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Sancho salvages Man Utd draw with managerless Leeds

By AFP
08 February 2023   |   10:55 pm
Jadon Sancho's first goal since September denied managerless Leeds a famous win at Old Trafford as Manchester United came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.

Manchester United’s English striker Jadon Sancho (2nd L) shoots and scores his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 8, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Jadon Sancho’s first goal since September denied managerless Leeds a famous win at Old Trafford as Manchester United came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.

Sancho has been sidelined for much of the season by fitness issues, but came off the bench to rescue a point and stretch United’s unbeaten run at home to 16 games.

Leeds sacked Jesse Marsch on Monday following a run of seven league games without a win.

Caretaker manager Michael Skubala had just one 20-minute training session to prepare for the trip across The Pennines, but they had been on course for a first victory over United since 2010.

Wilfried Gnonto gave the visitors the perfect start after just a minute and Raphael Varane’s own goal doubled their advantage early in the second half.

Marcus Rashford’s 20th goal of the season sparked the United fightback before Sancho equalised.

A point leaves third-placed United still seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal, having played two games more.

The draw is more valuable to Leeds, who edge one point clear of the relegation zone.

Gnonto has been a consistent bright spark of an otherwise sad season for Leeds and exploded the game into life after just 60 seconds as he found the bottom corner for his fourth goal in seven games.

United badly missed the presence of the suspended Casemiro in midfield, which allowed Leeds to counter-attack at will.

Pascal Struijk could have doubled their lead inside 12 minutes as David De Gea was forced into a save from point-blank range to deny the Dutch defender.

But the losses of Luis Sinisterra to injury and Struijk due to concussion halted Leeds’ momentum and they ended up clinging onto their lead before half-time.

Alejandro Garnacho fired just wide and then saw a shot cleared off the line by Max Woeber after the Argentine had rounded Illan Meslier.

However, United were slow out of the blocks after the break and were punished.

Gnonto was at the heart of the move again as he released Crysencio Summerville down the left and his cross was turned into his own net by Raphael Varane.

Erik ten Hag turned to his bench for solutions and found them in Sancho and Facundo Pellistri to replace the ineffectual Wout Weghorst and Garnacho.

Weghorst’s withdrawal put Rashford through the middle and within minutes he rose highest to meet Diogo Dalot’s cross for his 12th goal in 14 games since the World Cup.

Leeds were inches away from restoring their two-goal lead almost immediately when Brenden Aaronson’s free-kick came back off the post.

But their advantage was soon wiped out completely 20 minutes from time.

Sancho’s return to action has been a timely boost with United still involved in four competitions and short on attacking options.

The England international collected Luke Shaw’s deflected cross and his low strike caught out Meslier low to his left.

United then laid siege to the Leeds goal in search of a winner.

Meslier redeemed himself with a fine save to tip over a Varane header and Bruno Fernandes twice fired off target as United failed to complete the comeback.