Six-goal stormy thriller: Man United sink Leeds in EPL | Sports News
By ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer
LEEDS, England (AP) — Celebrating Manchester United’s fourth goal, Anthony Elanga held a finger to his lips. No way Leeds fans are being silenced.
No chance. Not when they had waited 19 years to see their fiercest rival at Elland Road in the Premier League, first because of relegation and then pandemic restrictions on fans.
Not when they had already come from two goals down by scoring twice in 24 seconds to erase United’s lead on Sunday.
In the end, however, the tide turned in United’s favor to claim a six-goal thriller on a soggy pitch. Fred and Elanga took the 4-2 win and kept United on course to stay in fourth place.
“The atmosphere was great,” United manager Ralf Rangnick said. “Sometimes we had to calm things down on the pitch.”
Leeds still cannot escape fears that their return to the Premier League after a 16-year exile may end after two seasons. Just five points separate Marcelo Bielsa’s side from the relegation zone after picking up one point in the last four games.
“The effort the team has put in can be appreciated, but the relationship between what you get and what they’ve produced is huge in football,” Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said. “Not fighting would be a worrying sign and fighting is a starting point. But that’s not the only thing. »
The certainty of its Premier League status is needed to invest in a stadium that has lacked much investment since Leeds were relegated in 2004 from the wealthiest league in the world.
The plays appear to have changed little from the days that saw Leeds beat United to the title in 1992, the final season before the Premier League was established.
Time hasn’t dissipated the intensity of the rivals geographically separated by the Pennine Mountains and less than an hour’s drive from north-west England.
There were still the chants about the Munich air disaster which killed eight United players in 1958.
And objects were dumped on United players after captain Harry Maguire headed in the 34th-minute opener from a Luke Shaw corner then celebrated in front of the home fans.
The game seemed to be over when Bruno Fernandes headed in another in the fifth minute of stoppage time late in the first half from Jadon Sancho’s cross.
The downpour only intensified at halftime. Water splashed on the turf as the players passed the ball on their return.
Soon United were no longer freewheeling.
It took just 24 seconds for Leeds, starting with David de Gea’s goal as unpredictable in the away goal as the weather.
It appeared that Rodrigo sent a cross from the left but the ball bent beyond the goalkeeper’s reach and inside the post in the 53rd minute.
For the first time since Harry Kewell’s header winner in September 2002, fans at Elland Road witnessed a Premier League goal against United.
After soaking up the celebrations, home fans didn’t wait long to see another one. Dan James crossed at the far post where Raphinha slid past Shaw to drive the ball over the line.
Leeds survived a VAR review for a potential foul on Fernandes in the build-up to reveling in his recovery.
United were in shock until a slick team goal in the 70th retook the lead. It started with Fernandes taking possession of the ball in his own half and crossing unchallenged before handing the ball to Ronaldo.
Fred received a pass from the Portuguese before handing the ball to Sancho. A run into the penalty area gave the England international time for the return pass to Fred and the Brazilian beat Illan Meslier at the near post.
The worst excesses of this traditional rivalry showed up again during the celebrations when Elanga was hit by an object.
But another comeback was beyond Leeds as United’s quality prevailed to put the game away. Fernandes sent the ball over Pascal Struijk before passing for Elanga to apply the finishing touches to complete a thrilling game.
“It was old school,” Maguire said. “There were so many tackles. I’m sure it was good to watch, but luckily we came out on top.”
Winning was even more important for United with Wolverhampton on Sunday after Arsenal and Tottenham won at the weekend as they tried to dislodge Rangnick’s side from fourth place.
Daniel Podence’s goal from 20 yards gave Wolverhampton a 2-1 win over Leicester after playing a role in the opener. After his cross was not cleared, Raul Jimenez returned the ball to Ruben Neves who fired into the hands of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
The Podence winner, after Ademola Lookman netted the equalizer in the 41st, ensured Wolves remained six points behind fourth-placed United with two games less.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.