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Leeds hammer Boro to move top of the Championship

Leeds easily swept aside Middlesbrough 4-0 to move back to the top of the Championship.

A brace from Mateusz Klich and goals from former Boro striker Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa saw off the struggling Teessiders, who remain just a point above the relegation spots.

The victory was a fifth in a row for United who sit a point ahead of second-placed West Brom, who play Preston on Monday.

Leeds boasted the meanest defence in the Championship going into this game, whilst Boro had the joint-worst attack in the division.

Those stats did not bode well for the visitors and indeed the contest was barely three minutes old when Leeds took control of proceedings.

Bamford was denied initially when his header was kept out by Aynsley Pears, but the rookie goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Bamford’s second header following a delightful cross from Pablo Hernandez.

Leeds were dominating proceedings, barely allowing the visitors to breathe and Luke Ayling fired over as the hosts searched for a second.

Given their dominance, it looked like only a matter of time before a second goal arrived for Marcelo Bielsa’s side but credit to Boro, they weathered the storm thereafter.

However, going forward, Jonathan Woodgate’s side were creating precious little and their front pair of Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher were isolated for large parts of the first half.

Right on the brink of half-time Leeds finally put some distance between the two sides as Klich doubled their lead.

Bamford laid off a pass that deflected into the path of Klich whose effort also took a slight nick on its way past Pears in the visitors’ goal.

United picked up where they left off just after the interval, as Jack Harrison stung the fingertips of Pears with a rasping drive from outside the box.

Bamford was then put through after a superb pass from Stuart Dallas just before the hour but Pears was alert to the danger and came out quickly to block the striker’s attempt from a few yards out.

Costa then saw an effort charged down as the hosts threatened to run away with the contest.

But the Portuguese winger was not to be kept off the scoresheet for too long, netting his first for the club.

He wriggled his way through the Boro defence before rifling an effort from just inside the box beyond a helpless Pears.

Leeds were still hungry for more goals and it was not long before Pears was picking the ball out of his net for a fourth time.

Klich notched his second of the game with a superb strike that bent into the top corner from outside the box.

Kalvin Phillips saw a free-kick tipped over by Pears late on, but earlier picked up a fifth booking of the season and will be suspended for next week’s trip to Huddersfield.