Late goals from Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho earned Manchester United a hard-fought 2-0 Premier League victory at Leeds United on Sunday.
Chances were few and far between in a feisty first half between the Roses rivals, with Crysencio Summerville twice going close for Leeds and Bruno Fernandes wasting the visitors’ best opportunity.
Erik ten Hag’s team continued to struggle to break down the dogged host until the in-form Rashford headed home his 21st goal of the season in all competitions to finally break the Leeds resistance in the 80th minute.
Gaps started to appear with the deadlock broken and substitute Garnacho took advantage to put the game to bed five minutes from time, racing clear before firing home.
With champion Manchester City in action later on Sunday, United leap-frogged its rival into second place having played two games more. Leeds stayed 17th, one point above the relegation zone.
The two teams were familiar with each other having only played out a thrilling 2-2 draw four days ago at Old Trafford, and the intensity levels did not drop off for the return at Elland Road.
The major difference between the matches was the final pass, with Ten Hag’s team struggling to create any openings of note as Leeds started well.
Summerville should have done better from an early opening in the penalty area, before being denied by a smart save from David de Gea in the United goal just before the break.
Moments after Summerville had been denied, Fernandes found himself clean through on goal after an error from Max Wober, but Illan Meslier stuck out a leg to deny the Portuguese.
The second half remained tight. Leeds had a flurry of half chances just after the break, while Diogo Dalot thundered a strike against the crossbar for the visitors.
But not for the first time this season, it was left to one man to drag his team out of a hole.
The cross from Luke Shaw was inch-perfect onto the head of Rashford and the England international made no mistake with a bullet header.
Garnacho’s pace created the game-clinching second and the Argentine teenager produced a clinical finish.
Leeds is now winless in nine Premier League matches, its longest run without a victory in the competition since 10 games in 1997.
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