Manchester United maintained their push for a place in the top four by beating bitter rivals Leeds 4-2 today at Elland Road.
The game started at a frenetic pace, in front of a raucous crowd and during a horrendous downpour.
For all the endeavor of both sides, it would be the 21st minute before either goalkeeper would be called into any meaningful action when Adam Forshaw forced Man United ‘keeper David de Gea into a decent stop from the edge of the area.
The Red Devils then missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Cristiano Ronaldo hit straight at Illan Meslier from two yards out after some brilliant work down the left from Paul Pogba.
It’s been a tough season for under fire United skipper Harry Maguire, but the centre-back would give his side the lead on 34 minutes. Luke Shaw whipped in a wicked delivery from a left-hand side corner and Maguire rose highest to score his sides first set-piece goal of the season.
Four minutes into stoppage time United would then go two up, Bruno Fernandes heading home from the edge of the six-yard box after a delicate chipped delivery from the impressive Jadon Sancho.
Leeds fans and their players looked deflated at the end of the first-half, but that would all change eight minutes after the break when record signing Rodrigo’s cross from the left evaded de Gea’s grasp and flew into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later and the home crowd were in ecstasy when half-time substitute Raphinha tapped home a Dan James cross from close-range.
Ralf Rangnick threw on his own Brazil international from the bench when Fred replaced Pogba just after the hour mark and the energetic midfielder put United back in the lead on 70 minutes. After a slick counter-attack Sancho laid the ball off and Fred fired a thunderous effort past Meslier at the near post.
Two minutes from time Anthony Elanga sealed the win for his side with a cooly taken finish after being slipped through by Fernandes.
🍾 Man of the Match, @ManUtd‘s Jadon Sancho
2 assists (1st assists for Man Utd)
3 chances created
7 touches in opposition box
21 passes in final 3rd pic.twitter.com/H6wkoNZ3k5
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 20, 2022
Speaking afterwards United boss Rangnick was delighted with the ‘maturity’ his side showed to regain their composure and win the game after Leeds comeback.
“That was a fantastic game to watch if you are not the manager of either team,” Rangnick told Sky Sports.
”It was a very good first half; after the first few minutes we had control and could have been three or four nil up.
“After two minutes in the second half, it was a completely different atmosphere in the stadium. The [first] goal was lucky, I don’t think he meant to shoot the ball like he did.
“Then it was 2-2 and for five minutes after that it was very intense. The team showed maturity and stayed together. I’m not so sure this would have happened two or three months ago, which shows they have grown as a team. We deserved to win.”