United out of FA cup

Third-tier Leeds bring down United with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

    Leeds United's Jermaine Beckford brings down the English giants [AFP]
    Manchester United suffered their most embarrassing FA Cup defeat for 26 years after third tier Leeds United pulled off a stunning 1-0 third-round victory at Old Trafford.

    England's FA cup is a firm favourite with the fans and is the oldest football association cup in the world.

    It is popular because it pits clubs of all standards against each other although at the business end it is usually dominated by Premier League clubs.

    A 19th-minute goal from in-form striker Jermaine Beckford gave the League One leaders victory as United, who have won the Cup a record 11 times, went out at this stage for the first time since 1984.

    It was a day to remember for the Leeds fans and a day to forget for the English champions and European runners-up.

    Giant-slaying

    Beckford struck his fifth goal in three games and 20th of the season.

    The goal came after 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."

    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.

    Cup holders Chelsea, who beat Everton in the final last year, cruised on after crushing Championship side Watford 5-0.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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