Man Utd secure thrilling victory against Leeds to clinch valuable three points

(Football news) With Arsenal and Tottenham already securing three points on Saturday, Manchester United knew that a result at Elland Road was crucial for their top four aspirations. Jesse Lingard made his first Premier League start of the season while Aaron Wan Bissaka and Paul Pogba also featured in the starting lineup. Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa dropped Raphinha on the bench as the Brazilian was replaced by Adam Forshaw. The conditions were atrocious with heavy rain, wind and a ferocious Elland Road atmosphere as an old rivalry had reignited between the two sides.

Manchester United should have taken the lead in the 26th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo’s tap-in failed to go past Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier after Paul Pogba went past Adam Forshaw at the left wing. To everyone’s surprise, the Red Devils opened the scoring from a corner in the 34th minute, finding the back of the net after 139 failed attempts. Skipper Harry Maguire outmuscled Diego Llorente and found the back of the net, much to the relief of the visiting fans. If that wasn’t all, Manchester United doubled their advantage six minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half as Jadon Sancho’s cross found Bruno Fernandes’ head and the Portuguese midfielder made no mistake in finding the net. 

Having already replaced Robin Koch with Junior Firpo due to a head injury in the first half, Marcelo Bielsa used his other two substitutions at the break as Raphinha and Joe Gelhardt replaced Jack Harrison and Llorente. The impact was instantaneous as a left footed cross by Rodrigo somehow went into the back of the net in the 53rd minute and before Manchester United could recover from the setback, Leeds equalised 24 seconds later when Daniel James’ low cross found Raphinha who outwitted Luke Shaw to find the back of the net. 

As the game appeared to quickly slip away from Manchester United’s grasp, Ralf Rangnick introduced Fred and Anthony Elanga for Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard. The decision paid dividends as Fred smashed home a shot from Jadon Sancho’s assist in the 70th minute to restore United’s lead once again while Anthony Elanga gave his side a two goal cushion after finding the back of the net in the 89th minute to silence the home crowd. The win resulted in Manchester United moving onto 46 points in the Premier League table while Leeds remained five points above the relegation zone.

Speaking after the match, Ralf Rangnick said “We knew that it was an important win today. It was similar to the one against West Ham. That was similarly emotional at the end with the last-second goal. But today it was more important, not only that we won the game but the way that we reacted after conceding the equaliser. That was the best possible answer the team could give. It was perfect with regard to maturity, unity and the best reply that they could give to some articles last week that there was some disruption in the locker room. I think in a game like this one today you can only win as a team and with the mentality of a team and this was, apart from the three points, the most important thing."

Also read: City endure shock defeat to Spurs while Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool win


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