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  Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Beckham inspires Man Utd win
Manchester United midfielder David Beckham is congratulated on his opener by Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes
Beckham scored a screamer to set United on their way
Deportivo La Coruna 0-2 Man Utd
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Manchester United recorded a famous victory over Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League quarter-finals to take a massive stride towards the semis.

It was their first ever away leg win at this stage in the competition - but one overshadowed by the loss to injury of Roy Keane and David Beckham, the victim of a horror tackle by Diego Tristan.

A spectacular 30-yard strike by Beckham had set United on their way and Ruud van Nistelrooy's cool finish inside the area doubled the visitors' first-half advantage.

United should have extended their lead in the second half, but Ryan Giggs wasted two gilt-edged chances to put the tie beyond Deportivo.

  Key incidents
15 mins: David Beckham scores with a blistering 30-yard strike to give United the lead
41 mins: Ruud van Nistelrooy adds United's second
43 mins: Roy Keane is forced off with a hamstring injury
92 mins: Beckham is stretchered off after a bad tackle by Diego Tristan

And with Keane and Paul Scholes, who picked up a booking to rule him out of the return leg, absent from next Wednesday's line-up, Sir Alex Ferguson's side could come to rue those misses.

United soaked up the intimidating atmosphere at the Riazor Stadium, taking the game to the hosts in the early stages.


We defended and attacked as a team - everyone was brilliant
Goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy surprised Jose Molina in the Deportivo goal with a deflected shot that the keeper did well to parry out with bodies in his way.

Giggs menaced the Deportivo defence, drifting from wing to wing in his roving attacking role.

The visitors' sustained pressure was rewarded with a goal on 15 minutes.

Manchester United captain Roy Keane is helped off the pitch
Keane faces a four-week lay-off

Beckham accepted Johnsen's short pass in the centre of midfield, surged forward and sent an unstoppable swerving shot past the stranded Molina.

United deserved their lead, but were forced to weather wave after wave of Deportivo attacks as the home side probed for the equaliser.


I'm very proud of the players - it's a first-class performance
Sir Alex Ferguson

Tristan threatened on several occasions and, but for the excellence of Ronny Johnsen, Mikael Silvestre and Fabien Barthez in defence, could have restored parity.

Nicky Butt was also the source of some timely tackles to thwart the Spaniards.

Then United sprang back into life just before the interval.

Johnsen again provided a simple pass, this time to Silvestre, who delivered the perfect cross for Van Nistelrooy to side-foot home.

Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs
Giggs tormented the Depor defence

Deportivo began the second half in the ascendancy. But the more they surged forward, the more gaps appeared for United to exploit.

The game should really have been over as a contest midway through the second period.

Yet Giggs failed to get enough power behind his shot, which was cleared off the line by Cesar. Molina then made himself big to deny the Welshman from a tight angle.

Deportivo were reduced to speculative long-range shots as they attempted to profit from any possible errors by Barthez.

But the Frenchman and United proved impenetrable, and take a priceless two-goal advantage to Old Trafford.


D Coruna: Molina, Romero, Cesar, Naybet, Scaloni, Sergio, Mauro Silva, Fran, Valeron, Victor, Tristan. Subs: Nuno, Makaay, Djalminha, Capdevila, Pandiani, Duscher, Hector.

Man Utd: Barthez, Silvestre, Johnsen, Blanc, Gary Neville, Giggs, Keane, Butt, Beckham, Scholes, van Nistelrooy. Subs: Carroll, Irwin, Phil Neville, Solskjaer, Forlan, Fortune, O'Shea.

Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton
"A truly excellent performance from United"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We've got a pool of players to cope with the injuries"
Man Utd goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy
"Every individual was at his best"
See also:

02 Apr 02 |  Man Utd
Beckham, Keane hurt in win
Links to more Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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