LEEDS produced a masterclass in finishing to pour cold water on the Class of 92 last night.
League Two Salford – jointly owned by the Manchester United legends – gave their illustrious Championship opponents a testing examination before quality in the final third showed.
A goal just before the break by Eddie Nketiah saw Leeds edge a first half, which easily could have gone Salford’s way.
But quick-fire goals after the break – first a cheeky near-post Gaetano Berardi flick from a corner and then a brilliant breakaway effort from Mateusz Klich – killed any hopes of an upset at the Peninsular Stadium.
Leeds fans goaded Gary and Phil Neville, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt with chants of: “Stand up if you hate Man U.”
An intoxicated Salford-supporting moron ran on to the pitch when the ball was dead to dribble it.
Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla let him crack on but as the fan attempted to shoot, he missed the ball completely and fell over!
It was alarming how long it took for a steward to reach the scene and even then the fan managed to climb back into the terraces.
But Gary Neville – who plays the most hands-on role at the club – would have been happy with his team’s first-half showing.
Salford started well. Joey Jones saw a shot charged down by Leeds’ on-loan Brighton defender Ben White.
Richard Towell went close to moving the hosts in front when he cracked one from 25 yards but it was headed almost off the line by Leif Davis.
Phillips drove an effort straight at keeper Chris Neal much to his frustration. But the League Two side went close to moving in front.
Impressive forward Mani Dieseruvwe played in Towell – who teed up Jake Beesley but his shot was saved by Casilla.
But Leeds were always a threat – especially on the break – and Ezgjan Alioski saw his left-wing cross evade everyone.
Another one of his crosses almost got turned in by Nathan Pond but for the keeping skills of Neal.
Salford kept going and Dieseruvwe saw his thumping header just clear the bar from a Touray cross.
Phillips had a crack from 25 yards, forcing a superb tip-over from Neal. Then Jack Clarke saw a curling effort pushed away.
Alioski saw a speculative effort clear the bar before Leeds grabbed the opener.
Jamie Shackleton held the ball to perfection before releasing Helder Costa down the right and his superb ball across the face of goal was turned in by Nketiah.
And the Leeds scorer then came to their rescue to get his body in the way of a Danny Whitehead effort to deflect it wide.
Leeds got off to a flying start after the break when Costa took a lovely low corner from the right to the near post – and Berardi managed to get in front and flicked the ball home.
Whitehead let an effort fly from the edge of the box but it was straight at Casilla – but then the Salford ace fired another one from distance but this time the Leeds keeper did well to beat it away for a corner.
Leeds made it 3-0 as they swiftly broke and Klich gave chance, ran onward and unleashed a corker to put the game to bed.
Salford still battled and had two great chances to reduce the arrears late on.
Pond saw an effort cleared off the line by Berardi and then Towell saw a shot saved by Casilla with Adam Rooney’s header flashing wide.
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