Mendes goal denied by linesman

Last updated : 07 January 2005 By Alistair Murray

Given the number of striker casualties on both sides as United entertained a Spurs side that had only conceded five goals in their last 11 games away from home, the 0-0 result may have been on the cards.

Ruud van Nistelrooy and Louis Saha both still recovering from achilles injuries and Wayne Rooney completing his three-match suspension were joined on the sidelines by Ryan Giggs when he limped out with a pulled hamstring half an hour into proceedings.

Tottenham were without Jermain Defoe (knee injury picked up against Crystal Palace last week) and Fredi Kanoute (absent with a hamstring injury suffered on New Year’s Day). Sir Alex Ferguson and Martin Jol both started with one up front - Alan Smith and Robbie Keane respectively - former Leeds United teammates on opposing sides this time around.

Tottenham's attacking threat was so scarce in the first hour that Rio Ferdinand who had also been a part of the same Leeds line-up frequently crept into advanced positions around the Tottenham penalty area, as the visitors found themselves pushed deep inside their own half.

However another fine goalkeeping performance by Paul Robinson aided by Ledley King, with support by Noureddine Naybet and Michael Carrick kept United at bay. As the game approached its exciting climax more of Tottenham's counter-attacks began to show fruition and the midfield hinted they might cause an upset as Jol's players grew in confidence, right up to the game's major talking point when Lewis was unsighted by the embarrassed looking goalkeeper.