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Leeds United 0-3 Manchester United - Match Report

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The first surprise of the night was that that game was being watched by just over 31,000 people as Leeds had failed to sell out for their first clash with Manchester United at Elland Road since 2003. The start of the game was marred by the travelling fans showing an Istanbul flag they had brought with them and throughout the game chants about Istanbul and Munich could be heard, something which is a disgrace and although it was the minority it has no place in football and needs to be cut out.

Simon Grayson made two changes to his United side as Luciano Becchio received his first start of the season in place of Ramon Nunez as Andy Keogh switched to the left wing and Leigh Bromby came in for the suspended Patrick Kisnorbo.

Alex Ferguson on the other hand made 11 changes to the side that beat Chelsea on Sunday and the Red Devils travelled to Elland Road with a very different looking squad to that which has started the Premier League season with a 100% record. Michael Carrick accompanied debutant Ezekiel Fryers in the heart of their defence whilst Antonio Valencia took the right back spot. Michael Owen was given his first appearance of the season and he was partnered in attack by Dimitar Berbatov whilst Ryan Giggs was given a free role in the first 45 minutes.

Leeds looked to take the game to their rivals from the other side of the pennines early on and had a great chance to take the lead when youngster Tom Lees managed to get his head to a corner only to see Dimitar Berbatov clear it off the line. Subsequent follow ups by Andy Keogh and Adam Clayton were also both blocked and the make shift Man United defence had escaped with their clean sheet in tact.

With the Whites looking fairly bright early on it was inevitable that Man United's first real attack would end with a goal. It was former England international Michael Owen's scuffed shot which trickled into the corner of the net after he had been tea'd up by Bulgarian Berbatov and the deadlock was broken. To United's (Leeds) credit, they kept their heads up, the crowd stayed on side and they tried to find a way back into the game, unfortunately though the only real chance they could muster was Adam Clayton's shot from outside the box and it was an easy save for Amos between the sticks.

Just after the half hour mark with what seemed to be their second shot of the match Owen struck again and once again I think it's fair to say, it came against the run of play. However, this time Owen made no mistake about it and smashed the ball past Andy Lonergan into the top corner from the edge of the area. Joy for Michael Owen on a ground where arguably all his injury problems started as he pulled up with a hamstring injury playing for Liverpool in 1999. The Whites huffed and puffed without really doing anything and the Leeds players must have already been in the dressing room as just before half time the final nail was delivered into the coffin. Ryan Giggs took a short corner and received the ball back, waltzed past the Leeds defenders before his deflected shot found it's way past Lonergan. It was all too easy for a man who enjoyed gloating to the Elland Road crowd after being taunted for most of the half about his recent personal problems. 3-0 seemed harsh but that is how the first half ended.

Youngster Paul Pogba replaced Ryan Giggs at half time for the visitors as they looked to blood some of their youngsters. The second half was all about pride for Leeds but unfortunately Grayson's men couldn't get anything together and didn't trouble Man United's defence. Mikael Forssell replaced Becchio early on in the second half as Friday nights trip to Brighton came to the forefront of everybodys mind. Mika Vayrynen also came on for his Leeds debut in place of Andy Keogh. Vayrynen was playing just behind Forssell as McCormack switched to the wing. The third goal had unfortunately killed the match off and the second half was very boring to watch. The visitors didn't need to do anything and just kept possession, although Owen did seem eager to notch his hat-trick, it wasn't to be and he missed a few opportunities. United had given up any hope of causing an upset and the game just fizzled out. Ramon Nunez, who had replaced Ross McCormack had the last kick of the game and could of scored a consolation for the Whites but his poor effort was dragged wide of the goal and that was that. United now turn attentions back to the league as they travel to Brighton on Friday for hopefully another 3 points.

Positives:

Aidy White had a very good game at left back and if Danny Pugh comes in which it is looking increasingly like he will, i hope that White won't suffer because of this. On a night of dissapointment, he was one of the better performers and in my opinion deserves to keep his place in the team.

Leigh Bromby came in and played very well i thought and possibly deserves to keep his place in the team.

Adam Clayton once again played well and despite nothing really working out for him on the night, he continued to get stuck in and work hard for his team. What a find he has been.

Mika Vayrynen looked lively I thought and although he didn't really get a chance to show what he can do, I look forward with promise to seeing how he is going to fare in the Championship.

United: Lonergan, Lees, Bromby, O'Dea, White, Snodgrass, Howson, Clayton, McCormack (Nunez 66), Keogh (Forssell 52), Becchio (Vayrynen 52). Subs: Rachubka, O'Brien, Brown, Tayor.

Manchester United: Amos, Da Silva, Valencia, Diouf (Wellbeck 70), Fryars, Carrick, Park, Giggs (Pogba 46), Owen, Berbatov, Macheda (Cole 78). Subs: D'Gea, Brown, Keane, Thorpe

Attendance: 31,031


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