Football: Master outshines apprentice as Leeds upset Man City

Peter Hall, Reuters

Posted at Apr 11 2021 03:39 AM

Football: Master outshines apprentice as Leeds upset Man City 1
Leeds United players celebrate after their match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain on April 10, 2021. Pool via Tim Keeton, Reuters

MANCHESTER, England - Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola are never short of praise for each other but the master showed the apprentice he can still outthink his protege as 10-man Leeds United beat runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City 2-1 on Saturday.

Spaniard Guardiola has in the past described Bielsa as the best coach in the world, crediting the Argentine with being an inspiration for his style of play.

As Leeds snatched a dramatic last-gasp victory at The Etihad Bielsa showed being so attack-minded can still produce incredible results even against the best team in the country.

"First of all I didn't beat Pep Guardiola," Bielsa said. "This sounds strange to say - it would have been fair if City had won but we deserved to win.

"The reason we deserved to win was because of the belief of the players. The character, the personality, the effort and the fortitude. The value of the victory increases because it was achieved in a game where we were dominated."

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Guardiola made eight changes to his starting XI, with one eye on the second leg of City's Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, with his side holding a 2-1 advantage.

Just as they did in the reverse match earlier in the season, Leeds took the game to City, applying plenty of early pressure to Guardiola's makeshift backline.

The visitors got the breakthrough in the 41st minute through Stuart Dallas and, even after their captain Liam Cooper was dismissed late in the first half, Leeds stood firm, restricting City mainly to shots from distance.

After Ferran Torres levelled with 14 minutes to go, City appeared to be in with a chance of a seventh win in a row in all competitions, but Bielsa's attacking approach never changes, and full-back Dallas raced through to snatch victory.

The result slightly opens the door in the title race for City's second-placed rivals Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in action at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

If they win that and their other game in hand United will be eight points behind City, with six league matches to play.

Despite the defeat, Guardiola did not regret making so many changes to his team.

"Congratulations Leeds first of all, they were excellent," he said. "What happens when you lose a game is you realise how difficult it is what we have done so far, but we played a real good game.

"When I win I am a genius (with team selection), but when I lose, not so much. Against Leeds it’s difficult. I don't have any regrets about the selection. If I did not trust them they would not play." (Reporting by Peter Hall; Editign by Ken Ferris)

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