Leeds United have picked up their first win of the 2020/21 season with a 4-3 victory over Fulham at Elland Road. The Whites took a fifth minute lead through Helder Costa only to see Aleksandar Mitrovic level from the penalty spot in the 34th minute.
Mateusz Klich put Leeds back in front four minutes from halftime as he converted a penalty and the hosts doubled their lead in the 50th minute as Patrick Bamford scored for the second straight game. It was four as Costa completed his brace seven minutes after Bamford scored.
Fulham roared back through substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic, who cut it to 4-3 in the 67th minute and despite more late pressure from the visitors, Leeds held on to pick up their first Premier League win since 2004.
Story of the game
Leeds got off to the perfect start as Costa was left unmarked at the back post and he took the ball down from Kalvin Phillips' cross and hammered it in off of the underside of the bar. Two minutes later, Bamford couldn't control after the ball got through the Fulham defense, but he couldn't control.
Kenny Tete began causing problems for the Leeds defense as his corner is cleared behind. Ivan Cavaleiro played the ball in from the right where Michael Hector got his head to it, but it was deflected over by Robin Koch. The resulting corner was punched away by Ilian Meslier and Harrison Reed then had a go, but his effort wasn't close.
Costa tested Fulham netminder Alphonse Areola with an inviting cross before Phillips' free kick is punched away by the Frenchman. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa took advantage of a poor giveaway by Leeds, but his extra touch gave Liam Cooper time to get in a vital block.
Koch then forced Areola into a smart save, tipping the German's 26th minute effort over the bar. Seven minutes later, the Leeds defender gave away a penalty after tripping Joe Bryan in the box and Mitrovic beat Meslier with the resulting penalty low and to the right to make it 1-1.
Bryan then pushed Bamford in the box and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. Klich stepped up to send Areola the wrong way to put Leeds back in front. Reed then tried his luck from 30 yards out on the stroke of halftime, the shot straight at Meslier.
Tete headed away a dangerous ball from Klich, but two minutes later, Leeds doubled their lead. Klich was again the architect, spots Bamford in plenty of space in the Fulham end and his perfectly weighted ball is converted by the Whites number nine, who beats Areola at the far post to make it 3-1.
Mitrovic attempted to cut the deficit in half, but his effort was all wrong and Meslier gathered in with ease. That missed chance proved to be vital as Leeds extended the lead as Costa met Bamford's cutback and he beat Areola in the top corner with his left foot to put the score at 4-1.
Decordova-Reid cut the deficit in half after being played in on the right and he fizzed one low and hard into the bottom corner and after Koch's header was well over, the visitors made it a one-goal game as Tete whipped in a ball for Mitrovic, who nodded past Meslier to make it 4-3.
The comeback was almost complete when Neeskens Kebano fired in a low drive that bounced off the base of the post and bounced clear. Tete was controlling the game now and he set Mitrovic up again, the Serb opting to shoot with his head when his feet may have been a better option.
Leeds then forced a double save out of Areola in the 75th minute as Ezjgan Alioski's low effort was pushed away and Tyler Roberts' drive was gathered in from the right. A minute later, Mitrovic saw a clearance fall to him, but his volley was straight at Meslier.
Five minutes from time, the Whites had a chance to put the game to bed as Mario Lemina gave the ball away, Klich playing in Alioski as a result, but he mishit the pass and the Cottagers were able to recover. Harrison then shot a free kick straight into the wall and after Dennis Odoi flew his 25-yard effort well over in stoppage time, Leeds could rejoice in their first victory back in the big-time for 16 years.
Men of the Match: Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa
Together, they formed a lethal duo, linking up on several occasions, accounting for all four goals and providing several moments of danger for the Fulham defense. Costa established the lead early on, Bamford extended it and the Portugese scored what turned out to be the match winner.
While there is plenty to work on in the coming matches ahead, especially in defense, Marcelo Bielsa can be delighted that two of his top players are already off the mark and showing their full capabilities in attack.