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  Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Beckham injury mars Man Utd win
United players celebrate Solskjaer's opening strike
United players celebrate Solskjaer's opening strike
Man Utd 3-2 Deportivo La Coruna
(United go through 5-2 on aggregate)

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Manchester United celebrated Sir Alex Ferguson's 100th European game in charge in style by clinching their first Champions League semi-final in three years.

Two trademark finishes from substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a sublime individual goal from Ryan Giggs booked the Premiership champions a date with Liverpool's conquerors Bayer Leverkusen in a fortnight.

But United's victory was again tarnished by an injury to David Beckham, with the England captain suffering a broken bone in his foot.

It has been a torrid time for us with injuries in these games, but we still showed the appetite to play.
Sir Alex Ferguson

An estimated eight-week absence will almost certainly rule him out of the remainder of the Reds' Premiership and European campaigns, and puts his World Cup participation in jeopardy.

The victim of Diego Tristan's reckless tackle last week in Spain, Beckham was scythed down in the 16th minute by Pedro Duscher, who later became one of two Depor players sent off.

Lionel Scaloni was also dismissed in the second half as United made light of Beckham's absence to move into the last four for the first time since their Champions League triumph in 1999.

United had never lost a home game in Europe by more than one goal, and history was on their side.

Only four teams in the history of the European Cup had lost the first leg and gone on to win the tie.

Barthez dives at the feet of Tristan early on
Barthez dives at the feet of Tristan early on
Without injured captain Roy Keane and the suspended Paul Scholes, Juan Sebastian Veron turned in a timely display of midfield virtuosity alongside Nicky Butt.

Ironically, Beckham's early departure brought Solskjaer into the fray, and the Norwegian showed his renowned predatory instincts within two minutes of his arrival.

After 23 minutes, Veron curled a free-kick into the danger zone from the left flank and Solskjaer met it with a prod of his right foot for his 23rd goal of another productive season.

Ruud van Nistelrooy, who earlier had a clear sight of goal from Veron's pass over the top, might have doubled the advantage five minutes later, but the Dutchman's effort was deflected wide.

United were forced into a second substitution before the interval when Ronny Johnsen, nursing a hamstring strain, was replaced by Wes Brown at the heart of the defence.

They had enjoyed an early chance when Quinton Fortune, making a rare European start, had a sight of goal only for Deportivo keeper Francisco Molina to turn the winger's volley round a post.

And United were grateful to their own keeper, Fabien Barthez, in the 12th minute as the Frenchman dived at the feet of the dangerous Diego Tristan.

Giggs tussles with Deportivo's Lionel Scaloni
Giggs tussles with Deportivo's Lionel Scaloni

Deportivo, needing four goals to progress, kept the door ajar when Laurent Blanc inadvertently turned Fran's cross into his own net a minute before half-time.

Even then Van Nistelrooy might have put United back in front moments later when he headed wide from Ryan Giggs' pinpoint cross.

But Solskjaer restored United's three goal cushion within 10 minutes of the restart, moving onto Veron's sublime through ball to drill a left-footed shot under Molina.

And Deportivo's hopes all but disapeared in the 58th minute when Scaloni was dismissed for dissent, after Duscher escaped with only a yellow card for ploughing through Van Nistelrooy.

But it soon became red after a blatant trip on Butt reduced the vistors to nine men after 74 minutes.

By then Giggs had already added the gloss finish, leaving one defender on his backside and drifting inside another before dispatching a left-footed shot past Molina.

Van Nistelrooy might have produced a bigger margin of victory when his header hit the bar, and Djalminha's deflected free-kick in the final minute was an irrelevance.


Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Blanc, Johnsen, Silvestre, Beckham, Butt, Veron, Fortune, Giggs, van Nistelrooy.
Subs: Carroll, Irwin, Phil Neville, Solskjaer, Forlan, Brown, Stewart.

D Coruna: Molina, Scaloni, Naybet, Hector, Romero, Victor, Duscher, Djalminha, Fran, Valeron, Tristan.
Subs: Nuno, Makaay, Amavisca, Emerson, Capdevila, Pandiani, Jose Manuel.

Referee: Markus Merk (Kaiserslautern)

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"It was victory tinged with sadness"
United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
"It's a relief to go through"
Links to more Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.


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