Manchester United triumphed 4-2 over Leeds United in a whirlwind clash at Elland Road on Sunday, and the stormy weather unsurprisingly wasn’t the only ferocious factor. United recovered from a quickfire collapse after half-time to secure another huge three points on their quest for a top-four spot.
Harry Maguire headed the visitors ahead from Luke Shaw’s corner on 34 minutes to silence a raucous home crowd before Bruno Fernandes pushed the dagger deeper in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time.
As the rain thundered down after the break, Leeds received a gift from the gods as Rodrigo’s cross swerved off course and over David de Gea to breathe life into the Elland Road faithful.
And in extraordinary scenes, less than a minute later, second-half substitute Raphinha latched onto ex-Red Devil Daniel James’ wicked ball across goal to level the score and prompt celebrations likely heard across the hills of West Yorkshire.
But United rediscovered their mojo, with Fred latching onto Jadon Sancho’s second assist before fellow substitute Anthony Elanga responded to being hit by a coin from the crowd with a late fourth.
Express Sport pinpoints four things Man Utd learned in an instant classic against Leeds at Elland Road.
Harry Maguire crushes the corner curse
Before Saturday’s clash, it was common knowledge and widely-jested that United hadn’t scored from a corner all season – in 389 days, to be precise.
But on the Red Devils’ 140th corner of the 2021/22 campaign, Maguire, Sheffield-born, headed past Illan Meslier to break the deadlock.
And barring United’s minute of madness, the club captain registered a somewhat solid performance on a day of substantial pressure.
Paul Pogba proves his worth
After Ralf Rangnick replaced Paul Pogba after 67 minutes, questions were raised simply because of how good the Frenchman was on the pitch.
In the first half, Pogba completed all five of his attempted take-ons, all three attempted long balls and created two chances.
He has been a significant positive since returning from injury, but his display against Leeds was the best of the lot and would’ve only ignited further interest in his free agency this summer.
Another second-half slip-up
United have become accustomed to controlling first halves before crumbling after the break, and it happened again on Sunday.
Away trips to Aston Villa and Burnley and home games against Middlesbrough and Southampton ended in disappointment after United led at half-time.
And the Old Trafford club almost shot themselves in the foot again at Leeds, conceding two goals in 24 seconds to Rodrigo and Raphinha.
Perhaps a sign of progress in recent weeks can be their ability to fight back for all three points, especially with an already-bouncing home crowd’s tails up.
Ralf Rangnick’s substitutes save the day
Rangnick will deservedly be heralded for his substitutions, which ultimately got United out of disaster and saved the day.
Fred replaced Pogba in a bold call and fired the visitors ahead within three minutes of entering the pitch.
Fred and Elanga were hit with projectiles from the home fans in the corner in celebrations for that goal as the match risked turning sour.
But in the dying embers, Elanga responded by firing in a fourth and celebrating by shushing those culpable.
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