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Leeds United 0-3 Manchester United: Match Report
Published : 20 Sep 2011 22:05:33
Owen had not kicked a ball in competitive combat before the contest began but scored twice to take his tally to an impressive 11 goals in 12 starts. Then Giggs followed up his effort in Benfica last week by curling home his 161st career goal, nutmegging Tom Lees in the process.
The game won by half-time, Sir Alex Ferguson did give youth a chance afterwards, Danny Welbeck amongst those introduced after the England man recovered from his hamstring injury.
But Leeds were never a threat, even though the visitors ended the game with 10 men after debutant Ezekiel Fryers limped off, leaving last season's joint Golden Boot winner Dimitar Berbatov to partner Michael Carrick in central defence.
A gap of eight years between visits to Elland Road, punctuated by that famous 2010 FA Cup triumph at Old Trafford when Simon Grayson's team were still in League One, had heightened anticipation amongst the white rose contingent.
Had either Lees' header, or Ross McCormack's follow-up gone in, the roof would have come off this famous old stadium. As it was, Ferguson found an unlikely saviour in Berbatov, who booted off the line on both occasions, allowing United to assume total control by half-time.
Owen's first involved a little jink inside Lees after he had collected Park Ji-sung's square pass, then a rather scruffy finish that ended up in the bottom corner.
Andy Lonergan had no chance there, and he was equally helpless with Owen's second. Again, the cross came from the right, this time delivered by Mame Biram Diouf. The finish was clinical, one touch to control, the second to belt it into the top corner.
Giggs provided the perfect ending to the first-half for the Premier League champions, pushing the ball through Lees' legs after collecting Park's return pass from a short corner, then curling home a deflected effort with the outside of his trusty left foot.
It proved to be the end of the veteran Welshman's contribution as promising midfielder Paul Pogba was given his first taste of senior action at the break.