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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Fulham stun Man Utd
Inamoto tackles Man Utd's Ronaldo

Man Utd 1-3 Fulham

Manchester United stumbled off the Premiership pace as they were spectacularly knocked out of their stride by Fulham at Old Trafford.

A third-minute goal from captain Lee Clark and second-half strikes from Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto continued Fulham's remarkable start to the season.

Diego Forlan's first goal of the season had given United hope on the stroke of half-time, but Chris Coleman's side deservedly claimed victory.

A home win would have elevated Manchester United to the top of the table, but defeat saw them slip to third as Fulham climbed to the vertigo-inducing heights of fifth.

KEY MOMENTS
3 mins: Clarke fires Fulham in front from a Malbranque cross
18 mins: Pembridge shot hits the Man Utd crossbar
45 mins: Forlan's fine finish brings United level seconds before half-time
66 mins: Malbranque's opportunist strike puts Fulham back in front
79 mins: Inamoto's stunning finish seals Fulham's win

United came into the game on a high following their midweek Champions League win at Rangers.

But when Gary Neville wasted an early chance to emulate his brother Phil's midweek goalscoring heroics, Sir Alex Ferguson might have sensed it was not going to be his day.

Ferguson, confined to the directors' box following his two-match touchline ban, probably had the best view in the house as Fulham quickly took control.

Clark swept them ahead inside three minutes as he clinically finished off Malbranque's cross after Mikael Silvestre had conceded possession cheaply.

Chris Coleman's side then set about proving their opener was no fluke.

Mark Pembridge smacked a right-foot shot against the crossbar and Luis Saha saw a close-range shot blocked by Tim Howard.

United did not get a look-in for the opening 20 minutes and, though they roused slowly after that, it was rough justice on Fulham when the home side levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Mark Pembridge holds off Nicky Butt
Mark Pembridge holds off Nicky Butt
There was no faulting Forlan's finish though, as he took his time after being sent clear and then hit a sweetly-struck shot across Edwin van der Saar and into the bottom corner of the net.

Ferguson missed the strike, already on his way down to the dressing room to warm up the hairdryer for his players.

Whether any player had the nerve to tell him United were back on level terms is unlikely, but whatever the manager said at half-time clearly had little affect.

Forlan should have put them in front but was off target after being forced wide and the visitors refused to buckle.

Their resilience underlined a growing belief that they could catch the frustrated home side on the break.

And when Rio Ferdinand missed a header in his own penalty area, Malbranque was swift to exact punishment.

His opportunist finish gave Howard no chance and sent United on their way to a first Premiership defeat at Old Trafford since Bolton won there more than a year ago.

United were reeling, and though they responded with a John O'Shea header that flew wide, it was Fulham who deservedly struck again 11 minutes from time.

Junichi Inamoto fittingly sealed a spectacular win with a spectacular finish, firing a left-foot shot from six yards to give Fulham their first Old Trafford win since 1963.


Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre (Fortune 45), O'Shea, Ronaldo (Scholes 69), Djemba-Djemba (Bellion 80), Butt, Giggs, Forlan, van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Fletcher.

Booked: Forlan, Djemba-Djemba, Fortune, Giggs.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Goma, Knight, Bonnissel (Djetou 74), Malbranque, Pembridge (Inamoto 32), Clark, Legwinski, Boa Morte (Hayles 86), Saha. Subs Not Used: Crossley, Melville.

Booked: Inamoto, Knight.

Attendance: 67,727

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's David Oates
"Fulham undoubtedly deserved their victory"




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