Manchester City 2, Leeds Utd 1
Ilkay Gündoğan scored a brace as an under-par Manchester City narrowly beat Leeds United following a late Rodrigo consolation.
City made life hard for themselves after Gundogan scored twice in a one sided first half but they took their foot off the pedal and although they hit the woodwork twice they let Leeds pull a late goal back through Rodrigo for a nervous finish after the German missed a penalty for his hat trick.
The stage was set for City to go clear and perhaps rest some players with a trip to Real Madrid coming on Tuesday.
But they were wasteful in the second half and when Phil Foden was brought down by Pascal Struijk after 83 minutes Haaland generously gave the ball to Gundogan to get his first hat trick for the club but the German hit the post with his spot kick.
Pep Guardiola was furious after indicating that he had wanted Haaland to take the penalty but was even angrier when City compounded that wobble by conceding a goal straight afterwards.
Leeds went up the other end and Manuel Akanji’s attempted headed clearance was charge down by Rodrigo who halved the deficit late on after going past the Swiss defender.
Fortunately, City managed to win their tenth straight Premier League game to go 4 points clear of Arsenal but there was no margin for error as Bernardo Silva and Rodri had to come on and Nathan Ake went off injured.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester City 2, Leeds Utd 1
Ederson: 6. Refreshed and back in the fray. Saved from Weston McKennie’s header from a set piece corner. Eccentric run from his area to head clear a long ball.
Rico Lewis: 7. Playing the inverted right full back – he helped Ilkay Gundogan form a double pivot. Switched to left back after Nathan Ake went off. Almost set up a great goal for Erling Haaland.
Manuel Akanji: 6. Good aggressive defending for City but blotted his copybook with a poor attempt to clear the ball with his head which was charged down by Rodrigo who went on to score.
Aymeric Laporte: 6. Some much needed match practice.
Nathan Ake: 7. Solid defending until he had to go off injured.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8. Deep role but still able to spray passes around relatively unhindered and scored the opening goal. Could have created the second but Erling Haaland drove his shot wide.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7. Some searching balls forward and his deft flick deserved a better finish from Erling Haaland. Painful foul by Marc Roca had the bench worried.
Julian Alvarez: 7. Had a shot blocked on the line by Max Wober and another saved by Joel Robles. Tried to set up Erling Haaland but was offside in the second half.
Riyad Mahrez: 8. Laid on the first goal and could have had another but dropped his chip on top of the netting. Instead he set up Gundogan again with a carbon copy assist and later had a free kick saved by Robles. Missed a chance to get his first hat trick for City by striking a penalty against the inside of the post after he was gifted the ball by Erling Haaland.
Phil Foden: 7. Some tricky footwork in the first half. Had a shot saved by Joel Robles and found plenty of space on the left. Brought down by Pascal Struijk to earn a penalty which should have put City 3-0 up.
Erling Haaland: 6. First effort saved by Joel Robles, tackled by Max Wober as he went to pull the trigger after De Bruyne set him up. Headed against the crossbar but was offside anyway. Headed a cross straight at Robles and shaved the post with a shot in the second half. Although he was kind enough to give the ball to Ilkay Gundogan when Phil Foden won a penalty – he drew the ire of his boss after the German missed.
Kyle Walker (on for Nathan Ake, 54): 6. Slotted in at right back, no real need to chase the game but City needed his pace to help stop the occasional Leeds counter attack.
Bernardo Silva (on for Julian Alvarez, 87): No time to mark.
Rodri (on for Ilkay Gundogan, 90+3): No time to mark
GOALS – Manchester City 2, Leeds Utd 1
Man City 1, Leeds Utd 0: 19. Ilkay Gündoğan drove home the opener from 18 yards out after a cut back from Riyad Mahrez. His 6th goal of the season.
Man City 2, Leeds Utd 0: 27. Ilkay Gündoğan did the same move to score City’s second. After another cutback by Riyad Mahrez the German stuck the ball to the other side of Joel Robles for variety.
Man City 2, Leeds Utd 1: 85. Rodrigo charged down an attempt to clear the ball by Manuel Akanji with his head, he went on to score at the near post.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 2, Leeds Utd 1
Man City: Ederson, Lewis, Akanji, Laporte, Ake (Walker 54), Gundogan (Rodri 90+3), De Bruyne, Alvarez (Bernardo Silva 87), Mahrez, Foden, Haaland
Man City Subs not used: Ortega, Dias, Phillips, Stones, Grealish, Gomez
Goals: Gundogan 19, 27
Leeds Utd: Robles, Kristensen, Wober, Firpo, Ayling, Roca (Greenwood 58), Forshaw (Struijk 80), Harrison (Summerville 65), McKennie, Gnonto (Rodrigo 58), Bamford (Aaronson 80)
Leeds Utd Subs not used: Meslier, Koch, Rutter, Gray
Bookings: Gnonto 45+2 (foul on Riyad Mahrez); Rodrigo (foul on Kevin De Bruyne 71); McKennie 90+2)
Goal: Rodrigo 85
Referee: Andy Madley