Erling Haaland scored a brace of goals as Manchester City produced another fine display to beat Leeds United 3-1 at Elland Road and inched closer to table-toppers Arsenal in the English Premier League.
Rodri had put the Citizens ahead in the first half added time while Haaland struck in the 51st and 64th minute to pocket three points for Manchester City. Pascal Struijk (73rd) scored the lone consolation for Leeds.
With this away win, City moved to 35 points from 15 games and are five behind leaders Arsenal, who too made a winning start after the FIFA World Cup break.
The brace of goals meant Haaland notched up his 20th Premier League goal in record time, reaching the milestone in just 14 matches. He improved on the record held by Kevin Phillips, who needed 21 matches to get to the milestone. Others in the list are Fernando Torres (27) and Alan Shearer (29).
Pep Guardiola’s side started superbly, playing some exceptional one- and two-touch football. And they were nearly rewarded for their early efforts, almost ahead inside 40 seconds when Nathan Ake’s fine pass set Erling Haaland free, but Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier denied the striker’s attempted lob with an excellent one-handed save.
Kevin De Bruyne curled an effort wide of the post from just outside the area after being found by Rico Lewis, and the Belgian’s cross was inches away from Ilkay Gundogan’s head who surely would have scored if the ball had been more accurate, according to information published on the club’s official website.
Meslier denied Haaland again on the half-hour mark, rushing from his line to smother the striker who had been put in the clear by De Bruyne, and seconds later Jack Grealish somehow turned the ball over from six yards out after Riyad Mahrez’s superb ball to the back post. City missed many clear chances – and two more went begging in quick succession before the half-time break.
With seconds remaining in the first half, Leeds committed men forward for one of the first times in the half as they went in search of what would have been the ultimate sucker punch. But City won the ball back and produced a slick move that ended with Mahrez’s shot being well saved by the excellent Meslier, only for Rodri to tap home into the empty net.
City’s lead was doubled shortly after the restart when Grealish drove forward and squared for Haaland to bag his 25th goal of the campaign in all competitions. And City soon had a third when Grealish and Haaland linked up to devastating effect once again. Having missed some gilt-edged chances in the first period, Grealish more than atoned with two assists in the second.
Pascal Struijk’s header from Sam Greenwood’s corner reduced the margin and raised Leeds’ faint hope of a comeback, but Man City held firm to secure three points.