Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Leeds United 0 Manchester United 3

Leeds United 0

Manchester United 3

Owen 2, Giggs

A Manchester United side containing none of the eleven that started against Chelsea on Sunday last night swept past a disappointing Leeds United in the third round of the Carling Cup.

Simon Grayson’s side, backed by a noisy home crowd, started well enough and on six minutes Dimitar Berbatov was forced to clear a goalbound effort following a goalmouth melee. This though proved to be Leeds’ only serious effort at goal and they fell behind on 14 minutes when Michael Owen scuffed his shot past Andrew Lonergan after Berbatov and Ji-Sung Park easily carved apart the Leeds left.

With midfielders Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia playing alongside debutant Ezekiel Fryers in a three man defence it was up to Leeds to push forward and put their illustrious visitors under pressure, especially as in goal Manchester United had Ben Amos, who was making just his third first team appearance. Adam Clayton and Robert Snodgrass did take pot shots at goal, but neither troubled the keeper. 

Frederico Macheda should have made it 2-0 but he was too slow in shooting. It was a temporary reprieve for Leeds as on 32 minutes Mame Diouf found Owen, whose instant control and then drive from the edge of the area sent the ball soaring into the far corner of the net for a superb goal.

Five minutes later the former Liverpool man then set up Valencia who should have made it 3-0. It was, once again, only a temporary reprieve for the home side as on the stroke of half-time Ryan Giggs from a corner played a 1-2 with Park before nutmegging Aidan White and then using the outside of his left foot to deceive Lonergan.

It was to be the United captain’s last part in the action, but his departure gave Paul Pogba a chance to shine on his senior debut and a wonderful sixty-yard crossfield pass to Valencia marked the start of an impressive 45 minutes.

On 56 minutes Owen might have grabbed his hat-trick but curled his right foot shot wide when well placed and after which the only goalmouth action was the substitute Ramon Nunez failing to grab a consolation goal by missing from six yards out in added time. 

Standing up report

Home end - all fans stood during the whole game

Away end - around 2,500 travelling fans stood during the entire game

I would estimate that around 20,000 of the 30,000 crowd stood the entire match. 

Comment on atmosphere

Fair play to the Leeds fans who backed their team to the end, but even when they were all singing at the start it's laughable to describe Elland Road as a really noisy place. Sitting no more than 40 yards from the home end it was still possible to speak to the person next to me. 

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