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Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 22:54 GMT

Sport: Football

Yorke double keeps United on course

Dwight Yorke heads in for the first of his two goals

Man Utd 2-0 Inter Milan

Dwight Yorke and David Beckham combined twice to keep Manchester United's European Cup hopes very-much alive with a comfortable victory over Inter Milan at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

BBC Radio 5 Live's Mike Ingham reports from Old Trafford
Beckham twice found Inter sleeping to produce inch-perfect crosses to Yorke - who gladly headed home to leave United 2-0 up without reply after the first-leg.

The game had begun somewhat disjointedly, with the United attack pressing one of the best defensive units in Europe.

Beckham v Simeone

Much of the talk before the game had concentrated on the Beckham versus Diego Simeone battle. And fans certainly weren't disappointed.

Beckham's first tackle on the Argentinian - whose actions contributed to his red card during the World Cup - made his intentions evident.

[ image: David Beckham outshone his Argentinian rival]
David Beckham outshone his Argentinian rival
The England midfielder had clearly been targeted by the Italians as the key to the game - and after only seven minutes he showed just why.

After shaving the cross-bar with his first free-kick of the game he then combined superbly with Yorke to give United a dream start to the clash.

It was Beckham's cross that found an unmarked Yorke six yards out and he headed neatly into the net.

Simeone retaliated almost immediately for Inter - hitting a blistering 30-yard shot which curled just to the right of Peter Schmeichel's post.

But United clearly had the upper-hand - pushing Inter back into their half.

Inch-perfect partnership

The Beckham-Yorke combination was undoubtedly causing the Italians problems with their back-line looking particularly shaky.

In contrast the United defence looked settled - closing down Youri Djorkaeff, Ivan Zamorano and Roberto Baggio with ease.

The pace of game soon began to increase - with a poor Old Trafford surface quickly digging up after days of heavy rain.

Ryan Giggs then made a superb break - unusually on the right flank - passing inside to Yorke who blasted the ball - only for it to rebound off Francesco Colonnese

Zamorano and Roy Keane then received the first cards of the match - clearly in disagreement over a Paul Scholes challenge.

It signalled a good period of pressure from United with Andy Cole denied by Gianluca Pagliuca after another excellent Beckham cross.

Inter were surviving on scraps and it was no surprise when Beckham and Yorke combined again in an almost exact replay to push United further in front.

Minutes into injury time, another deep run from Beckham saw him flight the ball perfectly to Yorke who steered it in for his seventh goal in as many European games.

Pace increases

United started where they left off after the break - and should have found a third after only 45 seconds.

A Yorke cross found Giggs unmarked in the Italian area - but the Welshman headed wide of the post.

It was all one-way traffic from United and Inter's first chance arrived with 55 minutes on the clock.

A good break from Fabio Galante found Zamorano clear with only Schmeichal to beat - but the Dane stood his ground to deny Inter a much needed opener.

Despite the brief respite, however, United were rampant.

[ image: Yorke: An unstoppable force for United]
Yorke: An unstoppable force for United
Yorke and Cole made a number of useful breaks - with the England striker denied only by a desperate lunge from Winter in front of an open goal.

But if United thought they could have it all their own way - they were wrong.

Baggio soon began to find more space, winning a corner for the Italians from which Simeone converted with a stunning diving header.

But Inter were called back for pushing by referee Helmut Krug.

It was a dangerous period for United - but it did not last long. Cole, Yorke, Beckham and Giggs all looked dangerous and continually asked questions of the Inter defence.

The visitors failed to give up, however, and were unlucky not to find the all-important away goal in the final minutes.

Nicola Ventol - brought on for Zamorano in the 66th minute - was denied by Schmeichel, before Henning Berg cleared off the line to hand United a clean sheet as they move into the second leg.


Man Utd: Schmeichel, G. Neville, Johnsen, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Yorke, Cole. Subs: Raimond Van Der Gouw, Butt, P. Neville, Blomqvist, Solskjaer, Berg, Brown.

Inter Milan: Pagliuca, Galante, Bergomi, Colonnese, Zanetti, Cauet, Simeone, Winter, Djorkaeff, Zamorano, Baggio. Subs: Frey, Ventola, Ze'Elias, West, Pirlo, Milanese, Gilberto.

Referee: Helmut Krug (Germany)

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