Venue: Georgi Asparuhov
Competition: UEFA Cup, Third Round, First Leg.
Score: Spartak Moscow 2
Scorers: Spartak Moscow: Schirko, Robson.
Spartak Moscow: Filimonov; Parfianov, Bouschmanov, Khlestov, Kovtun; Baranov, Bulatov, Titov, Bezrodnyi; Robson, Schirko. Unused Subs: Smetanin, Ananko, Ketchinov, Evseev, Meleschin, Mor, Peniche.
Referee: Anders Frisk (
second UEFA Cup trip to
And so instead of a visit to
departure of Michael Bridges there was never any indication that United might
add to the lead that Harry Kewell had given them in
the fourteenth minute as he and Bridges had posed enormous problems to the
Russian team and initially
United started the tie full of vim and vigour and rattled the Spartak defence as early as the forty-ninth second, when a long Nigel Martyn clearance found Michael Bridges who forced a hurried back-pass which forced keeper Alexandr Filimonov to head it round the post. It was the kind of pressure that set the pattern for the first third of the game as Michael Bridges showed what a threat he could be as a lone striker. His runs across the backline and his sublime first touch had Spartak trembling and the travelling fans numbering some five hundred made their presence felt in the cold night air as the temperature plummeted to below zero.
Harry Kewell who, like Michael Bridges
and the tireless Lee Bowyer, was a major menace to the Muscovites, rose
unopposed at the near post to meet Ian Harteís sixth
minute corner only to see it smack against the crossbar. He did not have long
to wait though before hitting the target. After intercepting a poor back-pass
by Dimitri Khlestov, Kewell eased past the keeper and from the tightest of
angles roll the ball across the line in an exquisite finish and it seemed to be
the prelude for more as
other end Alfie Haaland was
playing an excellent smothering role and Spartak had
had little to offer except an exaggerated roll by Alexandr
Schirko and a wasted corner from Aretem
Bezrodnyi and the team in general were looking
ponderous against the fast moving United. After thirty minutes of
Harry Kewell tried to draw United level as he left two Spartak defenders in his wake but he was denied by the legs of keeper Alexandr Filimonov, but Spartak were now firmly in control and their second half domination could easily have produced a bigger lead and only a desperate eighty-ninth minute goal-line clearance from acting skipper Gary Kelly prevented that and United were lucky to go into the home leg only one goal in arrears and with Harry Kewell having scored the vital away goal.
Gary Kelly leads out United against Spartak Mosow in Sofia
Harry Kewell rounds Alexandr Filimonov to score
Alexandr Shirko finds a way through the United defence to set up Luis Robsonís goal
Michael Bridges takes on the Spartak defence
Michael Bridges injures his shin in a collision with the keeper
Michael Bridges was injured in a collision with Alexandr Filimonov
Nigel Martyn takes a high ball safely
Harry Kewell torments the Spartak defence†††††††††††† United supporters celebrate Harry Kewellís goal
Lee Bowyer gets crowded out in the Spartak box
Alexandr Shirko and Luis Robson scored for Spartak
and with Michael Bridges was†††††††††††††† United were without injured David Batty and suspended Lucas Radebe.†† ††Nigel Martynís long clearances
on-form†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† troubled Spartak
Lee Bowyer was tireless†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Alf-Inge Haaland played†††† Alexandr Filimov was in goal††††††††††††† Demitri Khlestov and
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a smothering role
Evgeni Bouschmanov were in central defence.
Dmitri Parfionov and Yuri Kovtun were the full-backs.
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Vassili Baronov, Viktor Bulatov, Egor Titov and Artem Bezrodny were in midfield
Luis Robson and Alexandr Shirko were the strikers