Opening day defeat.
Manchester United 5 (Fernandes 30’, 53’, 60’, Greenwood 51’, Fred 68’)
Leeds United 1 (Ayling 48’)
Man Utd XI: De Gea (GK), Lindelof, Maguire (C), Pogba (Martial 75’), Greenwood, Fred, Fernandes, James (Sancho 75’), Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, McTominay (Matic 69’).
Subs not used: Heaton (GK), Mata, Pereira, Dalot, Williams, Van De Beek.
Leeds XI: Meslier (GK), Ayling, Koch, Cooper (C), Bamford (Roberts 77’), Raphinha, Dallas, Rodrigo (Firpo 45’), Struijk, Harrison (Costa 69’), Klich.
Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Forshaw, Phillips, Summerville, Greenwood, Shackleton.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United suffered defeat away at Manchester United on the opening day of the Premier League season. Despite a stunning second half equaliser from Luke Ayling, the Whites were well beaten at Old Trafford.
The first effort on goal arrived inside two minutes. Scott McTominay collected the ball inside the box and looked to beat Illan Meslier, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner. From that set-piece, the ‘keeper was called into action as he punched the ball clear.
Meslier then had to be even more alert with 15 minutes gone. Pascal Struijk’s attempted clearance deflected wickedly off Mason Greenwood and nearly looped into the back of the net, but the ‘keeper went full-stretch to stop the opening goal.
After early pressure on their goal, the Whites did get forward and have a couple of chances of their own. Firstly, Raphinha broke free down the wing, cut inside and saw his effort turned wide. From the following corner, Jack Harrison’s volley was well saved.
Seconds later, Leeds were back up the pitch and this time Mateusz Klich found space. His curling effort was heading in, only for David De Gea to make another solid save. From another set-piece, Raphinha curled a free-kick into the box which then saw Bamford head wide of the post.
The first goal of the match arrived on 30 minutes and went the way of the hosts. Pogba chipped a pass over the top for Bruno Fernandes, who controlled and struck low at goal. Meslier got a foot on it but the ball still found the back of the net.
In what had been a battling half with chances at either end, nothing further of note arrived on either goal before the break, with the home side going in ahead.
HALF TIME: Manchester United 1-0 Leeds United
Bielsa went to his bench at the interval. Junior Firpo was brought on to make his competitive debut for the club, replacing Rodrigo.
Leeds got the dream start to the second half that they wanted. Surging forward from defence and picking up Stuart Dallas’ pass, Ayling struck an unstoppable equaliser beyond De Gea and into the top corner, to level the score.
However, just two minutes later Manchester United went back ahead. Mason Greenwood was picked out by an excellent through ball from Pogba, he then struck low and hard across Meslier and found the back of the net via the post.
Two became three for the hosts very quickly after. Fernandes was the scorer again, picking up the ball inside the area and turning back with the ball, then firing under Meslier. Goal line technology was needed to award it as Ayling looked to clear off the line, but the ball had crossed the line despite the best efforts of the defender.
Fernandes completed his hat-trick on the hour mark, once again finding space in the box before smashing in an unstoppable half-volley beyond Meslier to get the fourth for the home side.
Pogba got his fourth assist of the match by cutting the ball back across goal, where the onrushing Fred was there this time to turn home and make it five.
The Whites kept pushing forward and looked to reduce the scoreline with efforts from Raphinha and Roberts, but ultimately the damage had been done in the second half.
FULL TIME: Manchester United 5-1 Leeds United
Booked: Cooper, Raphinha (Leeds) Shaw (Man Utd)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Venue: Old Trafford