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Leeds fight back to earn thrilling draw against Manchester City

Leeds United v Manchester City – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill)

Rodrigo’s first Premier League goal gained Leeds a deserved point in a pulsating 1-1 draw against Manchester City at Elland Road.

Raheem Sterling’s drilled finish was all City had to show for a dominant first half and Leeds’ club-record £27million signing Rodrigo equalised from close range in the 59th minute.

The Spain striker then saw his header turned on to the crossbar by City goalkeeper Ederson and an earlier shot clipped the crossbar, while Kevin De Bruyne’s early free-kick struck the woodwork.

City had enough chances early in the first half to have put the result beyond doubt, but Leeds grew in both confidence and stature after riding an early storm and created plenty of chances themselves.

It was another thrilling spectacle involving Marcelo Bielsa’s side and a fair result, but Pep Guardiola was left to rue a string of missed first-half chances.

De Bruyne’s curling 30-yard free-kick struck Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s right-hand post in the third minute as City made an impressive start.

Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola watched their teams put on a show

Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola watched their teams put on a show (Paul Ellis/PA)

Robin Koch’s timely block diverted De Bruyne’s drive after Meslier’s mis-placed pass and from the subsequent corner City’s new £62million signing Ruben Dias headed narrowly wide.

Ezgjan Alioski headed Leeds’ first chance over the crossbar, but it was all City in the opening exchanges and there was an air of inevitability about their opening goal.

Benjamin Mendy created the overload down the left and after Liam Cooper failed to clear, Sterling jinked inside Luke Ayling and buried a low shot inside the far post.

Raheem Sterling slots home the opener

Raheem Sterling slots home the opener (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Phil Foden dragged his shot wide from in front of goal after being teed up by Sterling as City chased another goal that would certainly not have flattered them.

But Leeds responded through Patrick Bamford’s diagonal shot after neat interplay between Mateusz Klich and Helder Costa and the home side began to grow in confidence.

Foden fizzed a shot off target, but City were indebted to Ederson in the 36th minute when Stuart Dallas raced into the box after another flowing Leeds move, but his effort was smothered by the Brazilian goalkeeper.

Patrick Bamford is denied by Ederson

Patrick Bamford is denied by Ederson (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

And having ridden the early storm, the home side should have gone in level at the break. Ayling pounced on Mendy’s mistake and Ederson again came to City’s rescue.

Leeds substitute Ian Poveda, on at half-time for Alioski, made an instant impression as his run and cross was turned away by Dias.

Bielsa’s side picked up where they had left off at the end of the first half, with several sweeping moves pushing City on to the back foot.

Rodrigo replaced Tyler Roberts and his shot clipped the top of the crossbar before Leeds hauled themselves level in the 59th minute.

Rodrigo scores for Leeds

Rodrigo scores for Leeds (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Ederson made a hash of his attempt to punch clear Phillips’ corner and Rodrigo turned home the loose ball from close range.

The City keeper made amends soon after when pushing Rodrigo’s goalbound header on to the crossbar as Leeds looked the more likely to find a winner.

Bamford was foiled by Ederson in a one-on-one in the closing stages and then almost won it for City at the death when his header following a corner was held by Meslier.