Salford 0-3 Leeds: Eddie Nketiah bags on debut as Marcelo Bielsa’s men sweep aside Class of 92-backed side to progress into EFL Cup second round
- Eddie Nketiah tapped in at from close to open the scoring just before the break
- Leeds doubled lead shortly after interval with Gaetano Berardi flicking in corner
- Mateusz Klich consolidated Leeds’ advantage even further with a superb finish
Victory in defeat for Salford City, if such a thing exists, on the most prestigious night in their history.
The upward trajectory Gary Neville and co have them on was evident by the array of local Premier League shirts in the stands. Now the trick is to keep them coming as this club continues to grow.
Their team was in this first-round tie for 43 goalless minutes but Leeds United were too professional once they got to grips with the occasion, one that saw Sir Alex Ferguson to take his seat alongside Nicky Butt and Denis Law.
Eddie Nketiah celebrates after converting a cross from close to break the deadlock
Leeds’ Gaetano Berardi flicked in a corner at the near post to double the visitors’ advantage
Marcelo Bielsa referenced the ‘United connection,’ this clash brought beforehand, aware of the history, and it captured something among his club’s support.
They don’t like Neville and Neville doesn’t like them, either. Leeds fans gleefully pointed out their famous 1-0 FA Cup victory at Old Trafford in 2010 when the Salford owner tweeted, ‘Welcome back into my life… not seen you for 15 years,’ after the draw was made. They still talk about Jermaine Beckford’s winner all these years later.
SALFORD CITY: Neal, Maynard, Pond, Piergianni, Threlkeld (Gaffney 62), Joey Jones, Towell, Whitehead, Touray, Dieseruvwe (Rooney 70), Beesley (Lloyd 70);
SUBS NOT USED: Wiseman, Letheren, Dan Jones, Smith
LEEDS UNITED: Casilla, Berardi, White, Davis, Alioski (Harrison 78), Phillips, Helder Costa, Shackleton, Klich, Clarke (McCalmont 70), Nketiah (Bamford 78);
SUBS NOT USED: Dallas, Miazek, Bogusz, Gotts
SCORERS: Nketiah (43), Berardi (50), Klich (57)
REFEREE: Keith Stroud
So there was a little spice, albeit largely playful, last night. These are the sort of occasions Salford crave, a near 5,106 sellout while hosting illustrious opposition. The opening League Two game, a 2-0 win over Stevenage, attracted well over 3,000.
The early signs of Salford’s big EFL adventure are encouraging and they were here too. Bielsa, sat on his now sponsored bucket, slurped mate tea pensively as defender Joey Jones sold Helder Costa a dummy, as Richie Towell’s thumping volley was headed clear by teenager Leif Davis.
Towell then had the run on Kalvin Phillips, unusually sluggish in midfield, and found Jake Beesley, who forced Casilla into a smart low stop. Graham Alexander’s Salford had a foothold, Mani Dieseruvwe heading over after rising to meet a wicked cross by Ibou Touray.
Leeds were largely reduced to long-range Phillips efforts before half-time. The first, from Phillips, flew over the Peninsula Stadium’s perimeter, possibly into a garden of a local resident who railed against the Class of 92’s takeover for fear of nights exactly like this – busy, noisy, boisterous.
Phillips’ second had Chris Neal backpedaling, stretching to tip over a shot with dip and venom. Neal also saved well from Jack Clarke.
Phil and Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Sir Alex Ferguson and Dennis Law all attended
Mateusz Klich produced a superb curling finish into the top corner to add gloss to scoreline
Yet then, just before the break, it all clicked. Costa switched flanks to the right, flew in behind Touray, and debutant Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah swept in. The striker’s sharp movement will see him become a big hit at Elland Road this season.
One became two shortly after half-time, the tie over when Costa – on loan from Wolves – found captain Gaetano Berardi dashing to the near post from a corner and Neal couldn’t keep the flick out.
Then Mateusz Klich sauntered towards goal and bent way into the far corner to put this beyond doubt. Plenty of chances came and went for the hosts, Casilla twice keeping Danny Whitehead out and Towell again going close. Salford’s endeavour deserved some sort of reward, Berardi hacking off the line and Adam Rooney missing from eight yards.
‘Sky TV, you’re 3-0 down,’ came the taunt from a packed away end. Even Neville might be able to see the funny side of that.
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