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Arsenal, Man U rally to victory
January 05, 2004 11:00 IST
Holders Arsenal recovered from an early mistake by goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to thrash Leeds United 4-1 at Elland Road in the third round of the FA Cup.
Manchester United also came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 with second-half goals from Paul Scholes and Liverpool avoided an embarrassing early exit when they scraped a 2-0 win at lowly Yeovil.
Louis Saha's stoppage-time winner in Fulham's 2-1 victory over Cheltenham denied the third division side a home replay.
Mark Viduka gave Leeds an eighth-minute lead on Sunday after an embarrassing error from German international keeper Lehmann, whose attempted clearance after a back pass from Sol Campbell was charged down by the Australian striker into the net.
The debt-ridden Yorkshire club, in the premier league's relegation zone and in danger of going into administration, piled forward looking for a second.
But, Arsenal, attempting to win the Cup for the third time in a row, quickly regained their composure and Thierry Henry equalised in the 26th minute, blasting in with a right-footed half-volley after pouncing on Freddie Ljungberg's cross.
The France striker was also involved in Arsenal's second and third goals. His pinpoint cross was met by Brazilian Edu in the 33rd minute and a pass to Robert Pires three minutes from time allowed the midfielder to drill in from the centre of the area.
Pires then crossed for Kolo Toure to score Arsenal's fourth in the dying seconds.
Ten-times FA Cup winners Manchester United booked their place in the fourth round when Scholes scored twice in five minutes after Gareth Barry had given Villa an early lead.
United's comeback resembled their tie at Villa Park at the same stage of the competition two years ago, when Villa had been cruising to a 2-0 victory before United scored three in the last 13 minutes.
Villa began confidently and defender Barry scored after 19 minutes when his shot was deflected off defender Wes Brown.
With their premier league match at Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday in mind, Alex Ferguson started with top scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy and captain Roy Keane on the bench.
But he brought on his two key players early in the second half and soon after United levelled when Scholes tapped in a cross from Ryan Giggs. The England midfielder doubled his tally four minutes later, again blasting in from a Giggs cross.
"Aston Villa really made it a cup tie. They pressed every ball and were very aggressive," Ferguson told United's website.
Renowned giant-killers Yeovil of the third division held out for 70 minutes against Liverpool but Emile Heskey preserved the premier league side's dignity when he scored with a right-footed shot from the edge of the area.
Danny Murphy made it two seven minutes later when he coolly converted from the penalty spot after striker Harry Kewell had been brought down inside the box.
"You were probably expecting an upset and (manager) Gary Johnson's men fought very hard and made it very difficult for us," Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier told BBC television.
In Saturday's matches premier league high-flyers Charlton Athletic were knocked out by first division Gillingham 3-2 and big-spending Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at first division Watford.
The draw for the fourth round takes place on Monday.