Manchester United failed to impose their perceived superiority over old rivals Leeds and had to settle for a point from a disappointing draw.

In a game of few chances, Marcus Rashford came closest with a free-kick just before half-time.

But memories of a forgettable encounter on the pitch will remain because of off-field issues.

A plane trailing a banner proclaiming ‘2bn stolen – Glazers out’ flew over Elland Road just before kick-off.

That it was not set up by any of the organised Manchester United supporter groups just underlines the strength of feeling created by this week’s European Super League controversy, fuelling an already negative view of the club’s American owners.

As one of England’s biggest clubs themselves, Leeds will be satisfied at extending their run of home draws against ‘Big Six’ opposition to five, with only Tottenham left to come.

The result means Manchester City will be crowned Premier League champions next weekend if Pep Guardiola’s side beat Crystal Palace on Saturday and second-placed United lose at home to Liverpool on Sunday.’Betrayed’ – visitors made aware of ESL feelings
The visitors were spared the uncomfortable welcome and intense atmosphere normally associated with this fixture but the passions stirred by the thwarted European Super League breakaway were difficult for them to ignore.

A banner, pinned to a railing outside the ground, bore a lengthy statement, which started with the words ‘Don’t let them threaten or bully you any more’ and demanded action against the six clubs.

The match programme included columns from manager Marcelo Bielsa and skipper Liam Cooper, which both condemned the plot.

Chief executive Angus Kinnear called it a ‘betrayal of every true football supporter’ but warned it would be ‘naïve to believe the threat has been extinguished forever’ and that while ‘this week’s battle against elitism may have been won, the ongoing war needs to be relentlessly and vigorously fought’.

With the banner against the Old Trafford ownership being trailed as well and the Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani, plus director of football Victor Orta sporting large white roses – the symbol of Yorkshire – in their lapels, there was enough spice even without the presence of supporters.United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was heavily involved in Super League discussions but was prompted to hand in his resignation due to his dislike of the proposals, was also absent.

It was a surprise therefore, that the contest began in such a lacklustre manner.

Not until the final minutes of the opening period did a breakthrough seem possible, when Illan Meslier tipped a goal-bound Rashford free-kick over and Harry Maguire nodded the resulting corner wide.

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