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Sunday, April 25, 1999 Published at 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK

Cole comes to Man Utd's rescue

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scores the opener for Leeds

Leeds 1-1 Manchester United

Andy Cole gave Manchester United a second-half championship life-line against Leeds, after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had opened the scoring for the home side.

BBC Radio 5 Live's Alan Green reports from Elland Road
The Dutch striker had put Leeds ahead in the 32nd minute after a fine pass from Harry Kewell split the Manchester defence.

Elland Road boss David O'Leary - who signed a new five-year deal before the game - watched an assured display from his young side but the visitors never gave up and did enough to earn a point.

[ image: Andy Cole provides the finishing touch after 55 minutes]
Andy Cole provides the finishing touch after 55 minutes
Cole knocked in the equaliser 10 minutes into the second-half after good work from midfield battlers Roy Keane and Nicky Butt.

It was the 50th goal from Cole-Dwight Yorke partnership during Manchester United's treble-chasing season.

They needed all three points to regain the lead of the Premiership after Arsenal's demolition of Middlesbrough on Saturday put the north London side on top for the first time this season.

The draw means Alex Ferguson's side are now one point behind the Gunners with a game in hand.

Bright start

'I didn't think it was a great game' - Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson
Lee Bowyer missed the first chance of the game for the home side after a fine cross from Kewell.

But the other United had their own chance to score only minutes later. After a David Beckham corner, Keane confused the Leeds defence and David May had a perfect opportunity to fire in from inside the six-yard box. He stretched but Nigel Martyn in the Leeds goal managed to get a foot to the weak shot.

[ image: Dwight Yorke skips over a challenge from Jonathan Woodgate]
Dwight Yorke skips over a challenge from Jonathan Woodgate
Cole stabbed at the follow-up but Leeds cleared after the desperate scramble.

Play switched from end-to-end at a swift rate, with both sides offering pace and variety without actually having the killer touch.

With nearly half an hour gone, Leeds youngster Alan Smith had the best chance of the game. Kewell went on one of his trademark runs, blitzed past three defenders and fed Smith. The teenager had time and space but skewed his shot wide of Peter Schmeichel and the post.

'I felt we were always a threat' - Leeds manager David O'Leary
At this stage Manchester United seemed unable to hold onto possession and the next chance of the the game fell to Hasselbaink.

But he showed more composure than his team-mate Smith and finished clinically after another pin-point through-ball from Kewell had beaten Wes Brown in the centre of defence.

Cole keeps his cool

At the start of the second period, Ferguson's men forced themselves back into the game.

Keane swung a cross to the far post, Butt headed towards goal and Martyn had to save. The ball popped out and Cole made no mistake with his finish.

[ image: Leeds celebrate Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's goal]
Leeds celebrate Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's goal
The chances kept on coming for both sides, Smith, Kewell and Hasselbaink going close for Leeds, while Yorke and Jesper Blomqvist had opportunities to snatch a winner for the visitors.

Right at the death, Yorke was presented with a gilt-edged chance to capture all three points and put the Manchester outfit back on the top of the table - but after a fine run he blasted over the bar.

Manchester United remain favourites for the title after earning a point from one of their trickiest fixtures - but the spectre of Arsenal is now firmly on Alex Ferguson's shoulder.


Leeds: Martyn, Jones, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bowyer, Batty, McPhail, Kewell, Hasselbaink, Smith. Subs: Wetherall, Ribeiro, Wijnhard, Halle, Robinson.

Man Utd: Schmeichel, G. Neville, Brown, May, Irwin, Beckham, Butt, Keane, Blomqvist, Yorke, Cole. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Scholes, Sheringham, P. Neville.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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