Manchester United humbled by Leeds in FA Cup
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 lost at this stage of the competition for the first time since third division Bournemouth beat them in 1984.
Beckford struck his fifth goal in three games and 20th of the season when a 50-metre ball from Johnny Howson went over the champions’ defence, allowing him 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.
“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,” Leeds manager Simon Grayson 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 could have been even greater 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.
FA Cup holders Chelsea face Championship (second division) Watford later at Stamford Bridge and there is an all-Premier League London derby between West Ham United and Arsenal at Upton Park.
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