Skip to main content

Leeds off the mark after Diego Llorente’s goal sees off Watford

Leeds United v Watford – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Diego Llorente’s first-half strike secured dominant Leeds a 1-0 win against Watford and their first Premier League victory of the season.

The Spain defender marked his return to action after a three-game injury lay-off with his second goal for Leeds following a corner in the 18th minute.

Leeds, as usual, created and wasted a hatful of chances, and the full-time whistle at Elland Road was celebrated wildly by home fans in a crowd of 36,261.

It was Leeds’ first league win in seven top-flight matches this season, yet it should have been by a much bigger margin.

Leeds burst out of the blocks in typical fashion and Dan James was denied by Ben Foster’s outstretched leg after the Watford goalkeeper had kept out Stuart Dallas’ shot.

Mateusz Klich then ballooned an effort over the crossbar after being set up by Dallas as Marcelo Bielsa’s side laid siege on Watford’s goal.

It was just the start Leeds’ fans had been hoping for as United looked to kick-start their season and they were rewarded with an opening goal.

Raphinha hit the spot with a whipped-in corner and the ball broke for Llorente, who applied a neat first-time finish.

Leeds were furious when referee Simon Hooper waved play on following William Ekong’s challenge on James in the penalty area and more so at VAR’s role in the decision-making.

Raphinha fired into the side-netting after skipping round Foster soon after and Leeds continued to swarm forward.

A defensive howler from Llorente presented Watford with their only sight of goal in the first half, which Turkey midfielder Ozan Tufan blazed over on his full Premier League debut in the 28th minute.

There was no let-up from Leeds in the second period, with Dallas firing over and Foster doing well under pressure from another pin-point Raphinha corner.

Leeds were dominant, but still not precise enough with the final pass and with no end product, the usual anxiety crept in on the terraces.

Most of Elland Road breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 73rd minute.

Goalkeeper Illan Meslier spilled a corner over his goal-line, but referee Hooper ruled out Watford’s ‘equaliser’ for Christian Kabasele’s foul on Liam Cooper.

Leeds twice went close to adding a game-clinching goal in the closing stages. Tyler Roberts’ shot was cleared off the line by Juraj Kucka and when the Leeds substitute followed up, his second attempt hit the crossbar.