Manchester United FC consolidated second place in the Premiership with a 2-1 victory against Leeds United AFC at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
However, they needed a 79th-minute goal from full-back Mikaël Silvestre to deny Leeds, who had threatened to take an unlikely point thanks to Mark Viduka's second-half header.
United were gifted an early lead when Lucas Radebe deflected Nicky Butt's header into his own net on 20 minutes. But Sir Alex Ferguson's team failed to hit the heights and were caught out by Viduka's effort from an Ian Harte free-kick on 63 minutes.
It was a similar combination that brought the winning goal, as Silvestre got the decisive touch to a David Beckham set-piece in the closing stages. The win moved United, beaten by Liverpool FC in the League Cup final on Sunday, three points clear of Newcastle United FC.
The Saint James' Park club lost 1-0 against north-east rivals Middlesbrough FC in the evening's other rearranged fixture. Cameroonian international Geremi was the match-winner at the Riverside Stadium, the Boro midfield player nodding in a Franck Queudrue centre just after the hour.
Despite chances for both sides in a frantic finish, Newcastle could not avoid sliding to their first league defeat of 2003. They remain eight points behind the leaders, Arsenal FC, in third place.
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