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Manchester United 2-0 Leeds United: Rashford and Garnacho overcome gritty Leeds

United now have a seven-point buffer over fifth place.

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United scored two late goals to record a 2-0 win at Leeds United in Sunday’s Premier League fixture. Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho were both on the scoresheet as the Reds overcame a tricky Leeds side to strengthen their grip on a Champions League spot.

Erik ten Hag made three changes to the side that only mustered a draw at home to Leeds on Wednesday, with Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Jadon Sancho all given starts. Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez dropped to the bench ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Barcelona, while Antony missed the matchday squad with a leg injury.

By now, we’re all too familiar with Leeds’ ability to make trips to Elland Road tight, niggling affairs, and the first half of this fixture was no different. The hosts made a bright start, and went close to breaking the deadlock inside five minutes. A low cross was fizzed in towards Patrick Bamford, whose low effort was palmed away at the near post by David de Gea; Crysencio Summerville skied the rebound under pressure from Tyrell Malacia.

From there, Leeds offered little in attack, but did a great job of harrying a rather disorganised United. Ten Hag’s side carved out their first chance midway through the first half, when Jadon Sancho teed up Bruno Fernandes on the edge of the box, though the Portuguese attacker dragged his shot wide at the far post.

It took until the very end of the opening period before both sides threatened again. The lively Summerville forced a reflex De Gea save from close range, before an unforced error from Leeds defender Maximilian Wöber allowed Fernandes through one-on-one, only to be denied by goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

The second half began in similarly frenetic fashion, with Summerville, Weston McKennie and Jack Harrison all having early half-chances for the hosts. Luke Ayling caught a sweet half-volley after Bruno Fernandes flicked a clearing header in his direction, though a deflection off Luke Shaw diverted his effort just wide.

Ten Hag made his customary substitutions as the clock ticked past the hour, with Martínez and Alejandro Garnacho introduced in place of Malacia and Sancho. Within seconds, United went within inches of opening the scoring, as Diogo Dalot struck a vicious curling effort against the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.

Before long, Dalot was withdrawn for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as both sides continued to bark without much bite. Leeds again threatened when Summerville was slotted down Martínez’s left, though his low shot was from an optimistic angle, and De Gea made a comfortable save.

It took until the final 10 minutes, but United finally opened the scoring. Luke Shaw, who had shuffled over to left-back after Martínez’s introduction, found a pocket of space on the left side of Leeds’ box. He dug out a perfect cross towards the centre of the box, met by a bullet header from an otherwise quiet Marcus Rashford.

With Leeds forced to push forward in search of an equaliser, United soon sealed their win. Wout Weghorst slipped Garnacho between two Leeds defenders, and the young Argentine used his pace to burst through and slot a low finish inside Meslier’s near post. Both Rashford and Weghorst thought they’d netted third goals before the final whistle, only for the offside flag to chalk off their goals.