Man Utd (2) 3 - Deportivo La Coruña (0) 2
Man Utd: Barthez;
Gary Neville, Johnsen (Brown 37'), Blanc, Silvestre; Verón (Phil Neville
74'), Butt; Beckham (Solksjaer 20'), Giggs, Fortune; Van Nistelrooy. 4-2-3-1.
Deportivo La Coruña crashed out of Europe after losing 3-2 to Manchester United in a hard match which left David Beckham in hospital with a broken ankle and Depor's two Argentine midfielders Scaloni and Duscher both sent off in the second half. Needing to turn around a two goal deficit from the first leg, Irureta put out a side which included Tristán, Djalminha and Valerón. They were missing though several key players, with César, Mauro Silva and Sergio all picking up injuries at the weekend, and with only one fit central defender, right back Héctor had to play alongside Naybet. Verón returned for Manchester after injury, replacing Keane who had suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg which will keep him out for up to six weeks, and Fortune came in for the suspended Scholes.
Although the English side were defending a two goal lead from the first leg they wanted to stop any chance of a fight back, and laid siege to Depor's goal early on. Naybet had to clear a dangerous cross from Giggs, Molina made a spectacular save from Fortune and Scaloni blocked Van Nistelroy as he lined up to score. Tristán failed to get on the end of Valerón's pass at the other end as the Spanish side fought back, with the pace at times frantic. Then with just over a quarter of an hour gone Duscher crashed into Beckham with a two-footed tackle, and the England captain, in obvious pain, had to be replaced by Solksjaer. Within minutes though the Norwegian striker made his mark, getting on the end of Verón's free kick to open the scoring on the night. Van Nistelroy went close again soon after the goal and Ferguson had to make a second substitution eight minutes before half time when Johnsen left the field limping.
Deportivo gave themselves a ray of hope though before the half time whistle when Barthez and Blanc tried to block Romero's hard, low cross in from the left wing, the French defender touching the ball into his own net with the keeper out of position. Víctor was starting to cause some problems for the United defence, and Romero just failed to get on the end of his cross soon after the restart. However the winger had to leave the field with an injury soon afterwards, and Makaay came on in his place. Not long afterwards though the home side restored the lead, once again Verón the creator with a magnificent through ball and Solksjaer the executioner with a clinical finish under Molina from wide on the left. Two minutes later Scaloni left his side one short when he picked up a second yellow card from German referee Markus Merk for protesting, and the game was virtually over.
Capdevila came on for Depor and almost immediately went close, but then Giggs showed his class cutting in past Romero to fire a low shot wide of Molina for United's third. Van Nistelroy hit the bar with a header in the next attack, and with a quarter of an hour to go the Gallicians were left with nine men after Duscher picked up a second booking for a foul on Butt. Djalminha did make the score look more respectable with a free kick in injury time which took a deflection off the defensive wall to wrong-foot Barthez, but they hardly celebrated thinking of the long haul back home with their hands empty. Depor's European campaign once again ended in England, and they now have to pick themselves up to ensure that they will be back next year. Nobody doubts that they will.