Arsenal v Sheffield United - FA Cup 5th round - 13th February 1999
Arsenal led at half-time courtesy of a Patrick Viera goal. The Blades equalised through Marcelo after an hour and shortly after the Brazilian hit the post.
Then United midfielder Lee Morris went down under a strong tackle from Viera and the ball was put out of play by United keeper Alan Kelly so he could receive treatment. The Arsenal throw-in was taken and chucked down the line towards Alan Kelly in the United goal. However, Kanu intercepted it and passed it through to Marc Overmars who was sprinting into the space left by the United defence assuming that they would receive the ball to restart from their keeper. He promptly slotted the ball home to put Arsenal 2-1 up.
The United players were apoplectic and manager Steve Bruce was infuriated on the touchline. He and his players demanded that the officials disallow the goal, but they couldn’t. No law of the game had been broken, rather an unwritten rule of sportsman like behaviour had been ignored. There was little the officials could do.
To be honest, Arsenal could have done something which other clubs have done since, which is allow United a clear path to score from the kick-off, but they didn’t. Bruce started ordering his players to leave the pitch and the 6,000 Blades fans chanted “Brucey, get em off, Brucey, Brucey, get em off!” but eventually the situation was calmed enough to let the game continue and it finished with the scoreline unchanged at 2-1.
Immediately after the game Arsene Wenger and Arsenal chairman David Dein offered to play the game again. This offer was accepted by United, sanctioned by the FA and the original game was declared void.
The rematch was held ten days later and in front of just over 37,000 Arsenal again notched up a 2-1 victory, but in more acceptable circumstances.