LEEDS, England (AP) — Manchester United conceded twice in 24 seconds at Leeds to throw away the lead before goals from substitutes Fred and Anthony Elanga secured a 4-2 victory in the Premier League on Sunday.
First-half headers from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes were wiped out by Rodrigo and Raphinha goals. But United came back to edge the six-goal thriller to help its mission to stay fourth. Leeds is five points above the relegation zone.
This was the first time the War of the Roses match — between Yorkshire and Lancashire teams — had been played in the Premier League in front of fans at Elland Road since November 2003 due to Leeds’ 16-year topflight exile and coronavirus restrictions.
The visitors should have taken the lead midway through the first half, but Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
Ronaldo appeared for United at Elland Road in October 2003 — 18 years and 125 days ago — and that is the longest gap for a player between games against an opponent in Premier League history.
Leeds was forced to replace Robin Koch through concussion but some time after a clash of heads with Scott McTominay, having initially returned with his head bandaged.
United were beginning to pull Leeds out of shape before Maguire headed in the opener in the 34th minute, holding off Diego Llorente to meet Luke Shaw’s corner. It was United’s first goal from a corner since April last year.
The visitors doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time. Victor Lindelof combined with Jadon Sancho and a cross found Fernandes, who headed home with no Leeds defenders in sight.
At the start of the second half in worsening conditions, Leeds launched a stunning fightback.
Rodrigo’s cross from the left after a swift counterattack swirled over David de Gea’s head and nestled inside the far post and if that reignited the contest, Raphinha’s equalizer less than a minute later energized the fans even more.
Dan James, in his first appearance against his former club, skipped by Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the left edge of the box and his low cross was turned home by Raphinha at the far post.
Rangnick made a double substitution in the 67th minute, sending on Elanga and Fred for Lingard and Paul Pogba. Within three minutes the home fans, still celebrating, were stunned into silence.
Sancho’s neat lay-off teed up Fred and he smashed an angled shot beyond Meslier to regain the lead for his side.
Although Leeds mounted another charge to rescue the game — Mateusz Klich’s 20-yard shot was turned over by De Gea — Elanga ran on to Fernandes’ pass inside the area to fire home his side’s fourth goal.
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