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Saturday, 14 September, 2002, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Leeds punish Man Utd
Leeds' Harry Kewell rises heigh to head home the winner
Kewell rises unmarked to head in Leeds' winner
Leeds 1-0 Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand endured a tortuous return to Elland Road as his former club Leeds took their revenge on Manchester United.

Outplayed in the first half, Leeds hit back after the interval and Harry Kewell's headed winner proved the difference.

Ferdinand, whose 30m move across the Pennines incurred the wrath of Leeds fans, was booed every time he touched the ball.

Yet when his new team needed him most, Ferdinand was nowhere to be seen as Kewell darted into the visitors' area to score.

  Key incidents
22 mins: Beckham elbows Bowyer but escapes without caution
25 mins: Solskjaer is fouled in the Leeds area by Woodgate
50 mins: Paul Robinson makes a brilliant one-headed save to deny Van Nistelrooy
66 mins: Harry Kewell heads Leeds into the lead

Leeds again owed a huge debt for their victory, their first in 10 attempts against United, to goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who pulled off a series of superb saves.

And Jonathan Woodgate, for whom Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale claimed Ferdinand had been bought as cover, was outstanding as he repelled United's attack time after time.

With so much of the pre-match hype focused on Ferdinand's return to the club, it would have been easy to overlook the fact that a football match had to be played.

But that was never going to be the case given the fierce rivalry between the two sides and, in line with previous encounters, the game started at a frenetic pace.

Leeds, unchanged from their impressive victory at Newcastle, surged forward with gusto, putting Ferdinand under close scrutiny, if any more was really needed.

Despite the unfamiliar midfield, Phil Neville drafted into middle in the absence of the injured Juan Sebastian Veron and John O'Shea recalled to the side, United settled well.


We outplayed them for 45 minutes, but the team who scored first were always going to win
Sir Alex Ferguson

Indeed, the visitors went on to boss the half, their football free-flowing and incisive yet lacking the clinical finish it deserved.

Ryan Giggs drifted menacingly and, following a beautiful stepover from Mikael Silvestre's pass, played a clever one-two with Ruud van Nistelrooy which released the Dutchman into the area.

Van Nistelrooy took one touch too many and was foiled by Leeds goalkeeper Robinson.

A Leeds fan holds aloft a banner
A Leeds fan makes his feelings known

Midway through the first half, two incidents could have had a significant bearing on proceedings.

Beckham appeared to deliberately elbow Lee Bowyer, the pretender to his England midfield crown, and was lucky to be on the pitch let alone escape without even a caution.

But Lady Luck looked kindly on Woodgate minutes later, when he blatantly tugged back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when the Norwegian striker was shaping up to shoot in the Leeds' area.


We turned it around in the second half, the boys were absolutely outstanding
Leeds boss Terry Venables

Leeds defended stoutly and they had to given the unrelenting red tidal wave they faced. Two goalline clearances from Ian Harte and Woodgate maintained parity.

The introduction of Eirik Bakke, for the ineffective Nicky Barmby, after the interval gave Leeds some much-needed impetus. The withdrawal of Butt for United also helped their cause.

Robinson again proved Van Nistelrooy's nemesis, making another breathtaking save to keep the scores level.

Kewell strikes

His stop swung the momentum in Leeds' favour and they capitalised fully.

A quick passage of play saw the ball played out to Harte, who whipped in the perfect cross for an unmarked Kewell to head past Barthez.

Not a Manchester United defender, not even Ferdinand, in sight.


Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Woodgate, Matteo (Radebe 45), Harte, Barmby (Bakke 45), Bowyer, Dacourt, Kewell, Smith, Viduka (McPhail 72).
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Kelly.

Booked: Smith, Harte.

Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Blanc, Silvestre, Phil Neville, Beckham, Butt (Chadwick 63), Giggs, van Nistelrooy (Forlan 71), Solskjaer.
Subs Not Used: Ricardo, Pugh, Roche.

Booked: Solskjaer.

Attendance: 39,622

Referee: Jeff Winter (Cleveland)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Mike Ingham:
"For Leeds fans, a perfect outcome"
Leeds boss Terry Venables
"We got the reward we deserved"
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