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Saturday 14 September 2013

On this day in 2002: Rio's unhappy Leeds return

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall England man's first Leeds visit with Man Utd

  • Ferdinand tackles former Leeds team-mate Lee Bowyer

  • The England international's side looked in control during a commanding first-half display

  • A young Leeds fan makes his feelings about Ferdinand's summer move known

  • Ferdinand had to shackle a tigerish Alan Smith during a hard-fought second half

  • The returning defender takes on Mark Viduka in an aerial challenge

  • Ferdinand finds himself on the losing side against his old team

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day 14 September 2002 - Rio returns to Leeds

It was an unhappy return to Leeds United for Rio Ferdinand as Manchester United succumbed to a second successive Barclays Premier League defeat at Elland Road.

Ferdinand was treated to a lively reception by the home supporters as he returned to his former club after moving to rivals Man Utd in the summer for a record £30million fee, and the England defender will have come away from Yorkshire with his ears still ringing from the raucous atmosphere.

But for the excellence of goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who pulled off a string of saves, and defender Jonathan Woodgate, who was resolute in defence, the visitors might have won the match in a first half they dominated.

However, Leeds manager Terry Venables rang the changes at half-time, bringing on Eirik Bakke and Lucas Radebe for Nick Barmby and Dominic Matteo respectively, and altered the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 come 4-5-1.

The changes had an immediate impact with Lee Bowyer coming close within seconds of the restart and, three minutes later, Harry Kewell eluding Feridnand and Mikael Silvestre to flick Ian Harte's right-footed cross past Fabien Barthez with a clever header.

Leeds managed to hold on for their first victory over their trans-Pennine rivals in 10 attempts to move top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of Arsenal's encounter with Charlton Athletic later in the day. Following defeat by Bolton Wanderers three days earlier, meanwhile, Ferdinand's United slipped to ninth place in the standings with eight points from six matches.

Ferdinand enjoyed the last laugh, however, as United rallied to reclaim their Barclays Premier League crown, finishing five points above Arsenal, and 36 above Leeds, whose campaign ended in a 15th-place finish, five points above the relegation zone.

Ten years and six Barclays Premier League titles later the 34-year-old Ferdinand remains a central figure at United, for whom he has made 301 of his 482 top-flight appearances.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Rio Ferdinand's unhappy return to Elland Road with Manchester United in 2002