MANCHESTER – Manchester United fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Leeds in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Substitute Jadon Sancho rescued a point for Erik ten Hag's team, which missed the chance to move level on points with second-place Manchester City.
Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday. It is still waiting for a first win in the league since Nov. 5, but moved a point clear of the relegation zone.
Both teams, however, will feel they missed the opportunity to take more from the thrilling match at Old Trafford.
Leeds stunned the home crowd by taking the lead after just 55 seconds through Wilfried Gnonto and looked on course for victory when Raphael Varane deflected Crysencio Summerville’s cross into his own net three minutes after halftime.
United got back into the game through Marcus Rashford's header in the 62nd and Sancho equalized in the 70th.
But on a night when United was looking to cut the gap on leader Arsenal to five points, it remains seven behind the London club having played two more games.
The double-header against Leeds looked like an ideal opportunity for the hosts to continue their charge toward the top of the table, with the sides facing each other again in the league at Elland Road on Sunday.
Leeds turned up without a manager and without a win in the league for three months.
But under an interim management trio of Chris Armas, Michael Skubala and Paco Gallardo, it threatened an upset against in-form United.
Ten Hag had his own issues to contend with as he tried to cope with a number of key absences including the injured Christian Eriksen and Antony, as well as the suspended Casemiro.
As a result United looked light in midfield and attack, even with loan signing Marcel Sabitzer making his first start since joining from Bayern Munich on transfer deadline day.
Leeds exposed the home team’s frailties almost straight from kickoff with Gnonto firing a low shot past David de Gea at the end of a driving run toward the box inside the opening minute.
United had chances to even the score before halftime, with Alejandro Garnacho rounding Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier before seeing his shot headed off the line by Maximillian Wober. Varane then saw his header saved by Meslier, who pushed another effort from Sabitzer over the bar.
Leeds scored three minutes into the second half when substitute Summerville’s cross was turned in by Varane.
Ten Hag sent on Sancho and Facundo Pellistri in an attempt to mount a comeback and it had the desired effect.
Rashford moved into the center forward position and pulled a goal back with a header three minutes after the changes.
Brenden Aaronson hit the post with a free kick, but Sancho evened the score with a low curling shot through a crowded box.
Varane had another header pushed over by Meslier as the crowd roared United on, but both teams had to settle for a draw.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson