finally managed to carve out a big chance. Harrison raced forward at pace and instead of shooting, played an excellent chipped cross to Raphinha at the back post, but the Brazilian’s header was off target.
That was to be the final effort on goal from Leeds, with the full-time whistle bringing an end to the match.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa
Referee: Peter Bankes
Booked: Roberts, Klich, Hernandez (Leeds) Targett, El Mohamady (Villa)
Venue: Elland Road