Football: Late goals propel United to win over Leeds

LEEDS – A lacklustre Manchester United roused themselves in the dying stages to avenge a midweek 2-2 draw with Leeds United, sealing a 2-0 win in the reverse English Premier League fixture at Elland Road on Sunday.

The Red Devils’ goals, by Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho, came in the final 10 minutes and largely against the run of play.

Said former Tottenham Hotspur and England winger Chris Waddle on BBC Radio: “The quality and the build-up of the goals, the composure. Leeds didn’t have that.

“You cannot fault Leeds’ attitude and work rate, tremendous. Probably lacking in experience. When they do get into positions, they make the wrong decisions.

“Manchester United don’t and that is why they are second in the table.”

Despite a sprightly Leeds side having the better of proceedings, United still had the first clear opportunity even before their late heroics.

It came in first-half added time when Leeds defender Maximilian Wober was too slow to deal with a pass, allowing Bruno Fernandes to nick the ball and bear down on goal.

But his shot was saved by the outstretched leg of Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

Despite United manager Erik ten Hag saying his side’s slow starts to both halves of their midweek clash against the same opposition were “unacceptable”, Leeds were again quicker out of the blocks.

As Waddle observed: “Man United are still in the changing room. I don’t know what ten Hag said to them at half-time, whether his tactics are that boring that they fell asleep. They’ve got to wake up…

“Manchester United are just trying to play too slow, there is no movement off the ball.”

However, in the 63rd minute, United had their second big chance when fullback Diogo Dalot hit the crossbar.

Leeds hit back in the 78th minute when substitute Georginio Rutter robbed Shaw and picked out Crysencio Summerville.

He raced towards goal but his shot was denied by David de Gea’s leg.

Two minutes later though, United were ahead.

New loan signing Marcel Sabitzer crossed to Shaw on the left and his well-flighted ball found the head of Rashford, who gave Meslier no chance.

The England forward began the comeback from 2-0 down in midweek with another headed goal.

Five minutes later, Garnacho made it two. Wilfried Gnonto was caught on the ball in midfield by Fred and, after a quick exchange of passes among the Brazilian, Garnacho and Wout Weghorst, the Dutchman played in the scorer.

Having squandered good chances in midweek, Garnacho burst ahead of Robin Koch before shooting past Meslier. The Argentinian has more goal involvements (two goals and two assists) off the bench than any other player in the Premier League.

United captain Harry Maguire, who started in central defence with Shaw, admitted that revenge was on the team’s mind.

He said: “We know, coming to Elland Road, it’s going to be a tough one. Credit to the lads that we stuck with it, showed spirit, got a clean sheet… We knew today was about revenge and we got it.”

De Gea, who made his 400th league appearance for United, added: “We deserved to win at home but today we did.

“Great game, we knew if we could keep a clean sheet we would win the game so we did it. We fought until the end like a team.

“Harry… has not been playing as much as he can. He played today and he played fantastic so that means that the team is playing strong.”

Next up for United is a mouth-watering Europa League round-of-32 clash with La Liga leaders Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Thursday.

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