Leeds United 1, Manchester City 3
Rodri broke the deadlock and Erling Haaland scored twice as Manchester City went back up to second in the Premier League with a battling 3-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road.Embed from Getty Images
The Norwegian was dominant back in the City of his birth and should really have left Elland Road with another match ball – he had to be content with a brace instead.
Despite dominating most of the first half, City couldn’t make the breakthrough even with well over 70% of the possession on a pitch that looked a bit choppy.
Fit again Ilian Messier pulled out the stops to repeatedly deny City who saw chances by Erling Haaland thwarted amongst a plethora of shots by City players.
From 16 shots in the first half only five were on target for City with Jack Grealish guilty of some glaring misses in front of goal – the worst of which was from an assist by Rico Lewis – getting barracked throughout the game for his lack of cutting edge and his reputation for going down easily.
Pep Guardiola gave full back Lewis fulsome praise after his performance against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup last weekend and he was occupying midfield again and helping City move Leeds around.
Eventually, the floodgates opened when Leeds overcommitted after seeing a gap open but instead City pounced on an error and Rodri scored his first goal of the season after Ilian Meslier saved from Riyad Mahrez as the game went into first half injury time.
It was business as usual in the second half as City kept the ball moving with Leeds bewildered – Liam Cooper gave the ball away and Grealish got his revenge on the boo boys – breaking free and unselfishly squaring the ball for Erling Haaland to score his 25th goal of the season in only 20 appearances just 6 minutes into the second half.
And after 64 minutes City struck again through and Haaland had his 20th Premier League goal in just 14 appearances which is 7 faster thann Kevin Phillips – after Kevin De Bruyne drove through midfield and the big Norwegian exchanged passes with Grealish before finishing with ease.
Lewis and Grealish were given rests for Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden and City lost some of their momentum as Leeds finally managed to get the better of City from a set piece with their only shot on target.
Pascal Struijk reduced the deficit with a firm header from a Sam Greenwood corner with 17 minutes to go with Manuel Akanji leaving Ederson exposed and Meslier came out quickly to deny Haaland his hat trick as City looked to put the game to bed.
Leeds Substitute Joe Geldhardt beat Rodri to the ball but fired inches wide as the home side tried to pull another goal back with just over 10 minutes to go.
But City were comfortable and Cole Palmer was their last change of the night – replacing Riyad Mahrez.