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Football: Soccer-Southampton fight back to draw with Leeds

SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters and Joe Aribo canceled out a double from Leeds United’s Rodrigo as the home side roared back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

Leeds looked set for the three points before Walker-Peters and Aribo turned the game on its head with superb strikes to ease the pressure on manager Ralph Hasenhuettl following Saints’ heavy loss at Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend.

“It is the spirit in the team. We were disappointed after the Spurs game, going 1-0 up and then letting the game go like we did,” said right back Walker-Peters.

“So today, going behind, we remembered that feeling and managed to stick to it and turn it around… you have to have faith in your teammates and the system.”

Leeds dominated the early exchanges but it was Southampton who looked more threatening, with Stuart Armstrong and debutant Armel Bella-Kotchap going close.

The visitors were dealt a blow in the 28th minute when striker Patrick Bamford, who missed a chunk of last season due to injury, made way for Daniel James and the Welshman almost had a dream introduction as he forced Gavin Bazunu into a fine save.

Leeds made Southampton pay for a sloppy start to the second half when Rodrigo turned in Jack Harrison’s cross from the left in the 46th minute with a clever finish before adding another on the hour with a header from close range.

Hasenhuettl tweaked his side’s shape and brought on Aribo, Adam Armstrong and Sekou Mara and their impact was instant as Nigerian Aribo pulled one back in the 72nd minute when he finished off a slick team move.

Walker-Peters completed the comeback with a low powerful shot past Illan Meslier after latching onto an excellent pass from debutant Mara, who arrived from French side Bordeaux in the close season.

“We are really disappointed with the result. The game should have ended differently,” said Rodrigo, who was also on target in Leeds’ opening win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“We did everything to leave here with three points. In the last 10-15 minutes we let them react and that is the level of the league. When you slip, the other team has quality. We have to digest this result and start focusing on next weekend.”

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in New Delhi; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)