Venue: City of
Competition: English Premier League.
Referee: Mr G. Barber (Tring, Hertfordshire).
battled gamely at the City of
United survived a major test of character at
It was also
major credit to a side who were now playing as a unit
and showing a togetherness that was non-existent up until Eddie Gray's arrival
as caretaker manager. There were still lessons to be learned and United were
often at their most vulnerable when they were leading in a game, but they were
now showing more character in dealing with a pressure situation and that would
be key in their bid to climb the Premiership.
However, it was worth nothing that, while recent results suggest otherwise, United came up against a side boasting plenty of quality players who were capable of winning games on their own. The fantastic 47,000-capacity City of
mitigating factor in
teenager was hacked to the ground by David Sommeil
when through on goal yet Barber saw fit to ignore the crude challenge when he
should have awarded
There had been no suggestion of any fireworks for much of the clash and it appeared that seasonal goodwill was top of the agenda when Mark Viduka opened the scoring on twenty-four minutes. David Sommeil gift-wrapped Viduka an opportunity when he dallied on the ball and the Aussie striker, being watched from the stands by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, stole in to round David Seaman and poke the ball home. That was United's best chance of the game, but while City responded with plenty of venom in the second half they did not look like finding a way through. Gary Kelly and Ian Harte turned in great shifts and both made crucial clearances. And, with the help of the midfield, United restricted City to long-range efforts that rarely tested Paul Robinson. The rearguard action was superb, but it was finally breached on eighty-two minutes when substitute Antoine Sibierski rose unchallenged to head home a pin-point Sun Jihai cross. The leveller was a killer blow, but United managed to regroup to ensure they held firm and secured what could prove to be yet another vital point.
Mark Viduka pressurised David Sommeil into a mistake and then beat David Seaman to give United the lead
Mark Viduka makes no mistake as he hammers in the first goal
James Milner was first to congratulate Mark Viduka on his goal
Antoine Sibierski beat Michael Duberry in the air to head the equalizer and celebrated Michael Duberry gets a grip on Paulo Wanchope
Michael Bridges tries to round Sylvain Distin Lucas Radebe gets in a timely tackle on ex-United striker Robbie Fowler
Nicolas Anelka is confronted by the impressive Dominic Matteo Mark Viduka and David Sommeil in a tussle
Michael Duberry stops former teammate Robbie Fowler in his tracks
Alan Smith is restrained by the fourth official David Batty disputes possession with Claudio Reyna and Antoine Sibierski
The unlucky Lucas Radebe is stretchered off with a torn hamstring.
James Milner is scythed down by David Sommeil James Milner in a mid-air clash with Sun Jihai
James Milner is tripped from behind by David Sommeil with only David Seaman to beat
A closer look at David Sommeil’s bad tackle on James Milner
Mark Viduka scored for United but Antoine Sibierski equalised Paul Robinson had little to do Lucas Radebe was carried off
Dominic Matteo was Michael Duberry was impressive Alan Smith and David Batty were brilliant in midfield
James Milner was the subject Michael Bridges came on as Gary Kelly and Ian Harte made crucial clearances
of an unpunished foul a substitute
Ex-United Reserve keeper David Seaman was in goal Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin were in central defence
Sun Jihai and David Sommeil were the full-backs Michael Tarnat and Kevin Stuhr Ellegaard were the unused substitutes
Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, Claudio Reyna and Steve McManaman started in midfield
Nicolas Anelka and Leeds “Old Boy” Robbie Fowler were the starting strikers
Antoine Sibierski, Jon Macken and Paulo Wanchope came on as substitutes