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Five of the best – Leeds vs Manchester United games

Leeds face Manchester United in the Premier League this weekend, in a fixture of fierce rivalry between the northern sides.

There’s no love-lost between the two teams from opposite sides of the Pennines, with the latest ‘War of the Roses’ battle set to take place in an atmospheric Elland Road on Sunday. Ahead of their latest clash, we look at five memorable Leeds vs Manchester United games from the Premier League era.


Manchester United 1-0 Leeds (1996)

Manchester United had clawed back the deficit on Newcastle in the 1995/96 title race when Leeds arrived at Old Trafford in April looking to throw a spanner in the works.

United had been 12 points behind Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle in January, but a fine run of form following the turn of the new year had put the Red Devils on top in the closing stages of the run-in.

All appeared to be going well for the home side when Leeds’ ‘keeper Mark Beeney was sent off for handling outside of his area, with centre-back Lucas Radebe taking the gloves given the lack of a recognised goalkeeper on the bench.

The South African had spent time in goal as a youngster and had deputised in goal for Leeds after an injury to John Lukic earlier in the campaign, before once again taking on the role of auxiliary goalkeeper at Old Trafford.

Radebe impressed across his 74 minutes between the posts, making saves from Brian McClair and Andy Cole as Leeds frustrated their hosts. Hopes of an unlikely clean sheet were crushed however, as Roy Keane fired in a late winner to keep the Red Devils’ title charge going.

Radebe – affectionately nicknamed The Chief at Elland Road – so very nearly got a hand to the Irishman’s low effort.

Manchester United 3-2 Leeds (1998)

Leeds were beginning to ruffle the feathers of the Premier League’s top sides in the late nineties and David O’Leary’s exciting young side went toe-to-toe with Manchester United in 1998.

United were looking to regain the title lost to Arsenal the previous season and were made to work for three points against Leeds as the sides played out a thriller at Old Trafford. Just days after a chaotic Champions League clash with Barcelona in Catalonia ended 3-3, United were involved in another belter that saw the momentum swing.

Nicky Butt forced a fine save from Nigel Martyn in the opening exchanges, before Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink drilled the visitors into the lead against the run of play. United responded and fought back through goals from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Roy Keane either side of the half-time interval.

Harry Kewell then underlined his growing reputation with a composed finish to level the scores again, capitalising on a mistake from Wes Brown to equalise for Leeds. An enthralling contest ended with a winner, as Butt’s smart turn and finish saw Old Trafford erupt.

United went on to claim a treble at the end of the season, while Leeds soon emerged as brief challengers to their rival’s supremacy at the top end of the division.

Leeds 3-4 Manchester United (2002)

Manchester United kept alive their hopes of retaining the Premier League title after an epic encounter at Elland Road during the 2001/02 season.

Paul Scholes fired the visitors into a ninth-minute lead against a Leeds side pushing for Champions League qualification, with the midfielder slamming home from Mikael Silvestre’s cross to silence a raucous home crowd.

Mark Viduka ghosted in behind to slip in an equaliser for Leeds, but the hosts were soon shell-shocked as the Red Devils took control of the contest. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s double put the visitors ahead before the break, before Ryan Giggs’ converted David Beckham’s cut-back to provide United with a three-goal cushion.

Leeds, however, refused to lie down and roared back into the game. Ian Harte’s stunning free-kick provided David O’Leary’s side with hope, before Lee Bowyer’s close-range header set up a nail-biting finish.

Manchester United held on and breathed a sigh of relief at the full-time whistle, but were unable to close the gap on Arsenal in the title race.

Leeds 1-0 Manchester United (2002)

Leeds has never been a welcoming atmosphere for Manchester United, but tensions were increased when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side made the trip in September 2002.

That summer had seen Rio Ferdinand make a controversial switch from Leeds to Manchester, as the latter capitalised on the increasing financial problems of their fierce rivals to sign the defender in a British record deal.

Ferdinand had been a popular figure at Leeds and captained the side during his time with the club, but arrived to the white-hot atmosphere of an Elland Road bear-pit. It proved an unhappy return for the England centre-back, who saw every touch jeered and booed as his new side fell to defeat.

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United had been the better side before the break, but fell behind as Harry Kewell arrived unmarked to head home a winner and seal a 1-0 win for Leeds.

Leeds 2-4 Manchester United (2022)

Last season’s encounter at Elland Road proved a pulsating affair, as Manchester United squandered a two-goal lead before recovering to win.

Harry Maguire had headed the visitors into the lead, before Bruno Fernandes nodded in from Jadon Sancho’s floated cross to double the advantage in first-half stoppage time.

The game then burst into life after the break, as Leeds scored twice in a minute to bring themselves level. Rodrigo’s cross avoided everyone – including David de Gea – to half the deficit, before Raphinha tucked in ex-United winger Dan James’ cross just seconds later. The visitors were furious, claiming a foul on Fernandes in the build-up.

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Fred came off the bench to lash Ralf Rangnick’s side back in front and Anthony Elanga wrapped up the win with two minutes remaining.

Read – Five of the best players to have played for Leeds and Manchester United

Read Also – Defensive Rocks: Rio ‘Rolls-Royce’ Ferdinand

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