Pablo Hernandez scored his sixth goal of the season for Leeds
Leeds United further strengthened their grip on a place in the Championship’s top two with a fourth successive victory against out-of-form Hull City.
The Whites remain five points clear of Fulham, who beat Preston North End later on Saturday, and have closed the gap to leaders West Bromwich Albion to just one point after the Baggies lost at home to Wigan Athletic.
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa handed a first league start to 19-year-old Illan Meslier with first-choice goalkeeper Kiko Casilla beginning an eight-match ban for racial abuse, but the on-loan shot stopper was seldom troubled as the dominant visitors kept a fourth straight clean sheet.
Leeds went ahead inside the opening five minutes, as Luke Ayling’s 20-yard strike took a huge deflection off Callum Elder and spun into the corner of the net.
Having already rattled a shot against the angle of crossbar and post soon after Ayling’s opener, Pablo Hernandez doubled United’s advantage at the start of the second half with a cool finish past George Long.
Tyler Roberts completed the scoring with two more goals in the final 10 minutes, first firing in following Mateusz Klich’s classy lay-off and then heading home after another Klich assist.
While Leeds seemingly edge towards promotion to the Premier League after recovering from a mid-season wobble, Hull continue to slide towards the bottom three having climbed to eighth with victory at Sheffield Wednesday on 1 January.
Grant McCann’s side have failed to win in the Championship since then, losing eight of their past 10 league games to leave them just four points above the relegation zone.
They were arguably unfortunate to find themselves behind after a relatively even first half against Leeds, but were comprehensively outplayed by their visitors during the second period.
Before Roberts’ late double the Whites struck the woodwork for a second time when Jack Harrison’s brilliant curling effort bounced back off the upright, while Helder Costa twice forced Long into smart saves.
Substitute Norbert Balogh went closest to scoring for Hull, clipping the outside of the post from just inside the box, but the Tigers were well short as they slipped to a third straight defeat.
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 17McLoughlinBooked at 50mins
- 37Da Silva LopesSubstituted forBattyat 63'minutes
- 42SamuelsenSubstituted forMaddisonat 76'minutes
- 27MagennisBooked at 52minsSubstituted forBaloghat 63'minutes
- 17Hélder Costa
- 19HernándezSubstituted forShackletonat 88'minutes
- 22HarrisonSubstituted forAlioskiat 88'minutes
- 9BamfordBooked at 50minsSubstituted forRobertsat 67'minutes
Home TeamHullAway TeamLeedsPossessionHome33%Away67%ShotsHome8Away17Shots on TargetHome2Away8CornersHome5Away11FoulsHome13Away13
Match ends, Hull City 0, Leeds United 4.