Match Report: Leeds United 2-4 Manchester United: Fred and Elanga earn landmark win

Fred celebrates his winner against Leeds United

Substitute Fred was the hero as Manchester United withstood a second-half fightback to defeat rivals Leeds United 4-2 and become the first team to register 700 Premier League wins.

First-half goals from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes had the visitors seemingly coasting towards three points in Sunday’s contest at a sodden Elland Road.

But Leeds’ reputation for chaos coupled with United’s for showing a soft centre each came to fruition as two goals in the space of 59 seconds from Rodrigo and Raphinha turned the game on its head.

There would be another twist, though, as Fred drilled home just three minutes after entering the fray to help the Red Devils secure a double over their cross-Pennine rivals, with a slice of history confirmed when fellow sub Anthony Elanga netted late on.

Blood was literally spilled by Robin Koch after a clash of heads with Scott McTominay, which later led to the Leeds defender going off.

David de Gea beat away an Adam Forshaw stinger prior to Paul Pogba laying the ball across the face of goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, who scooped a close-range effort straight at Illan Meslier.

Meslier kept out Fernandes but from the follow-up corner Maguire emphatically headed in Luke Shaw’s delivery.

Fernandes then nodded in a beauty of a dinked cross from Jadon Sancho at the end of a slick counter to double the lead on the stroke of half time.

A chaotic 59-second period in the second half dramatically saw Leeds level by the 54th minute.

Rodrigo’s cross from the left deceived De Gea and found the far corner, before Forshaw robbed Fernandes of possession prior to Dan James’ low cross being met on the slide by half-time sub Raphinha.

But United would regain the lead when Fred hammered past Meslier at his near post after being teed up by Sancho with 20 minutes to play, and Elanga rolled home a fourth with the clock winding down.

What does it mean? Job done but concerns remain for Red Devils

The Red Devils made it back-to-back wins to consolidate fourth place, though there will be major concern about the lapse in concentration that nearly allowed Leeds to deny them victory.

If reports are to believed not all is well under Ralf Rangnick, brought in on an interim basis to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with reports of disharmony among the squad.

Ultimately, it was a win here for the better team but with the way United sloppily allowed their opponents back into the game will remain a cause for concern.

Rangnick’s brave call justified

Eyebrows were raised when Pogba was the man to make way for Fred, with some noticeable dissention heard from the away end.

Fred proved his worth, though, with a well-executed winner – the only disappointment being when a coin was aimed at the midfielder by a member of the crowd.

Fernandes the scourge of Leeds again

United were strolling prior to the bedlam of the second half with Fernandes, who netted a hat-trick in the 5-1 opening-day win in the reverse fixture, becoming the first player to score four goals against Leeds in a single season.

The Portuguese also finished with an assist from two chances created for his team-mates, while the visitors’ first goal was their first from a corner this season – indeed prior to this fixture the Red Devils had taken the most in the league with netting from one (138).

Key Opta Stats: Super-subs strike again

– Man Utd have scored 10 Premier League goals via substitutes this season, at least four more than any other side.
– Leeds’ quickfire 59-second double was the fastest a team has scored twice in the same league game against Manchester United since West Brom in May 2013 (52 seconds).
– At 21 years and 355 days, Meslier became the youngest keeper to concede 100 goals in the Premier League (now 102). This was his 59th game, with only five keepers conceding their 100th goal in fewer appearances.
– Sancho has been involved in four goals in his last five games for Manchester United in all competitions (two goals, two assists), twice as many as he was in his first 23 appearances (two goals).
– Fred has scored three goals in 20 appearances for Manchester United in the Premier League this season – more than he had in his first 76 games in the competition combined (two).

What’s next?

Man Utd now switch attentions to the Champions League and their last-16 first-leg tie at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Leeds visit title-chasing Liverpool in the Premier League on the same day.

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