Reunion blues for Kanchelskis

Everton 2 Limpar 27, Rideout 55 Manchester United 3 Sharpe 3 49, Giggs 74 Attendance: 39,496
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The Independent Online
ANDREI KANCHELSKIS was so looking forward to this day, his manager Joe Royle said. Sadly, Everton's new right-winger ended it in hospital, submitting to an operation on a dislocated shoulder and torn muscles after falling heavily only 10 minutes into this match between the two clubs who until a few weeks ago had wrangled over his pounds 5m transfer.

Kanchelskis is likely to be out for 10 weeks as a result of a clumsy but not malicious tackle by Lee Sharpe. United meanwhile travel to Russia for their Uefa Cup tie against Rotor Volgograd without Andy Cole, who pulled a hamstring late in the game.

In his place up front Ryan Giggs seized his moment, scoring his first league goal for more than a year. It was a case of all the threes for United. The third time they took the lead yesterday, was enough to avert a third consecutive defeat at Goodison Park, to see off spirited Everton and bring them the three points. Three weeks after looking stripped of their assets, the kids look more than alright. And in three weeks' time, Eric Cantona will be eligible to return.

It was a match that marked the return to Premiership action after the international break in appropriate style: thrills and spills, messy at times, but mesmerising in its swiftness. "You couldn't ask for more," the United manager Alex Ferguson said. "It was better than the Cup final wasn't it?"

By the time Everton lost Kanchelskis they were already a a goal down and could have been excused losing some heart thereafter. That, though, is not their problem. Anders Limpar switched to the right to give a probing, persistent performance that picked at the stitching of a United defence looking oddly threadbare with Steve Bruce struggling and Gary Pallister barely fit after sciatica. Even after losing David Unsworth to his second yellow card five minutes from time, Everton threatened to poach a point.

Fortunately for United, further forward there was considerable invention and they always looked capable of finding a goal after conceding one, notably from the fast-developing David Beckham. It is left feet that are usually called educated; Beckham's right probably has an MA.

United took the lead a mere three minutes into the game after a movement of fluency and penetration. Cole, Beckham and Paul Scholes performed a neat triangle of passes on the right before Cole cutely slipped the ball inside the left-back Gary Ablett for Beckham to get in a low cross. Scholes could not quite turn it home at the near post but at the far Lee Sharpe, having escaped his marker Paul Holmes, had the simple task of firing home.

Everton could get little going, but out of nothing they conjured an equaliser just before the half hour. Bruce, hustled on the right by Paul Rideout and Anders Limpar, surrendered possession to the Swede, who danced through to steer a low shot past Peter Schmeichel.

Soon after Beckham curled a free-kick on to the Everton bar from 25 yards, but it was the home side who looked the more likely to take the lead, Daniel Amokachi stretching to Rideout's cross but lifting a good chance over the bar. But the interval did United the more good and four minutes into the second half they regained the lead. Scholes clipped a cross in from the right, which Cole collected and Sharpe stole from him to stab home his own second.

Everton's response was prompt. After Pallister had handled on the edge of his own area, Limpar curled a free-kick on to the bar and from the rebound Dave Watson headed down for Rideout to glance home. Now it was breathless; Everton cutting, United thrusting. And when Cole departed, Giggs seized his moment. Beckham burst from midfield, spotted him in space and Giggs duly converted a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Unsworth was sent off for fouls on Beckham and Giggs within minutes of each other in a red-blooded match that saw more bookings than Morecambe and Wise in a week at their peak - nine. It looked all up for Everton, but Amokachi's late glancing header that flew just wide was testament to their never-say-die quality. But in terms of quality of football it was United who just had the edge.

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