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Saturday, September 25, 1999 Published at 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK

Taibi's Old Trafford nightmare

Sheringham scored but United's defending was poor

Manchester United 3-3 Southampton

A dreadful goalkeeper error from United's Massimo Taibi helped Saints take a point from Old Trafford.

The BBC's Steve Wilson: "Manchester United should have won and could easily have lost"
United were leading 2-1 when the Italian goalkeeper let Matthew Le Tissier's weak shot dribble underneath his body.

The visitors had taken a first half lead before Teddy Sheringham and Dwight Yorke ensured that United went into the break ahead.

They were cruising in second half when Taibi's horrendous blunder allowed Southampton back into the match.

Le Tissier scuffed a 25-yard shot and had turned away in disgust when Taibi allowed the ball to wriggle through his arms, under his body and then trickle over the line.

Jealous rival

The mistake will intensify the battle for Number One spot between Taibi and goal-keeping rival Mark Bosnich, who was watching from the bench.

Taibi could have suffered even more recriminations had he not stuck out a boot to deny Southampton substitute James Beattie a sensational last-minute winner.

Southampton had lost their last 10 league games at Old Trafford and could hardly have expected to hit three at the Manchester fortress.

But Marian Pahars gave them an early lead when he nutmegged Jaap Stam before slotting the ball home past Taibi, who this time was not at fault.

The goal rocked Old Trafford but United did not falter and Teddy Sheringham scored a deserved equaliser on 34 minutes when he tucked home a David Beckham cross from the right.

Complete control

Three minutes later Sheringham helped put his side ahead. Saints keeper Paul Jones saved his header but the England striker collected the loose ball and crossed from the left for Yorke to nod home from two yards.

United were completely in control, Sheringham and Solskjaer coming close to extending the lead, when Taibi dropped his clanger to make it 2-2

Dwight Yorke appeared to have made the error irrelevant when he fired home right-footed from 12 yards out to restore United's lead.

But the Saints snatched a point when half-time substitute Le Tissier hit Pahars' low cross first-time past Taibi.

There were still 16 minutes to go and United poured forward in search of the winner - Yorke coming close with an overhead kick and Paul Scholes blasting over the bar.

But for once there was to be no last-gasp winner from United and they stay just two points ahead of Premiership chasers Leeds and Arsenal.

Man Utd: Taibi, Irwin, Stam, Berg, Silvestre, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, Solskjaer, Yorke, Sheringham.
Subs: Bosnich, Wilson, Cruyff, Neville, Fortune.
Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, Richards, Benali, Ripley, Soltvedt, Oakley, Kachloul, Pahars, Hughes.
Subs: Moss, Beattie, Marsden, Colleter, Le Tissier.
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)

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