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Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Man Utd's amazing comeback
Juan Veron is mobbed by his Man Utd team-mates after scoring the crucial goal
Juan Veron's goal clinched a stunning turn-around
Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United

Champions Manchester United staged a magnificent comeback to overwhelm Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Spurs had been 3-0 up at half time after outplaying their opponents.

Dean Richards made a dream start to his Tottenham career by scoring the early opener on his debut and Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege added further goals.

At the break Richards must have thought he had joined one of England's top teams - but 45 minutes later he would have been under no such illusions.

I'm not saying exactly what I said to them at half time - why am I always asked that?
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
United were a transformed side after the interval and simply swept Tottenham aside.

Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham scored as United completed a remarkable comeback.

Tottenham fully deserved their interval lead. The White Hart Lane faithful cannot have seen a finer 45 minutes from their side in many years.

Their five-man midfield dominated United's quartet and Ferdinand and Sheringham were a constant threat in attack.

And 8m signing Richards made a fabulous start to his debut as Tottenham restricted United to speculative efforts.

He marked Ruud van Nistelrooy adroitly and scored after only 15 minutes with a close-range header from a Ziege corner.

Dean Richards celebrates scoring on his Tottenham debut
Dean Richards scored on his Tottenham debut
Tottenham were soon 2-0 up. Poyet chipped the ball over United's static defence and Ferdinand spun past Blanc as the Frenchman vainly tried to play offside.

Ferdinand kept his cool to score with a low drive past Fabien Barthez in the United goal.

The crowd were cheering every Tottenham pass by the time the third goal went in.

Poyet was again the provider, picking up a clever Freund pass before delivering a sublime right-wing cross that Ziege dived to head home from six yards.

Yet United, doubtless motivated by a typically forthright half-time reprimand from manager Sir Alex Fergsuon, were sensational in the second half.

Mikael Silvestre came on to inject pace down the left side, in place of Denis Irwin, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Butt as United played with three up front.

A great game? I can't take much comfort from that because I've got to look at my own team and we're in the business of trying to win football matches
Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle
The visitors pulled back a goal within a minute of the restart with a Cole header from Beckham's cross.

United were showing far more urgency and purpose and added another when Blanc outjumped Ledley King to head a Beckham corner home.

Tottenham, so assured in the first-half, were now looking jittery.

Van Nistelrooy scored the equaliser with yet another headed goal before Scholes and Solksjaer combined to play in Veron, who shot left-footed past Sullivan.

The culmination of a magnificent United comeback came three minutes from time.

England captain Beckham struck an imperious right-footed shot past Sullivan from just inside the area.

Tottenham: Sullivan, Richards, King, Perry, Taricco, Ziege, Freund, Anderton, Poyet, Ferdinand, Sheringham. Subs: Keller, Rebrov, Thelwell, Davies, Etherington.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Irwin, Johnsen, Blanc, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, Veron, Cole, van Nistelrooy. Subs: Carroll, Chadwick, Solskjaer, Phil Neville, Silvestre.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).

BBC Sport's John Motson
"The comeback was colossal"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"The second-half we played with determination"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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