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Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK


Cruyff saves Man Utd

Jordi pulls the equalising trigger

Man United 1-1 Wimbledon

The depth of resources available to Sir Alex Ferguson was highlighted as the forgotten man of Old Trafford, Jordi Cruyff, saved his side's blushes.


The BBC's Ron Jones: "Lucky certainly for Manchester United"
The Dutchman scored with 17 minutes remaining, after the Dons had sensationally taken the lead with 16 gone.

Israeli Walid Badir was allowed to open the scoring unmarked after a defensive error from United's Frenchman Mikael Silvestre on his home debut.

Some of United's players may have been suffering a European hangover, although not all had this excuse, with David Beckham and Andy Cole on the bench.

Denis Irwin lined up at right-back, with Phil Neville and Dwight Yorke in midfield and Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer up front.

Dons delight

Wimbledon started the brighter, creating the first chance after four minutes, and getting their reward when Carl Cort beat Silvestre on the left.

He pulled the ball back for the unmarked Badir to slot home his first goal for the Crazy Gang.


[ image: Stam found Badir a handful]
Stam found Badir a handful
Ryan Giggs then limped out of the game to be replaced by Cruyff, and after half an hour United began to increase the pressure.

It reached boiling point by half time as United missed a string of chances.

Sheringham and Yorke both blasted wide before the West Indian mis-directed a free header from inside the six yard box, and Neil Sullivan had to dive at full stretch to keep out a Paul Scholes effort from 25 yards.

The second half saw United continue to press, with Kenny Cunningham appearing to bring down Scholes on the edge of the area, although nothing was given.

Silvestre fired over from 25 yards out, while Scholes tried to release Neville down the right only for Ben Thatcher to beat the United midfielder to the ball.

Wimbledon, with a poor defensive record this season, seemed happy to soak up pressure, leaving John Hartson alone up front.

Twice they almost almost caught United napping on two occasions but Cort was denied by Massimom Taibi and the Isreali shot into into the side netting.

Jordi saves the day

In contrast to the siege of the Wimbledon goal just before half time United were now struggling to create chances, and with 20 minutes to go, Cole replaced Solksjaer.

Poor control let the substitute down when he finally created an opportunity, but Cruyff made no such mistake.

The Dutchman ran from midfield, and played the ball to Scholes, whose first time return was taken around Sullivan and slotted home by Cruyff.

There was a hint of offside about the former Barcelona player's position, but the visitors' appeals were to no avail.

After that United pressed for a winner, but the impressive Dons had more chances on the break, and will be more than happy with their afternoon's work.

Teams:

Man Utd: Taibi, Irwin, Berg, Stam, Silvestre, Neville, Scholes, Giggs, Solskjaer, Sheringham, Yorke. Subs: Bosnich, Cruyff, Wilson, Wallwork, Cole.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Blackwell, Andersen, Thatcher, Badir, Roberts, Euell, Gayle, Cort, Hartson. Subs: Davis, Kimble, Earle, Jupp, Leaburn.

Referee: R Harris (Oxford)





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