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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 21:53 GMT

Keane injury blow for Man Utd

Andy Cole scores Manchester's third goal

Sturm Graz 0-3 Manchester United

Roy Keane is doubtful for Manchester United's game against Southampton on Saturday after suffering a recurrence of his knee injury as he led his side to a 3-0 win over Sturm Graz.

The BBC's Dave Woods: "Man Utd finally put fire into their campaign"
Keane was forced off in the 62nd minute of in their Champions League clash at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium. He had only just returned from a three-week absence for previous knee and hamstring trouble.

Manager Alex Ferguson is hoping Keane will be fit to face Group D leaders Marseille next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, David Beckham was lucky to escape punishment for kicking out at Tomislav Kocijan after the Sturm midfielder obstructed him.

Disciplinary consideration

Referee Alfredo Trentalange took no action at the time and failed to censor the midfielder in his match report.

[ image: Roy Keane celebrates his strike]
Roy Keane celebrates his strike
A Uefa spokeswoman said: "If the incident is included within the referee's match report the matter will be considered by our disciplinary committee."

Keane put United on the road to their first three points of their campaign when he opened the scoring with a rasping 30-yard drive after 16 minutes.

His return was a major boost to Manchester's title defence as he thumped home the first goal against gutsy Austrian opponents who refused to lie down even when their cause was clearly lost.


Sturm Graz started well in front of their highly vocal supporters at Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, making several lively runs at the Manchester goal. For the first quarter of the match the European champions looked to be on the back foot.

[ image: Roman Mahlich takes on David Beckham]
Roman Mahlich takes on David Beckham
Kocijan put Manchester's Raimond Van der Gouw to work early on with a sweetly struck shot from close range. Then a slip up by the keeper minutes later almost conceded a soft goal to the Austrian double winners.

But just as it Manchester seemed to be floundering, their inspirational captain Keane demonstrated the qualities that make him such a valuable asset for Ferguson.

On 16 minutes, Franco Foda fouled Yorke to set up a free-kick on the edge of the box and Beckham struck the ball hard into the Sturm wall.

Keane latched onto the rebound, teeing up the shot and blasting it in off the underside of the bar from 25 yards - with static goalkeeper Kazimierz Sidorczuk clearly thinking it was going over

The Austrians, playing arguably one of the biggest games in their history, were clearly shellshocked and United's confidence soared.

It was 2-0 on 31 minutes as Beckham whipped in a corner from the right and Yorke sneaked in front of his defender to nod it past the flailing Sidorczuk.

Sturm had barely had time to recover when Cole latched onto a through ball from Yorke, beating Ferdinand Feldhofer and tucking the ball under the hapless keeper to make it 3-0 just two minutes later.

Manchester United were on cruise control by the half-time mark and the second half was always going to be a tamer affair than the quick-fire first.

Squandered penalty

Beckham, who was aggressively marked all night, allowed his temper to flare just two minutes into the second 45 minutes as he kicked out at Kocijan.

The fourth official was right on the spot, but failed to draw the matter to the attention of the referee, who in any case seemed reluctant to book anyone.

To their credit, Sturm were outclassed, but stuck to the task in hand and kept attacking Manchester throughout, with half-chances coming for Ivica Vastic and Guenther Neukirchner.

The home side's best opportunity to take a goal away from United came on 54 minutes, with Phil Neville hacking into Kocijan for a penalty.

Vastic stepped up to take the spot kick and duffed it, sending a slow, dribbling shot straight into the arms of Van der Gouw.

Going into the final quarter of the match, the pattern was well settled and Ferguson took off the injured Keane on 62 minutes for Mark Wilson.

The only other negative of the night was Beckham's yellow card for an altercation with Roman Mahlich in the closing minutes of the match, in which for once he seemed entirely innocent.


SK Sturm Graz: Sidorczuk, Feldhofer, Foda, Neukirchner, Martens, Mahlich, Schupp, Prilasnig, Vastic, Kocijan, Strafner. Subs: Schicklgruber, Bochtler, Reinmayr, Korsos, Szabics, Kutsupias, Pantelic.

Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, Neville, Berg, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Cruyff, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Bosnich, Sheringham, Solskjaer, Clegg, Fortune, Wilson, Greening.

Referee: A Trentalange (Italy)

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