Man United humbled, holders Chelsea cruise
Manchester United suffered their most embarrassing FA Cup defeat for 26 years when Leeds United pulled off a stunning 1-0 third-round victory at Old Trafford on Sunday.
London: Manchester United suffered their most embarrassing FA Cup defeat for 26 years when Leeds United pulled off a stunning 1-0 third-round victory at Old Trafford on Sunday.
A 19th-minute goal from in-form striker Jermaine Beckford gave the League One (third division) leaders victory as United, who have won the Cup a record 11 times, went out at this stage for the first time since 1984.
Holders Chelsea made sure there was no slip-up at Stamford Bridge where they crushed Championship (second division) Watford 5-0 after streaking into a 3-0 lead in 22 minutes.
Daniel Sturridge, John Eustace (own goal) and Florent Malouda settled the outcome with early goals before Sturridge and Frank Lampard scored in the second half to ensure Chelsea eliminated Watford for the second season running.
However, no-one followed the script at Old Trafford after Beckford struck his fifth goal in three games and 20th of the season.
The chance was fashioned by a 50-metre ball from Johnny Howson which went over the champions` defence, allowing Beckford to control it and angle a shot wide of goalkeeper Tomas Kuszczak.
It was the first time Alex Ferguson had suffered defeat in the third round, the stage at which the top clubs enter the FA Cup, since he became United manager in 1986.
United`s first lost to lower league opposition since 1984 also gave Leeds a memorable victory at a ground where they regularly used to duel with United for national supremacy before their slide down the leagues.
The 9,000 away fans went wild with delight at the end of a thrilling Cup tie which produced the first big shock of the round after a series of predictable results on Saturday.
"I must admit I didn`t expect that performance," Ferguson told MUTV. "If you don`t start and the other team does, you`re always up against it.”
"Leeds had a far bigger appetite than us for the game. You need a bit of luck and they got it but they deserved it because they played really well."
Leeds manager Simon Grayson praised his team.
"It was a good long diagonal ball from Johnny Howson and nine times out of 10 Jermaine finishes them off and that`s what he did," he told ITV.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity to go and win the game from there and with a bit of luck here and there we`ve hung on.”
"I am sure they will be celebrating in Leeds for the next few days."
Grayson`s men thoroughly deserved their victory which would have been more comfortable if Beckford had scored after 78 minutes instead of dragging his shot just wide.
Robert Snodgrass smashed a 25-metre free kick against the United bar two minutes later before goalkeeper Casper Ankergren parried a goalbound effort from Wayne Rooney in stoppage time.
Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov and Rooney went close to equalising for United but Leeds, who needed a replay to get past non-League Kettering Town in the last round, hung on for a memorable victory -- their first at Old Trafford since 1981.
West Ham United and Arsenal were meeting in a London derby at Upton Park later on Sunday.