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BBC football correspondent Mike Ingham
"Food for thought for Sir Alex Ferguson"
 real 14k

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We'll worry about the goals we lost"
 real 14k

Sunday, 19 August, 2001, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Man Utd floor Fulham
Louis Saha celebrates his first goal
Saha celebrates the opener against Man Utd
Man Utd 3-2 Fulham

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Ruud van Nistelrooy broke Fulham hearts with a double strike to give Manchester United a dramatic win at Old Trafford.

The Londoners, playing in the Premiership for the first time, were twice ahead with early goals in each half from Louis Saha.

But the champions levelled first through a sweet David Beckham free-kick and again when Van Nistelrooy made it 2-2 with 50 minutes gone.

The Dutch striker, a 19m summer signing from PSV Eindhoven, wrapped up the win with his second goal.

  Key incidents
4: Fulham take lead through Louis Saha
11: Saha fluffs golden chance to extend advantage
13: Van der Sar tips over Beckham free-kick
20: Scholes hits post from close range
35: Beckham equalises from free-kick
48: Saha grabs his second to put Fulham ahead again
51: Van Nistelrooy makes it 2-2
53: The Dutch striker scores his second to put United in front
78: United penalty plea rejected after Chadwick felled

Fulham had stunned the home crowd by taking the lead after just four minutes.

Saha, who scored 32 goals in Division One last season, latched onto a searching long through ball from midfielder Sean Davis.

The French frontman held off Gary Neville, controlled the ball beautifully with his left foot and sent a cute lob over the stranded Fabien Barthez.

Fulham nearly went further ahead, but a late lunge from Jaap Stam put off Saha as he looked set to convert a John Collins cross.

Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar, signed from Juventus for 7m, tipped over a dipping Beckham effort, and had the woodwork to thank shortly afterwards.

Giggs created the danger with a dazzling run from inside his own half to the opposition penalty area.

Van Nistelrooy and Silvestre celebrate
Van Nistelrooy celebrates with Silvestre

But from his teasing cross, Van Nistelrooy could not connect and Paul Scholes hammered a shot from six yards against the post.

United did draw level after 34 minutes, with Beckham's curling effort finding the net, although Fulham were unhappy at the free-kick decision.

Fulham started the second period as they began the first, taking the lead again through Saha who sped clear of the defence and drove a low shot past Barthez.

They were only ahead for minutes as Van Nistelrooy pounced to equalise after some hesitation following Andy Cole's overhead pass.

And the Dutchman clinched the points just two minutes later with a tap-in when Fulham failed to clear.


Man Utd: Barthez, Irwin, Stam, Silvestre, Gary Neville, Giggs, Phil Neville, Veron, Beckham, Scholes, Van Nistelrooy. Subs: Carroll, Brown, Chadwick, Cole, Solskjaer.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Melville, Harley, Goma, Finnan, Davis, Malbranque, Goldbaek, Collins, Saha, Hayles. Subs: Taylor, Ouaddou, Symons, Stolcers, Betsy.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)

Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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