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The BBC's Alan Green
"What a treat, what a wonderful game of football"
 real 28k

Saturday, 18 December, 1999, 17:14 GMT
Man Utd run riot

yorke Man Utd celebrate Yorke's opener

West Ham 2-4 Manchester United

Manchester United emerged from their self-imposed 10-day exile from domestic action to secure a hard-earned victory over West Ham in a breathtaking encounter at Upton Park.

Dwight Yorke's first goal in two months gave the visitors the lead after 10 minutes and then a double strike by Ryan Giggs - the second a majestic volley - looked to have wrapped up the game before Paolo di Canio pulled a goal back on 25 minutes.

Match facts
9 mins: Dwight Yorke opens the scoring
13 mins: Ryan Giggs taps in
19 mins: Giggs blasts his second
23 mins: Paolo Di Canio grabs a life-line
52 mins Di Canio grabs his second
62 mins: Yorke reaches a fine Giggs cross
Another goal from the Italian immediately after the break dragged the Hammers back into the game and Di Canio could have secured a third.

Instead, however, it was United who surged further ahead, after Yorke converted a Giggs cross to seal a convincing win.

West Ham will want to forget the opening half-an-hour. At the back they were utterly overwhelmed and seemed patently unable to cope with United's many attacking forays.

So much so that after 21 minutes the home side found themselves 3-0 down.

Nightmare start

The much-vilified Beckham created the opener after just 10 minutes.

The midfielder curled in a trademark cross from the right flank straight to the unmarked Yorke, who had no trouble heading past keeper Shaka Hislop.

It was a nightmare start for the Hammers, but worse was to come.

beckham David Beckham: Vilified by the West Ham fans
Just three minutes later the entire West Ham defence stood and watched as Yorke crossed for Giggs to toe-poke the ball home from just a couple of yards out.

At 2-0 down, the West Ham faithful may have been forgiven for thinking their entire team was asleep - and after a piece of individual brilliance from Giggs the game looked over almost before it had begun.

Yorke had twisted and turned inside the penalty area only for his shot to be blocked. But the ball fell to the Welsh winger 25 yards out and he hit a first time volley which rifled past Hislop into the net.

The home fans started chanting "what a load of rubbish" but they were handed a life-line on 25 minutes when Lomas' long-range free-kick was headed across goal by Neil Ruddock. Di Canio volleyed home under keeper Raimond Van Ver Gouw.

Neville on

The considerable depth of United's squad was yet again shown at half-time when England international Phil Neville came on to replace Denis Irwin at left back.

But for all of the United pressure, West Ham somehow managed to strike back on 52 minutes when Di Canio beat the offside trap and sold an outrageous dummy to go past Van der Gouw and shoot into an empty net.

It started a fine spell from the home side, who pushed United back into their own half, attacking the goalmouth at every opportunity.

Di Canio had a superb opportunity to secure his hatrick after an excellent ball through from Keller. But the Italian tried to do just too much, with Van Der Gouw clinging onto his eventual attempted lob.

In response, United proved deadly. Giggs outpaced West Ham at the back and found Yorke who pushed the visitors further in front.

From that point on West Ham never looked like responding. Harry Reknapp will have something to say to his back four.


West Ham:Hislop, Ruddock, Ferdinand, Minto, Sinclair, Foe, Lampard, Lomas, Keller, Di Canio, Wanchope. Subs: Forrest, Kitson, Margas, Newton, Angus.

Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, G. Neville, Silvestre, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Sheringham, Yorke. Subs: Taibi, Berg, Butt, P. Neville, Solskjaer.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield)

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