Leeds delivers shocker in FA Cup
Hands 11-time winners Man United 3rd-round defeat for 1st time in 26 years
Fallen English power Leeds dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory Sunday, condemning the 11-time winners to a third-round defeat for the first time in 26 years.
Jermaine Beckford scored his 20th goal of the season after latching on to Johnny Howson's 50-yard pass in the 19th minute to give third-tier club Leeds its first victory at Old Trafford since 1981.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson took charge in 1986, Man United had never lost in the FA Cup to lower-league opposition. And United hadn't been beaten in the third round since Ron Atkinson's FA Cup holders lost to Harry Redknapp's third-tier club Bournemouth in 1984.
United has won the trophy five times under Ferguson and holds the record of 11 FA Cup triumphs.
Ferguson was scathing about the performance from the Premier League champions for the past three seasons.
"I didn't expect that," Ferguson said. "I'm shocked at the performance. Leeds fought like tigers, you would expect that when they come to Old Trafford for an FA Cup tie. They are human beings, they can always surprise you.
"Beckford has got a lot of pace up front and we were caught napping, really. It was a bad goal for us to lose but the whole performance was bad."
Ferguson also criticized referee Chris Foy for playing only five minutes of injury time even though there were frequent stoppages in the second half.
"The referee gave five minutes of injury time — that is an insult to the game and the players out there," the United manager said.
Ferguson feared an upset against Leeds and started with first-choice strikers Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, but neither seriously troubled goalkeeper Casper Ankergren.
Even the appearance of substitute Michael Owen in the 69th minute couldn't provide a spark, the striker scuffing an immediate chance to save United.
Beckford skewed wide in the 78th, missing a chance to kill off the match and instead setting up a nervy finale for the 9,000 travelling Leeds fans.
"It's an unbelievable, tremendous result — it's been a long time coming," Leeds captain Richard Naylor said. "I'm really proud. We dug in when we had to."
Leeds tops League One by eight points but is 43 places below United, which is second in the standings after winning the last three Premier League titles.
Leeds was a major power in the Premier League at the start of the century, reaching the Champions League semifinals in 2001, before the club gambled on qualifying for Europe's top competition every year by investing heavily through borrowing against future success.
The team failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season and the club's financial implosion began, leading to relegation from the top flight in 2004.
Leeds was relegated to the third tier for the first time in its history in 2007 after being docked 10 points for entering financial administration with debts of 35 million pounds ($59.5 million Cdn).
Chelsea 5, Watford 0
Elsewhere, defending champion Chelsea outplayed Watford in a 5-0 victory to reach the fourth round.
Chelsea raced into a 3-0 lead at Stamford Bridge inside the first 22 minutes. Daniel Sturridge scored his first two goals for the club, Watford's John Eustace put the ball into his own net and Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard added the others.
Arsenal 2, West Ham 1
Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1 at West Ham with two late goals in a five-minute spell by Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo da Silva.
West Ham went ahead a minute before halftime at Upton Park when Alessandro Diamanti beat Arsenal's offside trap to run clear and fire home via the inside of the post.
Ramsey equalized in the 78th minute after a good approach play by Alex Song and Carlos Vela and 10-time champion Arsenal captured a fourth-round spot through Da Silva's header in the 83rd minute from a leftwing cross by Vela.
A meeting of two League Championship clubs, Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers, ended 1-1.
In Sunday's late game, Wolves needed a 77th-minute strike from Matthew Jarvis to beat Tranmere 1-0. The third-round match between League Two Notts County and non-league Forest Green was called off because of a frozen pitch.