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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK


Gunners' title hopes spiked

Ian Harte's penalty strikes the crossbar

Leeds 1-0 Arsenal

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink dealt a killer blow to Arsenal's hopes of retaining the Premiership with a winner five minutes from time at Elland Road.


The BBC's Alan Green: "It is now Manchester United's title to lose"
In a match that saw Ian Harte miss a penalty for Leeds and the visitors squander many chances, Arsene Wenger's men could not find the fire to edge past a tough home outfit.

The result puts Manchester United in the box-seat, with Alex Ferguson's side needing just four points from two games to secure their fifth title of the 1990s.

The champions are now reflecting on a match they seemed poised to take control of on several occasions, but which slipped through their fingers with the need for a win creating gaps that David O'Leary's men exploited.

Arsenal threaten

David Batty brought the match to life almost immediately with a volley from 20 yards that went narrowly wide.


[ image: Dennis Bergkamp and Lucas Radebe tussle]
Dennis Bergkamp and Lucas Radebe tussle
Minutes later, Hasselbaink accepted Lucas Radebe's pass down the left wing before hitting a ball across the Arsenal six-yard box that Alan Smith just failed to connect with.

Then it was the turn of Arsenal to threaten, Nicolas Anelka finding himself one on one with Jonathon Woodgate, before dragging his shot wide.

On 15 minutes, Dennis Bergkamp nearly gave the Gunners the lead, his curling right-footed shot saved well by Nigel Martyn.

What seemed like a foul by Patrick Vieira on Smith set up Arsenal's best chance, a counter-attack by Marc Overmars and then Ray Parlour, whose miscued shot trickled past the far post.

An effort from Anelka forced Martyn into another save, while Bergkamp's run ended with a shot past the post.

Seaman save

And the Frenchman then turned creator, playing in Marc Overmars whose shot whistled past Martyn's post.

Arsenal's dominance continued, and Tony Adams forced a reflex save from Martyn after Emmanuel Petit's corner was not cleared.

Kewell produced the first half's most scintillating moment, his 30-yard effort tipped over by an otherwise quiet David Seaman.

But with both teams looking towards the half-time interval, Keown recklessly lunged in on Smith to concede a penalty.

Harte stepped up - but he blasted his kick against the crossbar and Seaman saved Hasselbaink's rebound.


[ image: Ian Harte outjumps Ray Parlour]
Ian Harte outjumps Ray Parlour
Arsenal were lucky not to concede another penalty at the start of the second half when Adams appeared to bring down Smith - but the referee looked away.

A scrappy period continued, with Adams and Smith both booked after expressing their confrontational styles in different ways.

Second substitution

With 25 minutes remaining, Arsenal's Nigerian international Nwankwo Kanu replaced Overmars.

Kanu sparked Arsenal back to life, his interchange with Bergkamp allowing the Dutchman to push past the Leeds defence before forcing a double save from Martyn.

More pressure saw Adams volley Petit's corner a fraction over the Leeds crossbar.

Kaba Diawara became Wenger's second substitution, taking the place of Parlour.

And it was Diawara who came closer than anyone, his volley headed off the Leeds line by Woodgate after another goalmouth scramble.

Headed save


[ image: Wing generals: Harry Kewell and Marc Overmars]
Wing generals: Harry Kewell and Marc Overmars
Play was stopped for some time after Nigel Winterburn suffered a severe head injury from an inadvertent boot by Alfie Haaland.

The stricken Gunners veteran was replaced by Nelson Vivas.

When the game restarted, Batty's floated ball was headed over the bar by the unmarked Smith.

The lively Diawara then made another chance, playing a one-two with Kanu before seeing his shot saved by Martyn.

And it was the same player who saw his header from Vivas' corner skim over the crossbar.

Last push

Arsenal's desperation for a goal saw them take chances and when Adams and Seaman played themselves into trouble, Batty's lob nearly broke the deadlock.

But the winner was not far away, as Kewell tricked and turned Lee Dixon before crossing for Hasselbaink to head home.

Arsenal threw everything forward and Bergkamp seemed to have at last broken their drought, but Woodgate foiled him again.

Six minutes of injury time were played, but Leeds held on - leaving Arsenal to rue a string of missed opportunities.

Leeds: Martyn, Haaland, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Hopkin, Bowyer, Batty, Kewell, Hasselbaink, Smith. Subs: Wetherall, Granville, Robinson, McPhail, Jones.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Keown, Winterburn, Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Bergkamp, Anelka. Subs: Bould, Vivas, Lukic, Kanu, Diawara.
Referee: G Willard (Worthing)




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