Anthony Elanga even had time to taunt Leeds fans after showcasing his character and Manchester United credentials as he came off the bench to help his side secure all three points in a fiercely-contested grudge match at Elland Road. It’s the first time the two sides have met in Yorkshire in front of supporters since the Whites sealed their return to the Premier League in 2019 following their relegation from the top-flight in 2004.
Both United and Leeds have served up plenty of classics over the years and fans were treated to yet another enthralling encounter on a sodden pitch.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were initially cruising – 2-0 to the good – until two goals in 24 seconds from Rodrigo and Raphinha pulled Leeds level.
But Rangnick’s two substitutes Fred and Elanga helped United turn the tide back in their favour as they netted two well-taken goals from the bench to secure a vital victory.
The teenage forward was not phased after he was struck by a coin during passionate celebrations in front of the travelling supporters for Fred’s goal.
He required treatment but soldiered on to score a fourth and cap a fine afternoon for United, despite a brief second-half scare.
Elanga shushed the Leeds fans after he nutmegged Illan Meslier for the fourth but that would not be the last time he taunted the Elland Road faithful.
At full-time he turned to the Leeds end that had thrown coins in the direction of the United players and pointed to the badge on his shirt before pointing down to the pitch with both hands to indicate that the visitors took over the hosts’ stadium.
It was a moment that United supporters will love as they continue to take to their latest academy success story.
Rangnick has received his fair share of criticism throughout a mixed spell as an interim boss but his belief in Elanga has been one of few positives for United in recent months.
After previous finding the net in the 3-1 win at Brentford, Elanga has now netted his second of the season as he continues to catch the eye in attack.
He has provided United with another promising option going forward – particularly after losing Mason Greenwood.
The future of the latter remains uncertain following his suspension by United amid an ongoing police investigation.
However, Elanga has seized his opportunity to work his way into the first-team picture.
His performance was rightly praised by Gary Neville during commentary, more specifically his composed finish that added some gloss to the scoreline.
United captain Harry Maguire was delighted with the character on display from his team-mates.
“We needed to start the second half better, for sure. They came out right on top of us; their first goal is obviously really lucky and it got them right back in it and then they scored a good goal,” he said.
“We had to fight back and stick together; we knew it was a tough place to come but we knew we had qualities and could hurt them. We said at half time we needed to score more in the second half and we managed to do that.”
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