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  Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Leverkusen hold Man Utd
Oliver Neuville celebrates scoring an equaliser for Leverkusen
Substitute Neuville scored Leverkusen's second
Manchester United 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
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  Photo Gallery: See the match action

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By Howard Nurse at Old Trafford
BBC Sport Online's football editor
line

Manchester United must rekindle the magic of Turin if they are to reach the promised land of the European Cup final in Glasgow next month.

United have a mountain to climb in the second leg of their semi-final after being held to a 2-2 draw by Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.


We're very much still in this cup tie - there will be goals over there, that's for sure
Sir Alex Ferguson
Man Utd manager

Only victory or a high-scoring draw in the BayArena next Tuesday will be enough to fulfil United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's Hampden Park dream.

But United often tend to do things the hard way. Remember three years ago when they conquered Europe?

After cruising past Inter Milan 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, United could only manage a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg of the semis against Juventus.

And they found themselves 2-0 down after just 11 minutes in the second leg before pulling off an amazing 3-2 victory.

Roy Keane was instrumental in that Turin triumph - scoring a brave header to put his side back in the tie. How United need him in Germany next week.

  Key incidents
18 mins: Gary Neville is stretchered off with a suspected broken foot
29 mins: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's shot is deflected in by Boris Zivkovic
62 mins: Michael Ballack scores a deserved equaliser for Leverkusen
67 mins: Ruud Van Nistelrooy puts Man Utd back in front from the spot
75 mins: Leverkusen substitute Oliver Neuville restores parity
There was further bad news for United - and England - with the news that right-back Gary Neville had broken a bone in his foot after a challenge on Ze Roberto.
  Full story of Neville's injury

Keane came on for the final eight minutes against Bayer as Ferguson turned to his fit-again captain for inspiration just three weeks after he tore a hamstring against Deportivo La Coruna.

But the Irishman was unable to give United the advantage against a Leverkusen side which stunned Liverpool in the last round.

United twice took the lead only for durable Bayer to demonstrate exactly why the Bundesliga leaders are chasing the treble.

Once United lost Gary Neville to a David Beckham-style broken metatarsal bone in his left foot, the Reds lacked leadership and direction.

Leverkusen's compact short-passing tactics reaped dividends as United were stifled in midfield and failed to make the most of their first-half chances.

The turning point, claimed Ferguson, was Bayer keeper Jorg Butt's wonder save which prevented Juan Sebastian Veron from firing the home side 3-1 ahead shortly before Oliver Neuville made it 2-2.

Van Nistelrooy celebrates scoring from the penalty spot
Van Nistelrooy scored from the spot
United were sluggish and shapeless at times with Veron unable to repeat the masterly display which tore at the hearts of Deportivo a fortnight earlier.

Paul Scholes, back from a European suspension, and Ryan Giggs also failed to find anything like top form and an upbeat Ferguson rightly pointed out that his side can only play better in the second leg.

Bayer have an excellent home record and are not the type of team to go on the defensive in the return.

That should give United heart. With Keane back in charge and the memories of Turin '99 still fresh in their minds, the Reds should not be written off just yet.


Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville (Phil Neville 18), Blanc, Brown, Silvestre, Veron, Butt, Scholes (Keane 82), Solskjaer, van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Phil Neville (Irwin 87).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Forlan, Stewart, O'Shea.

Bayer Leverkusen: Butt, Zivkovic, Lucio, Nowotny (Sebescen 45), Placente, Ze Roberto, Basturk (Vranjes 77), Ramelow, Ballack, Schneider, Berbatov (Neuville 72).
Subs Not Used: Juric, Babic, Kirsten, Kleine.

Booked: Zivkovic, Ze Roberto.

Att: 66,534

Ref: L Michel (Slovakia).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's John Murray
"Twice the spirited Germans drew level"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"They gave us a torrid time"
Man Utd's Roy Keane
"Bayer deserved the result"
Bayer Leverkusen boss Klaus Topmoller
"I'm very proud"
 VOTE RESULTS
Who will win the Cup?

Barcelona
 4.53% 

Bayer Leverkusen
 5.59% 

Man Utd
 40.39% 

Real Madrid
 49.49% 

44131 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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