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BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"If anything Ipswich had the chances to win it"
 real 14k

Ipswich manager George Burley
"I can't speak too highly of our performance"
 real 14k

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson
"Credit goes to Ipswich for putting up such a brave attempt to get something out of the game"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Fergie's men survive Ipswich scare
Fabian Wilnis celebrates Ipswich's opener
Fabian Wilnis celebrates Ipswich's opener
Ipswich Town 1-1 Manchester United

Ipswich Town celebrated the return of Premiership football to Portman Road in style as they held champions Manchester United.

George Burley's side punctured the air of invincibility that has built up around Sir Alex Ferguson's men to make a major impression on their return to the top flight.

But United proved they have resilience to match their brilliance to bounce back from the shock of conceding an early goal to Fabian Wilnis.

They survived an early assault from Ipswich to equalise with a freakish free kick from David Beckham after 39 minutes.

Both sides threatened to take all three points as an end to end encounter unfolded, but in the end Burley and Ferguson will have been happy with a share of the spoils.

Portman Road was at fever pitch to welcome back Premiership football - and the party mood was increased when Ipswich took the lead after six minutes.


You won't see such an exciting game all season. They fought like tigers and deserved the point. I'm quite happy with the result. In this situation it's just important to come away with something. Fabien Barthez made a save that was excellent. We would have lost but for that
  Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Dutch defender Wilnis capped a sweeping four-man move with a crisp right foot finish that gave United's new goalkeeper Fabien Barthez no chance.

The strength of United's squad was emphasised in a team selection that saw Sunday's goal hero Andy Cole, and strike partner Teddy Sheringham, replaced by Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ipswich, however, were in no mood to respect United's reputation and knocked the champions out of their usually smooth stride early on.

Jermaine Wright emphasised Ipswich's initial supremacy by forcing Barthez into a save from long range.

Fabien Barthez plunges at the feet of David Johnson
Fabien Barthez plunges at the feet of David Johnson
Jamie Clapham blazed over as Ipwich continued to threaten United's run of twelve conseciutive Premiership wins, but Ferguson's champions finally demonstrated a measure of composure as half-time approached.

Beckham picked out Solskjaer with a 70-yard crossfield pass, but the striker hesitated before shooting over.

Scholes then saw Hermann Hreidarsson race back to clear from the goal-line, before Beckham equalised in bizarre fashion six minutes before the interval.

Wilnis collected a booking for fouling Philip Neville wide on the United left, 35 yards from goal.

Beckham struck in a vicious dipping free kick into a packed penalty area, and Ronnie Wallwork jumped over the ball to deceive Wright as the ball dropped agonisingly into the corner of the net.

Magnificent

The second half was again an even tussle with Ipswich making a real impression, but Solskjaer forced Wright into another save as United reminded a packed Portman Road of their lingering threat.

Ipswich and United were giving no quarter, and both sides could have scored midway through the second half.


David Johnson and Marcus Stewart were outstanding. They caused Manchester United problems all night. Everybody says we will finish bottom. We'll have to see about that, but I believe we can stay in this league
  Ipswich Town manager George Burley
Wright was Ipswich's hero with a magnificent save from Beckham after a short corner - but seconds later his opposite number Barthez saved United.

Jim Magilton set up former United youth player David Johnson inside the area, and as he seemed certain to score with a header, Barthez produced a brilliant reflex stop.

Ferguson brought on Cole and Sheringham to replace Solskjaer and Yorke as United pushed for victory, but Ipswich looked just as likely as they continued to impress.

It ended with honours even - but Ipswich Town's fans saluted the players like heroes for an epic performance.


Ipswich Town: R. Wright, Wilnis, Clapham, Bramble, Venus, Hriedarsson, Holland, Magilton, Stewart, Johnson, J. Wright. Subs: Branagan, Scowcroft, Croft, McGreal, Reuser.

Manchester United: Barthez, G. Neville, P. Neville, Wallwork, Stam, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Solskjaer, Yorke, Giggs. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Sheringham, Cole, Silvestre, Fortune.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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See also:

19 Aug 00 |  Man Utd
Keane's captaincy warning
15 Aug 00 |  Ipswich Town
Ipswich chief in cash warning
22 Aug 00 |  Photo Galleries
Tuesday's Premiership games - in pictures
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