Owen and Giggs help Reds stroll into next round after first-half blitz destroys their Yorkshire rivals
Michael Owen marked his first start of the season with his first two goals of the campaign before Ryan Giggs added a third before half time.
As expected Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes naming Michael Carrick in central defence alongside young defender Ezekiel Fryers. Antonio Valencia dropped back to right full back which allowed Mame Diouf to come into the midfield alongside Giggs and Park. Federico Macheda was given his chance as part of a front three with Dimitar Berbatov and Owen.
As you would expect this game began at quite a pace and the lively atmosphere in the stands only helped increase the tempo of the game. Simon Grayson had clearly told his team to use the crowd and get at their opponents and they very nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute. A right wing corner was met by Darren O’Dea at the back post, his header was cleared off the line but only as far as Lees but his shot was blocked and Manchester United were able to clear the danger.
Leeds were unable to make their early pressure the pay and the game began to scrappy until the 15th minute when Manchester United took the lead through Owen. Berbatov released Park behind the Leeds defence, he rolled the ball into Owen who got a little bit of luck as he scuffed a left foot shot into the bottom corner sending Lonergan the wrong way.
The hosts did not let the goal get them down and continued to play on the counter attack and pressure the make shift Manchester United defence. In the 21st minute Becchio had a great chance, however after wriggling through three challenges he could only fire straight at Amos from 20 yards.
After failing to take the chances they had created Leeds were punished again in the 32nd minute and it was that man Owen dishing out the punishment. Diouf won the ball on the right hand side from Aidan White, he rolled the ball into Owen on the edge of the area and he blasted the ball into the top corner past Lonergan.
The impressive Giggs added a third goal after some poor defending from the home side. The Welshman took a quick corner to Fabio, he played it back to Giggs who nutmegged White and blasted the ball past Lonergan from 10 yards.
The hosts began the second half keen to get themselves back into the game as quickly as possible but they continued to find it hard to break through the Manchester United defence. In fact the first chance of the second period fell to the visitors and it was very nearly a third goal for Owen. Berbatov controlled the ball on his chest, turned and ran at the Leeds defence before finding his strike partner. Owen took the ball into the penalty area before cutting inside his marker but his chip was just wide with Lonergan well beaten.
With the hosts making three changes early in the second half they struggled to get back into the game and they spent a lot of the half watching their opponents passing the ball in front of them. They did create some openings through Mika Vayrynen but the final delivery continued to be the problem as the Manchester United defence coped easily.
The visitors always looked the most dangerous although they took their foot off the gas in the second half.
Chances at both end dried up, with the visitors happy to keep possession and work the ball across the pitch and frustrate their opponents. When referee Mike Jones blew the final whistle there were cheers from the away end, frustration from the home fans and a sense of a job well done by Ferguson’s men.