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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 14:30 GMT
Man Utd 1-1 Leeds
Alan Smith celebrates equalising for Leeds
Manchester United lost ground in the title race after drawing with Leeds.

Ryan Giggs hit the post, Paul Scholes, Kleberson and Nicky Butt all went close with long distance strikes and Ruud van Nistelrooy missed from close range.

Leeds' 18-year-old keeper Scott Carson made several saves but could not hold Gary Neville's second-half shot and Paul Scholes converted the rebound.

Alan Smith immediately equalised when he superbly headed Didier Domi's cross past keeper Tim Howard.

With Arsenal winning at Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson's team are now seven points adrift of the leaders.

But his side have more immediate priorities with their Champions League tie against Porto on Wednesday.

And Ferguson could be without Mikael Silvestre, who limped out of the match in the first half to be replaced by Wes Brown.

Leeds remain in the bottom three but will take encouragement from a draw at the home of their greatest rivals.

Manchester United went into the match without Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha, with Butt starting after his impressive display for England in midweek and Kleberson returning to the team.

Smith started up front for Leeds with Mark Viduka missing and Carson made his full debut in the absence of the suspended Paul Robinson.

And predictably, given their respective league positions, Manchester United made all the early running.

Carson made a comfortable early save to deny the excellent Scholes, while Silvestre should have converted a Giggs corner.

But the French defender made poor contact with his shot and Carson parried.

More industrious approach work from Scholes created space for Giggs, whose subsequent shot grazed the post with Carson beaten.

20 mins: Giggs hits the post
64 mins: Scholes opens the scoring
67 mins: Smith equalises

Kleberson went close with a left-foot strike from the edge of the penalty area after a neat cutback from Scholes.

Scholes narrowly missed from 25 yards and van Nistelrooy twice headed over but Carson held firm in the Leeds goal until the break.

And for all the home team's endeavour, most of their opportunities were from long range and they lacked a real cutting edge up front.

Leeds rarely threatened the opposition goal, looking most likely to score from a set piece.

Tim Howard was fortunate to see the ball drop out for a corner when he dropped Stephen McPhail's deep free-kick close to his own goal.

The visitors started the second half well, striving to create an opening while continuing to stifle their opponents whenever they had the ball.

However, Butt forced Carson into action after 56 minutes, with the young Leeds keeper parrying the midfielder's volley.

The home side's inability to force an opening prompted Ferguson to swap Kleberson for Roy Keane, and the influential Irishman's introduction paid almost immediate dividends.

Carson failed to hold Gary Neville's drive and the alert Scholes was on hand to smash home the loose ball.

But Leeds refused to be cave in, and restored parity through the irrepressible Smith, whose superb header left Howard floundering.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came on for his first appearance in five months after 71 minutes, but made little impact.

Van Nistelrooy missed the target late on after another good cross from Scholes, and a frustrating afternoon for the home team ended with them losing further ground on Arsenal in the race for the title.

Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, O'Shea, Silvestre (Brown 24), Fortune, Kleberson (Keane 58), Butt, Phil Neville (Solskjaer 71), Scholes, van Nistelrooy, Giggs.
Subs Not Used: Ronaldo, Carroll.

Booked: Gary Neville.

Leeds: Carson, Kelly, Caldwell, Matteo, Domi, McPhail, Seth Johnson, Bakke, Pennant, Milner (Sakho 73), Smith.
Subs Not Used: Allaway, Harte, Radebe, Olembe.

Booked: McPhail, Pennant.

Attendance: 67,744

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"There was precious little to choose between the teams"

Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson
"We have put ourselves in a very difficult position"

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