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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 21:55 GMT
Man Utd late show sinks Leeds
Radebe deflects in
Manchester United 2-1 Leeds

Manchester United kept up the pressure on Premiership pace-setters Arsenal with a scrappy win against Leeds United at Old Trafford.

Mikael Silvestre's late header set up the victory after Mark Viduka's strike threatened to earn under-strength Leeds an unlikely point.

Lucas Radebe's own goal gave Sir Alex Ferguson's side an early lead - but the home side struggled to hit top form as they suffered a hangover from the Worthington Cup Final defeat against Liverpool.

The win leaves Manchester United five points behind Arsenal - but they did not produce a performance that suggests they will overhaul the Gunners.

It was a gritty performance despite a lot of tiredness
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville paid the price for Manchester United's defeat in Cardiff - losing their places as Ferguson rang the changes.

Nicky Butt and Quinton Fortune were recalled, with Roy Keane reverting to a central defensive role.

The home side needed an early goal to lift their spirits, and they got it in fortuitous fashion after 20 minutes.

David Beckham was the provider with a right wing cross which Nicky Butt headed towards goal.

Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson did well to save, but with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes lurking, Radebe deflected the ball over the line.

Alan Smith was his typical aggressive self for Leeds, and he was the first man into referee Graham Poll's book for a foul on Juan Sebastian Veron.

And when the Leeds man fouled Keane almost immediately afterwards, he was fortunate to escape a red card.

Manchester United suffered an injury blow when Veron and Viduka came limping out of a challenge.

Veron returned but quickly confirmed he could not continue and limped off with what looked like a nasty injury, giving Phil Neville a chance to impress.

Leeds United had not adopted the defensive approach predicted by Ferguson, and they were able to keep Manchester United penned in for spells as the second half progressed.

We are still trying to regroup and feel good about ourselves
Leeds United manager Terry Venables

And they got their reward after 64 minutes when the battling Smith was brought down by Phil Neville.

Ian Harte whipped in a typical delivery and Viduka escaped the attentions of Rio Ferdinand and Mickael Silvestre to head home.

Silvestre had a chance to make immediate amends, but headed a good chance wide.

The French defender made no mistake eleven minutes from time as Ferguson's men clinched the victory.

Beckham's free-kick caught Leeds unprepared and Silvestre stole in to head past Robinson.

Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Keane, Silvestre, Beckham, Butt, Veron (Phil Neville 56), Fortune (Giggs 64), Scholes, van Nistelrooy (Gary Neville 89).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Fletcher.

Booked: Scholes.

Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Lucic, Radebe, Harte, Barmby (Milner 85), Seth Johnson, Okon, Bravo (McPhail 85), Viduka, Smith.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Cansdell-Sherriff, Kilgallon.

Booked: Smith.

Attendance: 67,135

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"There was a lot of tiredness out there towards the end"

Leeds United boss Terry Venables
"I thought we did particularly well"



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