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Saturday, 4 January, 2003, 14:31 GMT
Man Utd beat brave Pompey
David Beckham curls home a brilliant free-kick
David Beckham curls home a brilliant free-kick
Manchester United 4-1 Portsmouth

Manchester United survived an FA Cup third round scare before cruising past Portsmouth at Old Trafford.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice from the spot, with David Beckham and Paul Scholes also on target, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side ultimately ran out comfortable winners.

But the scoreline flattered United - and Pompey were left to regret an awful second half miss by Nigel Quashie that would have put them level.

Harry Redknapp's First Division leaders crumbled after the miss, but they will draw a measure of hope from their display after a dismal start.

Ferguson made seven changes, restoring Van Nistelrooy and Giggs and resting Scholes.

Giggs is fouled for the first penalty
Giggs is fouled for the first penalty

Portsmouth, backed by 9,000 travelling fans, made the worst possible start when they conceded a penalty after only three minutes.

Van Nistelrooy fed Giggs inside the box and he was clearly hauled down by Linvoy Primus.

The Dutchman made no mistake from the spot to leave the team with hopes of Premiership football next season with a major task.

We got a bit lazy in passsing and movement but we are through

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

United piled forward threatening to overwhelm Pompey - and Beckham grabbed a second in spectacular style in the 17th minute.

Gary Neville was fouled by Lassina Diabate, and Beckham curled a trademark 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Beckham almost repeated the punishment on the half-hour from another set-piece, but this time he struck the outside of a post..

Portsmouth took advantage of the let-off to give themselves a chance of mounting a revival eight minutes before the interval.

Beckham and Giggs celebrate the second goal
Beckham and Giggs celebrate the second goal

Matthew Taylor's free-kick was headed down by Hayden Foxe, and when Roy Carroll fumbled Stone was on hand to find the roof of the net from eight yards.

It gave Portsmouth hope and they started the second half with renewed ambition.

Manchester United captain Roy Keane was substituted by Michael Stewart, while Pompey opposite number Paul Merson was also replaced by Gary O'Neil after struggling with an ankle injury.

Taylor saw a free-kick well saved by Carroll and Svetoslav Todorov shot over from close range - but Pompey's big chance came and went when Quashie missed his golden chance with 20 minutes left.

In the second half we started to believe we could get a result and if Nigel had finished that chance off, who knows what would have happened

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp

He was sent clear by O'Neil, but lost his nerve horribly with only Carroll to beat as he raced in on goal, blazing over wildly.

Redknapp's side were visibly deflated and Van Nistelrooy compounded their agony with 10 minutes to go to clinch the tie.

He was needlessly fouled by Foxe and dispatched the penalty with ease to seal United's fourth round place.

Scholes chipped home the fourth from close range in the dying seconds to give the scoreline a cruel reflection on Pompey's second half efforts.

Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Blanc, Silvestre (Brown 82), Beckham, Keane (Stewart 45), Phil Neville, Richardson (Scholes 59), van Nistelrooy, Giggs.
Subs not used: Ricardo, Forlan.

Portsmouth: Hislop, Primus, Foxe, Tavlaridis, Harper, Stone (Burton 89), Diabate (Pericard 45), Quashie, Taylor, Todorov, Merson (O'Neil 45).
Subs not used: Kawaguchi, Crowe.

Booked: Diabate, Tavlaridis.

Att: 67,222

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire)

BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Portsmouth suggested they might survive in the Premiership"
Man Utd's Gary Neville
"They made us sweat in the second half"
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp
"At 2-1 we looked the more likely to score"

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