Pain for Fergie, agony for Smith

'One of the worst I've seen,' says Ferguson as midfielder suffers broken leg in defeat by Liverpool
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson's anger and frustration turned to agony at Anfield yesterday when Alan Smith suffered serious injuries shortly before the end of his Manchester United side's 1-0 defeat by Liverpool in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Ferguson, who had to do without Rio Ferdinand in the centre of his defence because of a hamstring injury, watched Liverpool score with a 19th-minute header by Peter Crouch that went in via both posts, and then saw Smith suffer a broken left leg and dislocated ankle with only two minutes remaining.

"It is a bad one," Ferguson said of Smith's injury, suffered when he threw himself to block a shot by John Arne Riise. "He has gone to hospital, it looks very long-term - it is one of the worst I have seen. Obviously it's a big blow, but that sums up our season."

Smith's season is over, and gone are his lingering hopes of going to the World Cup with England. Ferguson was angered by his side's performance in the first half and frustrated by the second half, which he thought United dominated.

"They had one shot on goal, which was saved by [Edwin] Van der Sar before their winner, and they only need to play for five minutes because they keep such a tight ship at the back," he said.

Newcastle won the late game at home to Southampton, but the Championship side suffered a similar misfortune to United. Bartosz Bialkowski, their 18-year-old goalkeeper, fell awkwardly and, like Smith, was carried off in agony. Kieron Dyer scored the only goal.

Charlton are in the last eight after a 3-1 home win over Brentford of League One, but Bolton face a fixture pile-up after their 0-0 draw with West Ham United.