Leeds beat Palace 2-0 to move into top half

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Crystal Palace - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - February 8, 2021 Leeds United's Patrick Bamford shakes hands with Luke Ayling after the match Pool via REUTERS/Jon Super

LEEDS, England (Reuters) - Leeds United's Jack Harrison scored early before striker Patrick Bamford reached the 100 goals milestone to lift the Yorkshire side into the top half of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Monday.

It was a first home win this year for Leeds, who have still lost more games than they have won at Elland Road this season, and nudged them up to 10th on 32 points from 22 games.

Palace, who won their last away game at Newcastle United but had to do without injured talisman Wilfried Zaha, remain in 13th place, three points behind Leeds having played a game more.

Harrison’s opener came after 150 seconds, with a shot that took a slight deflection off Palace's Gary Cahill and looped high into the net leaving goalkeeper Vicente Guaita caught out.

Harrison was set up by Stuart Dallas outside the box and he fired off a powerful strike - his third goal in his last four league games - that immediately put Palace on the back foot.

Bamford was inches away from adding to the score in the 10th minute with a glancing header that Guaita managed to stop at the base of the post as Leeds kept up the early pressure.

The centre forward had another opportunity when he won possession on the halfway line in the 23rd minute and chased down on the Palace goal only to hit his effort high and wide.

Leeds' dominance should have been better reflected in the scoreline with Pascal Struijk next to squander a clear chance, with a wayward diving header just before the break.

But the home side doubled their lead early in the second half after Guaita got a hand to Rafinha’s thunderous shot only to tee up Bamford for an easy tuck away.

The 27-year-old striker has played at nine clubs and his 100 career goals include 12 in the league this season.

Harrison then failed to take advantage of a defensive slip when he hit the crossbar with six minutes left.

"It was important not to concede and we didn't commit any errors to give our opponents a chance and our attack was good to score twice and could have got a few more," said Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa.

"Most important now is to show consistency, putting together a series of games where we get good results."

Palace’s best chance fell to Eberechi Eze in the 67th minute after substitute Michy Batshuayi opened up the home defence with a strong run but the winger blazed the ball over the bar.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing By Ken Ferris)

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