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LEEDS UNITED missed the chance to move back to the top of The Premiership as Sunderland inflicted the first defeat of the season on David O'Leary's men with a superb 2-0 success at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon.

Second half goals from Julio Arca and Kevin Phillips were enough to give the Black Cats all three points and lift the pressure on Peter Reid after a run of just one point in their last four games.

Needing just a point to return to the top of the table in place of Liverpool, Leeds struggled at the start without the influential trio of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, who were both on international duty with Australia, and the injured Lee Bowyer.

Sunderland had the first chance of the game to open the scoring when defender Darrern Williams saw his glancing header from Jason McAteer's cross cleared off the line by Leeds midfieder Olivier Dacourt.

Leeds, who enjoyed a 100 % record at the Stadium of Light prior to the game, started to come more into the game as it progressed and it was Republic of Ireland international Robbie Keane, who looked most likely to break the deadlock. 

The former Coventry man missed a great chance to fire Leeds in front after 21 minutes when he raced clear on goal from David Batty's incisive through ball, but Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen blocked his shot well.

It was Keane again who had Leeds' best chance five minutes before the break, but Sorensen was quick off his line to take the striker's attempted flick.

Alan Smith, who was making his first start since August in place of the absent Viduka, tried his luck from range just a minute before the break with a well struck 20-yard shot which was comfortably saved by Sorensen.

Sunderland came out flying for the second half and they took the lead just three minutes after the restart.

It was Argentine star Arca, who broke the deadlock, with his first goal of the season.

Arca pounced from close range on after Leeds goalkeeper Nigel Martyn could only parry McAteer's shot from the edge of the box into his path.

The home side doubled their lead seven minutes with a superb strike from England star Phillips.

Phillips latched on to Niall Quinn's cushioned pass to send in a flashing right-footed volley beyond the despairing dive of Martyn for his seventh goal of the season.

The goals, the first time Leeds had conceded two in one game this season, stung them into action and Ian Harte went close with a free kick which flew just over the crossbar.

Keane had another chance to pull one back for Leeds but Sorensen again proved equal to the Irishman's attempts.

A miserable afternoon was completed for Leeds and Keane in the 68th minute when he was booked by referee Graham Barber for diving over a challenge from Bernt Hass in an attempt to win a penalty.

The win lifts Sunderland into 13th spot in the table and Leeds will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to Switzerland to take on Grasshoppers on Thursday night in the Uefa Cup.

Click on the fixture for a full match summary

Sunderland 2-0 Leeds United

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