Leed United 1, Manchester City 1
Raheem Sterling scored in the first half to reward an excellent first half for Manchester City but Leeds hit back in the second half when Ederson failed to claim a corner and Rodrigo turned the loose ball home to ensure honours even in a rainswept game at Elland Road.Embed from Getty Images
City spent the rest of the battling against a motivated Leeds side on a pitch that was getting heavier during the incessant rain throughout and both sides hit the woodwork and had chances saved.
There was a stack of late penalty shouts and handball claims – all waved away – as the action-packed game ended, leaving City in 10th place (8 points behind table topping Everton with a game in hand) while their hosts rose up to 5th in the Premier League.
What will be worrying for City boss Pep Guardiola is the statistics that seemed to suggest that Leeds edged City on possession – 52% to 48% – while City failed to convert their early dominance into more goals despite having more shots than Leeds by the end of the game (23 to Leeds’ 12).
And Guardiola’s second half substitutes – becoming more defensively solid by adding Nathan Ake and Fernandinho into the mix – showed just how lacking in confidence this season’s City full backs are while City dearly missed Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus upfront tonight and the midfield control of Ilkay Gundogan.
Guardiola refused to blame injuries and illness for the latest City setback, preferring to praise Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds instead. He said:
“I’m not complaining about missing players but I am sad that they are not here.
“Leeds showed just how good they are. Both teams wanted to attack, it was a good game and a fair result.
“Credit to them. They made a good build up with the keeper and put a lot of players behind our midfield line.
“They attacked with fast players outside. It’s not easy to play against them.”
Ruben Dias starts immediately for Manchester City at Leeds United
New signing Ruben Dias was named in the starting line up immediately – fitting in alongside Aymeric Laporte – at Elland Road while Ferran Torres made his full Premier League debut for City as Pep Guardiola made just three changes from the side that beat Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Zack Steffen, Fernandinho, and Cole Palmer stepped down and were replaced by Ederson, Dias, and Phil Foden.
Leeds had to make a change because of Jack Harrison’s loan arrangement from Manchester City.
Ezgjan Alioski came in to replace the ineligible Harrison as expected in the only change from their win against Sheffield United.
And City almost had a very bright start when De Bruyne curled a free kick from the left on to the face of the post in the 3rd minute with Leeds having to work very hard from the start.
City won a succession of corners getting closer each time with Dias getting on the end of a free header but heading wide.
Torres had a shot blocked by Stuart Dallas after Sterling’s cutback looked to have teed up the Spanish winger for the opening goal.
But the pressure finally told after 17 minutes when Torres made up for not scoring by by laying in Sterling for a shot that curled inside the back post between a forest of defenders after Leeds failed to clear their lines – his third goal of the season.
Alioski had earlier got in front of Kyle Walker to head over the City goal., while Patrick Bamford fired high in the few chances Leeds got but they slowly got back into the game towards the end of the first half.
Luke Ayling’s cross was gratefully collected by Ederson as City’s workrate dropped off alarmingly just as it did against Leicester City.
City’s attacks had dried up until De Bruyne slid in Sterling for a run on goal on the break but Dallas kept him on his left foot, frustrating him until reinforcements arrived.
Leeds were building well and Ederson saved Dallas’ shot from close range.
Ederson also bailed out Benjamin Mendy after his mistake allowed Luke Ayling to get past him and cut inside and get a shot off in Leeds’ best chance right before half time.
Leeds made a change at half time with Alioski being replaced by former City youth player Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo to make his Premier League bow to target Mendy’s flank.
And he immediately won a corner when his cross was cut out by Dias with Leeds continuing to impress.
Rodrigo cancels out Raheem Sterling opener from a corner
Substitute Rodrigo won a corner and then hit the equaliser after 59 minutes from a Leeds corner, with Ederson failing to claim the ball, which bounced off Mendy, and the Spaniard reacted first to turn the loose ball home from 3 yards out just three minutes and six seconds after replacing Tyler Roberts.
Phillips’ shot was claimed by Ederson though while De Bruyne’s shot was wide of the far post.
Bernardo Silva came on for Torres after 65 minutes as Guardiolas reshuffled, and Mahrez shot side on his right foot.
Liam Cooper’s header came off Rodri’s head and off the post from Phillips’ free kick while Rodrigo’s shot was touched onto the bar by Ederson.
Nathan Ake replaced Mendy with 19 minutes to go as City looked to shore up their left flank and Fernandinho replaced Mahrez as Guardiola went for solidity.
Sterling was sent clear again but decided to cut inside where Ilan Meslier bravely ran out and saved at his feet.
Rodrigo crossed for Bamford but City scrambled the ball clear as both sides went for it.
De Bruyne had a shot blocked while Fernandinho shot wide and Bernardo Silva fired over the bar as City started to get a grip on the game towards the end.
Bernardo Silva and Sterling had penalty claims turned down as City pushed hard in the last minutes.
Bamford was belatedly flagged offside after he appeared to be clean through but hit Ederson with his chance.
And there was almost late drama when Meslier had to save a defensive header from Bamford as City put a cross into the box but both sides had to settle for a point.
GOALS – Leed United 1, Manchester City 1
Man City 1, Leeds Utd 0: 17. Raheem Sterling received a pass from Ferran Torres and cut inside from the left flank, curling in a shot from 15 yards out between a forest of bodies.
Man City 1, Leeds Utd 1: 59. Rodrigo reacted first to the loose ball after Ederson failed to claim a Leeds corner to equalise from 3 yards out.
MATCH STATS – Leed United 1, Manchester City 1
Leeds Utd: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Phillips (C), Costa, Klich (Davis 77), Dallas, Alioski (Poveda-Ocampo 46), Bamford, Roberts (Rodrigo 56)
Leeds Utd Subs not used: Caprile, Llorente, Struijk, Shackleton
Booked: Bamford 12 (foul on Aymeric Laporte)
Goal: Rodrigo 59
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Mendy (Ake 71), Rodri, De Bruyne (C), Torres (Silva 65), Mahrez (Fernandinho 77), Foden, Sterling
Man City Subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Delap, Palmer
Booked: Mendy 36 (foul on Patrick Bamford); Dallas 90+2 (late sliding foul on Bernardo Silva)
Goal: Sterling 17
Referee: Mike Dean