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The BBC's Alan Green
"They're getting closer by the day to a team that will rival Manchester United"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 13:48 GMT
Owen wastes chance to win it

Berger's free kick: Around the wall and beyond the keeper


Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool

Michael Owen wasted a chance to make a sensational return from injury with an agonising miss just two minutes after coming on as a substitute at Old Trafford.

The England striker looked near to full pace after his latest hamstring problems.

Key moments
15: Solksjaer heads over
27: Berger piledriver gives visitors lead
36: Camara misses second good chance for 2-0
45: Solksjaer equalises deep in stoppage time
79: Owen clear but chips wide
90: Carragher clears from Sheringham
But his finishing was rustier and he curled his 79th-minute shot wide with only United keeper Raimond Van Der Gouw to beat.

United substitute Teddy Sheringham might have won it for United but his close range effort deep in injury time was headed off the line by Jamie Carragher.

Patrik Berger's 30-yard free kick had given Liverpool a 27th-minute lead in the Premiership showdown billed as a title decider.

But Ole Gunnar Solksjaer scored an equaliser deep in first half stoppage time - in controversial circumstances.

The Norwegian had escaped censure for a high challenge on Liverpool's Sami Hyypia and scored while the Finnish defender was off the pitch receiving treatment.

Cole dropped

England strikers Owen and Andy Cole were both named as substitutes, with Solksjaer partnering Dwight Yorke for United.


Keane tries to stop Camara
After an edgy, error-ridden start Solksjaer wasted the first clear chance from a testing David Beckham cross.

The Norwegian lost his marker but also the ball in the late morning sun and headed well over from six yards.

And 12 minutes later Berger gave Liverpool the lead after Erik Meijer was brought down by Jaap Stam 30 yards from goal.

A mix-up between the Dutch defender and the uncertain Mikael Silvestre led to the Czech stepping up to smash the ball with great power around the United wall and into the net.

The goal gave Liverpool plenty of confidence and within ten minutes Berger's header from Song's right wing cross was parried by Van Der Gouw.


Henchoz and Butt locked in combat
Two minutes later the Czech set up Camara whose shot from 10 yards was destined for the net but brilliantly blocked by Stam.

And Liverpool paid for their profligacy - and their decision not to substitute Hyypia until after half-time.

Rigobert Song had already replaced Vergard Heggem due to injury when Solksjaer caught Hyppia with a high challenge.

The referee took no action but the Finn's absence proved expensive as a long ball in the final minute of stoppage time found Ryan Giggs, who crossed for Solksjaer to trap the ball and finish neatly.


Solksjaer controlled neatly and finished sweetly
Hyypia appeared after half-time but after testing the injury was immediately replaced by Danny Murphy as Carragher moved into the back four.

The goal gave United renewed confidence and Song had to clear a Beckham cross as Solksjaer threatened to make it 2-1 soon after half-time.

Liverpool's backline was looking slightly less secure without its Finnish leader although in the battle for midfield control Keane became the first player to be booked for bringing down Hamann.

Livewire Solksjaer could have put United ahead after 63 minutes when he beat the Liverpool defence to a long ball down the left.

But Sander Westerveld took the pace off the ball enough to allow a clearance to be made on the line.

Three minutes later a clever chipped ball by Camara set up Vladimir Smicer whose shot was parried by Van Der Gouw befoire Meijer fired over.


Beckham and Berger enjoyed a midfield tussle
Beckham wasted a free kick he won from the protesting Berger and Giggs fired wide from close range before Owen was introduced with just over 13 minutes left.

Within two of them he was sensationally played clear with only the keeper to beat.

But as most in Old Trafford braced themselves for a fairybook return his shot curled agonisingly wide.

Cole was next to appear followed by Sheringham, and it was the older striker who came closest to a decisive final blow.

But after appearing certain to score Carragher cleared off the line in a dramatic end to the match.

Teams:

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

Liverpool: Westerveld, Heggem, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo, Smicer, Hamann, Carragher, Berger, Meijer, Camara. Subs: Song, Staunton, Owen, Murphy, Nielsen.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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See also:

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.