Date: Saturday, 3rd March 2001.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
English Premier League.
United 1 Manchester United 1
United: Viduka. Manchester
Leeds United: Martyn; Mills, Ferdinand, Radebe, Harte; Bowyer, Batty, Dacourt, Matteo (Kewell); Keane (Smith), Viduka.
Unused Subs: Kelly, Bakke, Robinson.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Manchester United: Barthez; G. Neville, Stam,
Brown, Irwin; Beckham, Butt (Chadwick), Scholes, P.
Neville; Solskjaer, Sheringham
(Yorke).May, greening. Rachubka.
Referee: Mr. G.
game which eventually had such a big bearing on Unitedís
future fortunes, their present and future was not helped in the least by an
unbelievably poor display of refereeing by one Graham Barber of Tring. His tolerance for the breaking of the rules of the
game and his inability to apply the offside rule cost United dearly.
There was only
one course of action open to him when goalkeeper Fabien
Barthez took it upon himself to stamp on Leedsí Ian Harte
and that was to dispatch the Frenchman on a long walk to the tunnel. Barber
bottled it. The bald exhibitionist was allowed to remain between the posts and
having psyched out Ian Harte, he dived acrobatically
to his right to keep out the penalty which had resulted from his assault.
as Leeds tore into the Mancunian
throat like a lion in search of the kill, defender Wes Brown planted the ball
in the back of his own net identically to the goal he had conceded against Valencia in the Champions League just eleven
days previously. To all intents a purposes that should have been a deserved
winner for Leeds, but once again Barber came to the
rescue of the Red Devils by ratifying his linesmanís wholly isolated view that
Mark Viduka had momentarily strayed offside. Quite
simply there had been no transgression and that the goal was not allowed to
stand was scandalous and cost Leeds dearly. It denied them two points which had
bit meritoriously achieved and at the seasonís end Liverpool had just one point
more than United to take the vital third spot and with it the chance to
participate in the money-spinning ECL.
inability of the referee and his assistants to know the rules of the game and
correctly apply them posed the question of their incompetence and its affect on
the future of Leeds United. The implications of their incorrect application of
the rules could have been, and was, very serious.
United did not need the point, the retention of their title was a formality,
and they played as if they didnít need a point. But the daylight robbery of two
points could and did have dire significance for Leeds. Video replays of the incidents
would bring into focus the refereeing teams incompetence; if players and
managers can be judged on such evidence then why should referees and their
assistants not receive similar treatment? Mr Barber
then sat at the bottom of the refereeing table having issued forty-nine cards
in eleven games. None of which were red. It was an explosive encounter which,
in the final analysis, only perpetuated the widely held belief that there is
one set of rules for Manchester United and another for the rest.
It was nearly
all Leeds. A badly weighted back-pass from Japp Stam to Fabien
Barthez almost let in Robbie Keane at the start but
the keeper performed heroics to take the ball off the strikerís toes as he was
about to pull the trigger. Robbie Keane worked hard for possession of the ball
out on the right and from his cross Mark Viduka got
in a header, but it was wide. Danny Mills raced forward in promising fashion,
but his twenty yard shot was disappointing and bobbled wide. When Olivier Dacourt was fouled by Nicky Butt, Ian Harteís
free-kick was won in the air by Mark Viduka, but a
corner was the only reward. Then Fabien Barthez was fully tested by Ian Harteís
arcing free-kick and did well to clear it from under the bar, while Olivier Dacourt tried his luck from distance but was way over the
an hour gone the league leaders, merely going through the motions, had yet to
produce a shot of any description, but Leeds were having trouble in negotiating
their way through their massed ranks. When Ian Harteís
free-kick came back off the wall Olivier Dacourt
tried to lob Barthez, but the keeper was alert to the
danger. Six minutes before the break Lee Bowyer rifled in a left-foot shot from
the edge of the box, but it was wide of the target.
first-half injury time there was uproar when Fabien Barthez purposely stamped on Ian Harte
and amazingly got away with just a yellow card. It was, however an undeniable
penalty and the resulting remonstrations meant a considerable delay. Harte took it himself and Barthez,
who no doubt would claim that justice was done, pushed the ball to safety.
Leeds changed things around for the
second half, introducing Alan Smith for Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell for Dominic Matteo, but it
was the Mancunians who grabbed the initiative on
sixty-four minutes through their own substitute Luke Chadwick. Paul Scholes set it up, drilling the ball forward for Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer to try an angled
drive which Nigel Martyn could only parry straight
into the path of Chadwick who, from two yards and with an empty net in front of
him, simply could not miss.
brought the best out of Fabien Barthez
with a stunning shot in the seventy-eighth minute, but Leeds appeared to be fast running out of
ideas. Harry Kewellís excellent volley fully tested Barthez but he was once again equal to the task and Leeds finally carved a way through six
minutes from time. Danny Mills did extremely well to whip over a cross from the
right, Lee Bowyer glanced it on and Mark Viduka powered home his header from close range for a
Leeds manager David OíLeary said, ďFabien Barthez should not have
been on the field to save the penalty. The last twenty minutes we really got to
them, we got a good equaliser and then the linesman
gifted them an offside decision. We tried to win the game and we should have
won the game.Ē† Sir Alex Ferguson
observed, ďFor all the pressure they had they never really looked like breaking
us down and a draw was a fair result. I donít know if the ref saw the penalty
incident, but if heís kicked out itís a sending off. We needed a stronger
referee. Heís one of the weaker oneís.Ē†
He was not wrong!
acrobatically heads the equaliser
Mark Viduka watches
his goal go in
Olivier Dacourt, Lee
Bowyer, Harry Kewell and Alan Smith mob goal-scorer
leaves Ian Harte writhing and was lucky not to see
Unfortunately Ian Harte
could not convert the ensuing penalty
Mark Viduka scored
the Leeds goal†††††††††††††††††††††††††
Substitute Luke Chadwick opened the scoring†††††††† Ian Harte missed
Robbie Keane worked hard Danny Mills got
forward††††††††††† Lee Bowyer rifled in a
shot††††††††††††††† Olivier Dacourt tried to†††††
Alan Smith was
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††lob the keeper††††††††††††††††††† a substitute
Dominic Matteo made
way for Harry Kewell in the second half††††††††† ††Nigel Martyn could
only parry the goal††††††† ††††††††Fabien Barthez was in goal
Gary Neville and ex-Leeds player Denis Irwin were
the full-backs†††††††††††† ††Luke Chadwick and Dwight Yorke came on as
Jaap Stam and Wes Brown were the central defenders†††††††† Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham
started as the strikers
David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville were the starters in midfield
David May, Jonathan Greening and goalkeeper
Paul Rachubka were the unused substitutes