Leeds withstood serious Man City pressure to claim a shock 2-1 win against the champions-elect at the Etihad Stadium – despite losing skipper Liam Cooper to a first-half red card.
City went into the game having won 27 of their last 28 games, meaning it was already a tall order for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. But even with 10 men, United defied the odds to keep City at bay – and then found the strength of character to win it thanks to two Stuart Dallas goals.
It was the Leeds United who made the brighter start, with Raphinha getting in behind Ben Mendy and pulling the ball. However, the cross was just behind leading scorer Patrick Bamford and he was just unable to adjust.
City though began to find their stride, with Raheem Sterling having the game’s first shot on target. Liam Cooper then made an excellent block to keep out Ferran Torres’ shot after the ball fell kindly for him in the area.
Fernadinho’s low cross then saw Illan Meslier sweep the ball clear with his legs following an piercing John Stones pass. Torres then found space in the area following Oleksandr Zinchenko’s free-kick, but he was unable to keep his header on target.
City then created the best opening of the half when Fernandinho’s ball picked out Sterling but he dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.
However, it was Leeds who took the lead in the 41st minute through a fine Dallas finish. The goal was created after Helder Costa’s persistence found Patrick Bamford. He laid it off to Dallas who drilled a low 18-yard shot past Ederson that went in off the post.
Leeds’ joy, however, was short lived. Just 90 seconds later, they found themselves down to 10 men when Liam Cooper was sent off. The United skipper was dismissed after a VAR review following a tackle on Gabriel Jesus. While Cooper won the ball, he was dismissed for what was adjudged ‘dangerous play’ after catching Jesus on the follow-through. That said, it looked a very harsh decision and one which forced a reshuffle with Bamford going off with Pascal Struijk brought on.
City second-half onslaught
City made a bright start to the second half with Stones forcing a free-kick which Zinchenko fired into the wall.
Zinchenko’s first drive then produced a solid diving save from Meslier, who did well to pounce on the loose ball.
Bernardo Silva then rifled a powerful volley inches wide as the ball fell kindly, while Stones warmed Meslier’s palms.
That was the cue for wave after wave of City attacks. Meslier then pushed over a Fernandinho drive, while Joao Cancelo also tried his luck.
City eventually fashioned an equaliser after 76 minutes. That came when Torres swept the ball past Meslier from 12 yards after Silva’s lay-off. It was the Spaniard’s ninth of the season.
With only 10 men it looks like Leeds have won at the Etihad!
Incredible scenes. pic.twitter.com/LI24QSgt7u
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 10, 2021
Leeds enjoyed a rare break with Raphinha one on one with Ederson. However, it was the keeper who came out on top with a sliding tackle on his countryman.
But the best was yet to come in the 89th minute when Gjanni Alioski’s sublime throughball played in Dallas. The Northern Irishman then rolled the ball under Edersen to earn Leeds an incredible victory and spark jubilant scenes.
City finished the game having had 29 shots, while Leeds had just two – both of which resulted in goals.