Sky Bet Championship
Barnsley 0-2 Leeds (Saiz 23, Alioski 45+3)
Two first half strikes from Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski gave Leeds United a 2-0 Yorkshire derby victory over Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship.
Caleb Ekuban was handed his first start since August and Felix Wiedwald was re-called in goal for the trip to Oakwell, a place Leeds had only won twice at in the last 18 years and has proved to be a notoriously difficult fixture for the Whites.
Leeds made a good start to the match, pressuring Barnsley with a number of corners in the opening stages, Caleb Ekuban went closest to breaking the deadlock, when he was picked out in the box by Ezgjan Alioksi, but his effort was blocked.
The Whites then went close when Adam Davies punched clear a set-piece and Ezgjan Alioski fired on goal from the edge of the box, first time on the volley, but he couldn’t find the target.
Alioski then did well to break into the Barnsley box, he played the ball across the face of goal, but no Leeds player could get on the end of it, Luke Ayling went down under a challenge from Harvey Barnes, but no penalty was awarded.
Leeds took the lead in the 23rd minute, he had time and space and drove forwards, before finding the bottom corner with a fine strike from the edge of the box, to erupt the 4,500 travelling Leeds fans.
Saiz again went close when he again let fly from distance after making progress in the Barnsley half, but his effort went just over the bar.
Barnsley’s first opportunity came from a free-kick, Adam Hammill delivered and Adam Lindsay could only head wide from an acute angle.
In first half stoppage time Caleb Ekuban went close, he drove a low effort from 25 yards, forcing Davies into a good stop.
On the stroke of half time Leeds doubled the lead, Luke Ayling played the ball to Alioski and he picked his spot from the edge of the box and curled a lovely effort into the bottom left corner to give the Whites a convincing advantage at the break.
Half Time: Barnsley 0-2 Leeds United
After the restart Leeds went close from a free-kick, Pablo Hernandez’s effort deflected just wide, with Davies committed to the other side of his goal.
Saiz then did well to break down the left flank, he played the ball across goal and Liam Lindsay almost turned it into his own net, but for Davies.
Barnsley’s threat continued to be limited and Leeds should have gone further ahead though Ekuban, he was played in on goal by Hernandez and dummied before shooting, but couldn’t find the target.
Liam Cooper then went close from a Hernandez free-kick, he got on the end of it, but could only head straight at Davies.
Saiz then teed up Ekuban to shoot from the angle, but he was again denied by a good save from Davies.
Barnsley continued to push and get back into the game and Gary Gardner forced Wiedwald into action with a low effort.
Alioski almost added a second when a cross came in from Saiz, he tried a spectacular scissor kick, but his effort went just over.
Hernandez then tried his luck from the angle of the box, but he was unable to test Davies, before Saiz saw an effort blocked by what looked to be an arm with seven minutes remaining, however no penalty was awarded.
Wiedwald and Cooper made some good blocks in the closing stages, to ensure Leeds kept a clean sheet and ended the week with six points out of a possible nine.
Full Time: Barnsley 0-2 Leeds United
Barnsley: Davies, Fryers, MacDonald, Williams, Barnes (Gardner 45), Lindsay, Yiadom, Potts, Moncur (Ugbo 45), Hammill (Hedges 76), Bradshaw. Subs not used: Walton, McCarthy, McGeehan, Adeboyejo.
Leeds: Wiedwald, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi, O’Kane (Shaughnessy 58), Phillips, Saiz, Hernandez, Alioski (Grot 88), Ekuban (Roofe 80). Subs not used: Lonergan, Anita, Sacko, Pennington.
Referee: A. Madley
Booked: Jansson, Ayling, Hernandez (Leeds), Barnes, Hammill, Gardner (Barnsley)
Attendance: 16,399 (4,513 Leeds)