Tormentor Cantona

Leeds United 0 Manchester United 4 Martyn 3 (og), Butt 49, Pobors ky 77, Cantona 90 Attendance: 39,694

The Manchester United fans in the south stand were obliged to endure an Ooh! and an Aah! on their annual trip to Elland, and back, yesterday. But the sight of Eric Cantona carelessly trundling wide a penalty, two minutes before half-time, was the only painful moment for them. It was appropriate, as events unfolded, that the Frenchman's kick came to rest against an advertising board which read: Wilkinson Sword. It was Cantona who had the final hand, or foot, in putting Howard Wilkinson and his side to the sword.

He twisted the blade two minutes into injury time, converting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's right-wing cross at the far post before raising his arms in celebration to the suffering supporters who worshipped him in the days when the all-seater Don Revie stand was Elland Road's Kop. The Leeds fans had already been reduced to such depths of dejection that they were moved to applaud their traditional enemies from across the Pennines. Chants of "Wilko for City" momentarily unified the followers of the two Uniteds.

But there was almost literally only one United in the game. Leeds did not muster a shot at goal until the final three minutes, when Ian Harte fired over the bar and Mark Hateley headed against it.

The man on the public address system gave "Barcelona" an airing at half- time. But on the evidence of yesterday's performance, Ferguson is returning to the Champions' League on Wednesday with more aces up his sleeve than he had in the Nou Camp two years ago. As well as his Frenchman, his team featured a Dutchman, a Norwegian and a citizen of the Czech Republic.

They led from the second minute with a little help from Leeds as Karel Poborsky, who took the corner, and Ronny Johnsen, whose header and follow-up shot found the back of the net via the back of Nigel Martyn's head despite attempted goal-line clearances by first Mark Ford and then Ian Harte.

The stranglehold Manchester United took was applied from the flanks. The craft of Poborsky, who filled the reshuffled vacancy created by the injured Gary Pallister's absence, and Jordi Cruyff provided the space Cantona and his colleagues exploited.

Cantona's wayward spot-kick, after Cruyff was tugged by David Wetherall, gave Leeds only temporary relief. Three minutes into the second half, Poborsky steamed past three opponents and Nicky Butt swept in the second goal. Then, after 76 minutes, Cantona set Poborsky free from the half- way line and Martyn was beaten with a delightful chip-shot.

"Absolutely first class," was Ferguson's verdict. "It's going to be difficult for us on Wednesday night but we showed today we've got a lot of things in our favour." With Pallister expected to be fit and Andy Cole, a second- half substitute yesterday after recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia, the champions of England are in rude health as they prepare to face Juventus, the champions of Europe. Leeds were the ones who caught a cold yesterday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital