Saturday 28 February 2004, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Boa Morte 64'
Manchester United
Manchester United
1
Saha 14'
Luis Boa Morte's superb equaliser cancels out the returning Louis Saha's opener to give Fulham a fantastic point against Manchester United.

64' Goal

Luis Boa Morte

42' Yellow Card

Sean Davis Card was given for a foul

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mark Pembridge
Off:Bobby Petta

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Junichi Inamoto
Off:Steed Malbranque

14' Goal

Louis Saha

45' Yellow Card

Wes Brown Card was given for a foul

55' Yellow Card

Diego Forlán Card was given for a foul

69' Yellow Card

Ruud Van Nistelrooy Card was given for dissent

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Off:Diego Forlán

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ryan Giggs
Off:Darren Fletcher

0
15
30
45
60
75
90
Manchester United's championship hopes are fading fast after Sir Alex Ferguson's team were held to a draw by brave Fulham at Loftus Road. 

Arsenal's 2-1 home victory against Charlton means United are now nine points behind the top-of-the-table Gunners. Louis Saha fired the visitors ahead against his old side but Luis Boa Morte grabbed the equaliser. The Fulham faithful, who idolised Saha until his controversial £12. 8million switch to Old Trafford in January, taunted him on his return and unfurled a banner reading "Saha you're a disgrace - in Coleman we trust."

Cottagers boss Chris Coleman was not at Loftus Road, however, as he was spending his fifth day in hospital with a virus. In his absence, Saha - the player whose sale he objected to so fiercely - took his revenge on the fans who booed him and powered home a brilliant 13th-minute opener for his fourth United goal. The France forward capped a lightning counter-attack with a 40-yard run and thumping finish which left Edwin van der Sar clutching at thin air. 

However, Boa Morte, the Fulham winger who has come to the fore since Saha's departure, made United pay for not capitalising on their dominance of the first half when he hit the equaliser after 63 minutes. He beat Wes Brown, whose performances at the heart of United's defence have been criticised in recent weeks, and fired home through Roy Carroll's legs. 

Both teams could have won this cracking contest as Fulham hit the bar when 1-0 down and referee Alan Wiley snubbed what appeared to be a clear United penalty with the score 1-1. But that is how it finished and United, barring a disastrous collapse by Arsenal, must face up to the likelihood that the Premiership crown will be leaving Old Trafford for Highbury. 

Ferguson had made a raft of changes from the team which tumbled to defeat against Porto on Wednesday and left Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ryan Giggs on the bench. Rio Ferdinand, serving an eight-month ban for missing a drugs test, was in the Loftus Road directors' box to watch Roy Keane - sent off in Portugal - line up at centre-back in Gary Neville's absence. Coleman picked his team from his sickbed on Thursday night and handed young left-back Adam Green the biggest day of his career due to Carlos' Bocanegra's three-match suspension. And Saha almost made the most sensational of starts against his old club after just nine seconds. The Frenchman raced onto Diego Forlan's angled pass and fired goalwards from 14 yards, beating van der Sar but seeing his shot skid just beyond the far post. John O'Shea was extremely lucky to escape without even a caution when he pulled down Brian McBride just outside the United box. 

This was an entertaining game and Saha stamped his mark on it with a quite brilliant 13th-minute opener for the visitors. United broke as Carroll flung the ball out to Cristiano Ronaldo.  The winger slipped it inside to Saha, just inside the opposition half, and he raced into the area before cracking the ball past van der Sar from 14 yards. Darren Fletcher robbed Alain Goma and curled a shot a yard wide as United went for a second. The home side gave the visitors a scare with 28 minutes on the clock. Sylvain Legwinski met Sean Davis' left-wing corner with a header which flicked off Keane and against the United crossbar. 

United started the second half in identical fashion to the first - only this time it was Ronaldo who fired just beyond the far post. Fulham stunned United when they grabbed the equaliser after 63 minutes. Steed Malbranque slipped a pass into Boa Morte and he span Brown - no stranger to criticism in recent weeks - and fired through Carroll's legs. Ref Wiley denied United the opportunity to re-establish an immediate lead when he snubbed what appeared to be a clear penalty claim. Saha charged onto Forlan's through pass and clipped the ball beyond van der Sar, who stuck out his arm and sent the striker tumbling to the turf. Wiley dismissed the visitors' appeal and further enraged United when he booked van Nistelrooy while he was warming up on the touchline, after being consulted by fourth official Graham Poll. Van Nistelrooy came on and made a terrible hash of a golden chance with four minutes left. Fellow sub Giggs chipped a pass into him but he bundled into his countryman van der Sar and the ball bobbled wide as United were held to a 1-1 draw and dropped two points.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 28 February 2004
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 18,306

Referee: Alan Wiley

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Goma, Pearce, Green; Malbranque (Inamoto 80'), Legwinski, Davis, Petta (Pembridge 66'); McBride, Boa Morte

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Knight, Rehman

Manchester United

Line-up: Carroll; O'Shea, Brown, Keane, Fortune; Fletcher (Giggs 72'), Scholes, Neville, Ronaldo; Forlán (Van Nistelrooy 72'), Saha

Unused substitutes: Howard, Djemba-Djemba, Bellion

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 27 67
2 Chelsea 27 58
3 Manchester United 27 58
4 Newcastle United 26 41
5 Charlton Athletic 27 40
6 Liverpool 25 38
7 Aston Villa 27 37
8 Fulham 27 36
9 Birmingham City 25 36
10 Tottenham Hotspur 26 34
11 Bolton Wanderers 26 34
12 Southampton 27 33
13 Middlesbrough 25 31
14 Everton 27 29
15 Blackburn Rovers 27 28
16 Manchester City 27 27
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27 24
18 Portsmouth 25 23
19 Leicester City 27 23
20 Leeds United 26 21
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 26Adam Green
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 8Brian McBride
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • 28Zesh Rehman
Manchester United (4-4-2)
  • 1Roy Carroll
  • 22John O'Shea
  • 6Wes Brown
  • Roy Keane
  • 25Quinton Fortune
  • 24Darren Fletcher
  • 22Paul Scholes
  • 18Philip Neville
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Diego Forlán
  • 9Louis Saha
Substitutes
  • 24Tim Howard
  • 11Ryan Giggs
  • 14Eric Djemba-Djemba
  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy
  • 12David Bellion