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Sancho, Rashford Save Man United in Tough Game Against Leeds

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Alvin Jones, Staff Writer

Goal-scorers Jadon Sancho (left) and Marcus Rashford (right) celebrate their impressive performances. Photo//Getty

On the heels of Manchester City’s loss to Tottenham and Arsenal’s loss to Everton, Manchester United had a crucial opportunity to gain three points in the title race. United, sat in third place, were on a streak of three consecutive wins in all competitions.

Their last fixture was a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace, in which star player Casemiro was sent off and subsequently suspended for three games. United limped across the finish line in that game, and on Wednesday played rival club Leeds.

Leeds United went into the match winless in seven games. They fired their manager Jesse Marsch after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.

Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford started immediately with a goal from the underdogs. New signing Wilfried Gnonto played a one-two with striker Patrick Bamford and lasered a shot into the bottom left-hand corner. It was a superb shot that Man United keeper David de Gea had no chance of saving. Within one minute, Leeds took the lead.

The remainder of the first half was feisty, as the two rivals traded chances. A well-worked set-piece by Leeds found its way to Pascal Struijk, who headed the ball at the far post. de Gea just managed to keep the ball out of the goal with his fingertips.

At minute 17, a perfect pass from Bruno Fernandes found Man. United youngster Alejandro Garnacho, who could not find a finish. In the 25th minute, Garnacho had another chance after skipping past Leeds keeper Illan Meslier, but defender Maximilian Wöber played hero by making a crucial goal-line clearance.

The next goal arrived early in the second-half as a result of another quick start from Leeds. After dispossessing Garnacho in midfield, Robin Koch played a through ball to the left looking for winger Crysencio Summerville. Summerville left the pass for Gnonto to receive, who then played Summerville through on goal, and he did not squander the finish.

Leeds 2, United 0.

Crysencio Summerville (left) and Willy Gnonto (right) at Old Trafford. Photo/Getty

With an hour gone, Man United found a lifeline through their best player, Marcus Rashford. Substitute Facundo Pellistri collected a lifted ball into the box and sent the ball wide to Diogo Dalot, who whipped the ball into the box for Rashford. Rashford out jumped Leeds defender Koch, and headed the ball into the net.

Rashford leads Man United with 11 league goals and has two goals and assists in as many games.

The final Man United equalizer came from an unlikely source. Signed for £72 million two seasons ago, Jadon Sancho was one of the world’s most promising players. After two rough seasons at United and failing to receive a call-up for the 2022 World Cup, Sancho took a three-month break.

The 22-year-old winger trained and rehabbed privately, missing several games since the restart. He was brought on in the 59th minute for his first league game since his sabbatical.

Sancho, in the 70th minute, received a pass on the wing from Luke Shaw. Sancho played it back to Shaw, who ran to the by-line and took a shot. The shot deflected off of Koch and found its way to Sancho. Sancho hit a low shot, which flew past two Leeds defenders, Meslier and into the net.

Old Trafford erupted as Sancho wheeled away in celebration. It was Sancho’s first goal since September, and his most important goal as a Man United player.

Leeds held on for dear life and finished the game with a point, as the game ended at 2-2. Meslier made several crucial saves late to keep Leeds afloat. Man United missed out on a chance to gain ground on their title rivals.

However, they put together a spirited performance with a number of positives, including the masterful goals from their young stars Rashford and Sancho.

Next up for Manchester United is a Europa League battle with Spanish powerhouse, FC Barcelona on Wednesday, while Leeds takes on struggling Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.

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