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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 May, 2003, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Viduka hands title to Man Utd
Mark Viduka (right) and Harry Kewell celebrate at Highbury
Goalscorers Viduka and Kewell celebrate
Arsenal 2-3 Leeds

Mark Viduka hammered the final nail in Arsenal's title coffin as the Gunners surrendered their crown in a thrilling Highbury showdown.

Viduka bent home a brilliant winner two minutes from time to finally end Arsenal's challenge and shrug off the ugly shadow of relegation which has hung over Leeds this season.

In a remarkable match, Leeds led three times to make a mockery of their league position.

TOP OF THE TABLE
Man Utd - Pld 37 Pts 80
Arsenal - Pld 36 Pts 72

Harry Kewell and Ian Harte twice put Leeds in front to keep Arsenal on the back foot in a game they needed to win to keep alive their dream of retaining the title.

Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp hauled Arsenal level on both occasions, but Peter Reid's strugglers had the final say.

Viduka appeared to be offside when he received the ball in the 89th minute, but he pushed on regardless and bent a shot beyond David Seaman and into the far corner.

That was the perfect spotlight on a pivotal game, in which Arsenal needed a bright start to ease the nerves that have infested Highbury in recent weeks.

The last thing they needed was to go a goal down.

HIGHBURY GOAL WATCH
5 mins: Kewell smashes stunning opener
30 mins: Henry nods into an empty net
49 mins: Harte free-kick restores Leeds' advantage
62 mins: Bergkamp's neat finish levels scores once more
88 mins: Viduka chips Seaman for dramatic winner

Gilberto Silva headed against the crossbar from a Robert Pires corner in the third minute and the woodwork was still wobbling when Kewell struck.

Jason Wilcox played a long ball over the Arsenal defence and Kewell chested the ball down and slipped between Martin Keown and Oleg Luzhny before slamming an unstoppable left-foot shot beyond the despairing dive of David Seaman.

The Australian winger should have added a second on 12 minutes when Mark Viduka sent him scampering clear down the right.

But Kewell hesitated and had to drag the ball wide of Seaman before slamming a shot into the side netting with his weaker right foot.

The let-off inspired Arsenal, who have not failed to score a Premiership goal at Highbury for more than two years.

They never looked likely to rewrite that statistic though as chances began to flow freely.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger sees his side surrender their Premiership crown

Paul Robinson was tested by a low Henry effort which served as a warning shot that Arsenal were quick to follow up.

This time, Robinson could only palm a low Ray Parlour effort onto the inside of a post and the ball bounced back invitingly for Henry to head into the empty net.

Michael Duberry scrambled a shot off the line from the impressive Parlour and Wiltord had an effort ruled out for offside after Henry's shot had struck wood once more.

But Arsenal's tempo was interrupted by half-time and Leeds snatched back the initiative as they begun the second half the way they had started the first.

Ashley Cole was adjudged to have fouled Viduka and Harte slammed a low free-kick beyond Seaman with the aid of a double deflection off Cole and Gilberto.

It was the third successive season in which Harte has scored a Premiership goal at Highbury, but none have proved as crucial as this.

Wiltord wasted a free far-post header before Bergkamp hauled Arsenal level again with his first Premiership goal at Highbury this season.

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Pires was the architect, slicing his way through the penalty area and cutting the ball back for Bergkamp to slam home with the outside of his right boot.

The Dutchman nearly added another midway through the second half but saw his curling effort drift wide from the edge of the area.

In such delicately balanced situations, an inch either way can decide futures in an instant.

And a tension-fuelled final 15 minutes had the perfect example of a single season in 60 seconds.

Kewell saw a low shot brilliantly palmed away by David Seaman at one end, before Arsenal broke swiftly to the other end where Henry bent a delightful shot that smacked against the foot of a post.

Leeds survived - a word that was underlined by Viduka two minutes from time.


Arsenal: Seaman, Toure, Luzhny, Keown, Cole, Wiltord, Parlour, Silva, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry. Subs: Taylor, van Bronckhorst, Pennant, Kanu, Stepanovs.

Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Duberry, Radebe, Harte, Kelly, Matteo, Bakke, Wilcox, Viduka, Kewell. Subs: Martyn, Bravo, Barmby, Milner, Simon Johnson.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire)




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Leeds caretaker-boss Peter Reid
"Brilliant today and that's all I'm concerned about"




ARSENAL

LEEDS UNITED

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