Beating Manchester City with 11 players is next to impossible. That Leeds would deliver the feat with captain Liam Cooper fired in the first half is something only Marcelo Bielsa can do.
Pep Guardiola’s City had won 27 of their previous 28 games and even when Stuart Dallas opened the scoring, they looked pretty good for a comeback as Ferran Torres tied the score at 76 minutes.
The final shot count was 29-2 in City’s favor, but Leeds got incredibly stronger the longer the match lasted. After absorbing pressure non-stop, they joined City to search for the winner in the thrilling final phase.
Leeds United delivered their best performance of the season to take an overwhelming victory over Man City on Saturday
A final strike by Stuart Dallas saw Man City dish out their third defeat in the league in a thrilling match at the Etihad Stadium
The Northern Irishman rides off in a festive manner after scoring the winner for Marcelo Bielsa in a brilliant victory
Leeds captain Luke Ayling celebrates with Ezgjan Alioski as Brazilian forward Raphinha congratulates the winner of the match
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER REVIEWS
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson 6.5: Cancelo 5, Stones 7, Ake 6 (Gundogan 58 6), Mendy 5.5 (Foden 74 6); Silva 6.5, Fernandinho 8, Zinchenko 7; Torres7, Jesus 6, Sterling 6
Subs unused: Steffen (Gk), Walker, Dias, Rodri, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Garcia
Target: Torres 76
Booked: Ake, Silva, Fernandinho
Leeds (4-1-4-1)Meslier 8.5: Ayling 7, Cooper 6.5, Llorente 7, Alioski 7; Phillips 6.5; Raphinha 8 (Shackleton 90), Dallas 9, Roberts 6 (Koch 63 6), Costa 7; Bamford 6.5 (Struijk 45 6)
Subs unused: Casilla (Gk), Poveda-Ocampo, Hernandez, Berardi, Gelhardt, Klich, Shackleton
Target: Dallas 42 and 90
Referee: Andre Marriner 6
Raphina had already missed an opportunity when Leeds goalkeeper Illan Mesllier plucked a Fernandinho header from the air in injury time and began a move that embodied Bielsaball.
He pitched out to left back Ezgjan Alioski who, aware that City could be vulnerable in their own pursuit to score, burst forward with renewed energy. The North Macedonian, who was recently part of a famous victory over Germany, felt another big upset when he played a one-two with Raphinha and played a delightful pass from the center of the park so that Dallas ran on target.
Dallas, whose time on Elland Road predates Bielsa, advanced to Ederson and showed great composure to slide his finish between the goalkeeper’s legs before being harassed by cheering teammates.
It sounds strange to say, but while it would have been fair if City had won, we deserved it because of the character, the personality and the effort. My players showed mental and physical fortitude after losing a man, ‘said Bielsa.
“We always had that spirit and desire within the team to attack when the situation allowed. Dallas with its huge runs. Raphinha with his ability to disturb Helder Costa has made a tremendous effort. ‘
City will come again, although Guardiola will be a little concerned about the performance leading up to Thursday’s Champions League biggie in Dortmund.
Some of the players he brought in, most notably Raheem Sterling, delivered performances that again required roster.
While they still have a good chance of winning the title, Manchester United will play twice before City returns to action in the Premier League and the gap could drop to eight points if Guardiola runs out at Villa Park on April 21.
“A defeat is sometimes necessary to make you realize what we have achieved before,” said a reflective Guardiola. ‘We had opportunities but were not finished. We kept their counter-attacks under control until the last five minutes. But I have incredible confidence in the guys for the next game. ‘
Dallas had put the visitors ahead in the first half, making a quick and clinical move to beat City goalkeeper Ederson
However, Bielsa’s squad was reduced to ten men before the break after Liam Cooper was fired by Andre Marriner
The Leeds defender brought down City striker with a reckless challenge that initially got him a yellow card
Video assistant referee David Coote intervened to advise Marriner to award Cooper a red card instead of a yellow card
Guardiola gambled by leaving big names like Kevin De Bruyne on the couch. In fact, all nine of City’s replacements were full internationals with 321 caps between them.
Leeds was never impressed, even though he was played out at times. They put their bodies on the line and striker Patrick Bamford bravely blocked Gabriel Jesus, while goalkeeper Illan Meslier cemented his growing reputation by kicking Fernandinho’s danger away.
Skipper Fernandinho was in excellent form, climbing past three defenders, but when he came right in front of Raheem Sterling, the English forward went wide.
Leeds bided their time, but always seemed capable on the break, opening the score in style after 42 minutes.
Costa squeezed past Joao Cancelo on the left far too easily and found Bamford on the edge of the penalty area. The attacker cleverly bided his time before rolling the ball into Stuart Dallas’s path.
Premier League leader City had 45 minutes to save the game against the defensively stubborn newcomers to the league
Spanish youngster Ferran Torres eventually tied the score, giving Pep Guardiola 15 minutes to find the winner
Torres collects the ball and marches to the center circle, but City was ultimately on the receiving end of a devastating loss
Dallas then completely cracked home with a drive that beat Ederson through the inside of the left post. “It was our fault,” Guardiola threw angrily.
However, the party in Leeds was cut short when Cooper took on a tough challenge against Jesus and although he won the ball, he caught the Brazilian above the knee with a raised shoe.
Referee Andre Marriner initially signaled yellow, but after being advised by VAR to check his screen, it turned red. While Cooper withdrew, the hapless Bamford was sacrificed so that Bielsa could use Pascal Struijk to strengthen the defense.
City started the second half as if they had been hit by their manager.
Guardiola tweaked his staff with Fernandinho back on the defensive, though he and John Stones were encouraged to push forward and make room for others whenever possible.
Saturday’s defeat is City’s third league loss of the season, which comes at the wrong time for their upcoming European game
The first of the big beasts on the couch was revealed when Ilkay Gundogan was introduced after an hour, quickly followed by Phil Foden.
Another wave of Stones led to Diego Llorente making vital interceptions to prevent Jesus and then Bernardo from equalizing Silva. Zinchekno and Fernandinho were rejected by Meslier diving.
The tying run was a great move by City. Fernandinho kicked a pass to Bernardo Silva in the penalty area and he faced Torres to finish from eight meters. It was the Spaniard’s first Premier League goal since he scored against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
And yet Leeds was not ready yet. The first foot to mislead Fernandinho came after 85 minutes when his misjudgment allowed Raphinha a free run on goal.
The Leeds winger would never get caught for pace and it needed a great tackle from Ederson on his Brazilian compatriot on the edge of the penalty area to prevent the visitors from moving forward unexpectedly.
In a pulsating finish in which both sides were looking for the winner, Bernardo flashed a left-footed ride of 18 meters narrow over the bar. Fernandinho then reached out to meet Gundogan’s cross, but walked into Meslier’s arms. The goalkeeper then got one attack from Leeds that ended with Dallas’ seventh goal of the season to end a crazy day at The Etihad.
It was a case where a master got one over the apprentice while Bielsa took a monumental victory over his former student
Relive Sportsmails live coverage of Leeds’ victory over Man City, brought to you by OLLIE LEWIS.