Eddie Nketiah made his long-awaited first start in the Championship for Leeds United, as they got the better of Birmingham City in a 5-4 win at St Andrew’s on Sunday.
The Arsenal loanee had played 15 games in the second tier coming off the bench each time, but the absence of regular starting forward Patrick Bamford offered Nketiah his big opportunity.
Leeds held the lead multiple times, but Birmingham responded with multiple comebacks as well. Goals for the Whites came from Helder Costa, Jack Harrison, Luke Ayling, and Stuart Dallas, while for the Blues, Jude Bellingham and a Lukas Jutkiewicz hattrick created an electric atmosphere in the West Midlands until Wes Harding put the ball into his own net in the dying minutes to gift Marcelo Bielsa’s men all three points.
📋 One change to the #LUFC Starting XI that featured against Preston. Nketiah starts in place of Bamford, whilst Roberts is named on the bench— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 29, 2019
Nketiah was on for 81 minutes and received a yellow card seven minutes earlier for simulation.
Despite not finding the back of the net, the 20-year old had 31 touches on the ball, 12 accurate passes (75%) and won two of three ground duels.
Leeds move to the top of the Championship table, level on points with Semi Ajayi’s West Bromwich Albion - who lost 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough - but with a better goal difference.
The Yorkshire outfit square up against the Baggies at the Hawthorns on New Year’s Day.