Kiko Casilla earns praise from Marcelo Bielsa after crucial late save seals Leeds United win

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Marcelo Bielsa was satisfied with his team's efforts as Leeds United collected a valuable three points in their promotion quest with a 1-0 win over Reading.

The game followed a familiar pattern according to the Whites head coach, but they were not as impressive as in the previous week's same result against Bristol City and needed a last minute save from Kiko Casilla to ensure the victory.

Nevertheless there was no doubting that overall they deserved to take the points, having 17 efforts to their opponents' six, and there was no doubting the value of the win as this plus results elsewhere over the weekend have taken United five points clear of the pack chasing their second place.

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Head coach Bielsa thought Leeds were good value for the win, given them by Pablo Hernandez's 57th minute strike, and as usual could have scored more.

Kiko Casilla, who made a vital last minute save.Kiko Casilla, who made a vital last minute save.
Kiko Casilla, who made a vital last minute save.

He said: "It was a similar match to the ones we are used to playing. In general we create double or triple the chances of the opponent. We have more possession than the opponent. Today this was the situation.

"They have some attackers that are not easy to control. Also, there was a situation in the last minute for them I should have resolved. The number six became a striker. That created confusion maybe I could have solved from the bench. It was this player who had a clear chance in the last minute.

"We had a lot of players in good condition to score. Klich, Helder, Pablo and Alioski all had chances to score. The way we attack left those players in good condition to finish those chances, but especially to Patrick Bamford."

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Goalkeeper Casilla was not worked much over the 90 minutes, but on his injury-time save from Liam Moore, the Whites boss was in do doubt of its value.

Disappointed Kalvin Phillips goes off injured in Leeds United's game against Reading.Disappointed Kalvin Phillips goes off injured in Leeds United's game against Reading.
Disappointed Kalvin Phillips goes off injured in Leeds United's game against Reading.

He added: "He (Casilla) had an important impact in the result.

"Sometimes we were better than the opponents and he had some impact on the result in the team not winning. Today was the opposite. This time he had an impact in our favour, his saves had high impact on the result."

Leeds had to reorganise their side in the first half following an injury to key midfielder Kalvin Phillips, with Bielsa explaining: "I think it’s a kick. I don’t know if it’s serious or not.

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"In previous matches White played instead of him, Ayling played instead of White in some situations. The same, Dallas playing in the right corridor and Alioski on the left. Anyway, White helped the team by making the defence solid, but Kalvin managed the ball in a different way to White. The help of Pablo and Klich to build the play out was enough to replace the distribution of Kalvin."

Leeds United players go into a huddle before their game against Reading.Leeds United players go into a huddle before their game against Reading.
Leeds United players go into a huddle before their game against Reading.

Reading only managed two efforts on target all game, but they had a go in the first half and their manager Mark Bowen thought his side had been worthy of a point.

He said: "I thought we did enough to come away with something from the game.

"First half we had a few opportunities, you have to come here and keep things tight, play a bit of counter attacking football. We did well to create possible opportunities but a little bit of guile or the final ball could have been better.

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"Second half we were expecting more of an onslaught from Leeds and it came, no doubt about that. I looked at the goal back, we've got a ball that goes up to the front, hits George Puscas on the hand, ref gives a free-kick, understand that, it goes out wide, it's a poor first touch from their full-back, it goes behind our full-back, it goes to the corner, next minute it's in the box, it seemed to be bobbling about and it's a good finish from Hernandez I have to say."

Bowen believes Leeds are likely to go up with leaders West Brom.

He added: "Leeds have always looked strong to me. That stats that Leeds produce week in, week out, even in the games they were dropping points, I didn't see them as team out of form in any way.

"But we came with a game plan and we are gutted to be going back home with nothing."

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Leeds made the early running in the game with Helder Costa getting behind the visitors' defence in the fourth minute only to see his angled shot flash just wide.

A great low cross from Jack Harrison should then have brought more reward, but Patrick Bamford could not make contact with the ball and went on to endure a frustrating afternoon.

Mateusz Klich was next to have an opportunity, but his shot was too close to Reading keeper Rafael Cabral.

Reading's first chance fell to 18-year-old Michael Olise - a late inclusion after injury to Ovie Ejaria - as he almost took advantage of hesitation by Casilla to come for a hopeful ball into the box only to head wide.

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George Puskas had a shot from the edge of the box tipped wide by Casilla as the visitors enjoyed a good spill and were making strides through the middle of midfield with Kalvin Phillips struggling with a knock.

After treatment Phillips tried to carry on, but had to be substituted on 37 minutes. Ezgjan Alioski came on to play at left-back, with Stuart Dallas going to right-back, Luke Ayling to the centre of defence and Ben White into the defensive midfield slot.

Despite all the positional chances Leeds took control back and created several chances before the break that were not taken.

Hernandez could not quite wrap his foot around a shot after working a good move down the left and Costa met a good low ball in by Harrison only to see his shot half-blocked and go over the bar

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Ayling lashed a shot over following further pressure and just before the break Alioski met a chip over the defence, but his volley was saved by Cabral.

United remained on top early in the second half with Klich inches wide with a well hit shot from the edge of the box and Klich seeing a goalbound shot go wide off teammate Liam Cooper.

Bamford then turned in the area before firing over with his right foot before the goal finally arrived thanks to some good persistence from Hernandez as he ran into the box and showed some fair skill to open up the space to shoot home after his first attempt had been blocked.

Yakou Meite blasted a free-kick over from the edge of the area as Reading looked to make a swift response , but it was soon back to the hosts on the attack with White being the second Leeds player to see his shot deflect wide off a teammate with Bamford in the way this time.

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Great play by Hernandez and Costa down the right should have resulted in more, but Bamford chose to set up a teammate rather than shoot in a good position and the chance was lost.

Puskas sent an awkward effort wide following hesitancy from Casillas in coming out to deal with a flick on, but the Reading attacks were getting more and more sparse as they were forced back.

The visitors were grateful to Cabral again when he tipped a Hernandez free-kick wide.

Bamford hiot a shot wide from just outside the area and Leeds looked to be seeing the game out comfortably until one last attack by the visitors gave them their best chance of the game.

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Defender Moore was sent up front and got in behind the Whites defence, but Casilla got his angle right as he came out to make a block and the follow-up shot by Omar Richards went high and wide.

That was the last action of the match and to big cheers Leeds had a big three points that gives them breathing space again ahead of back to back away games now against Middlesbrough on Wednesday and Hull City next Saturday.

Match facts

(Hernandez 57)

Reading 0


Attendance: 35,483

Leeds: Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips (Alioski 37); Costa, Klich, Hernandez, Harrison (Shackleton 85); Bamford.

Reading: Cabral; Yiadom, Moore, Morrison, Richards; Pele, Swift (Adam 75); Meite, Rinomhota, Olise; Puscas.

Referee: Jarred Gillett.