Round 2: Tuesday 3 November 1998
Leeds United 0 - 0 AS Roma
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Referee: B Heynemann (Germany)
|« Derby County||Sheffield Wednesday »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Hiden, Woodgate, Molenaar, Harte, Bowyer, Sharpe (Wijnhard 60), Hopkin, McPhail, Kewell, Hasselbaink||Haaland, Wetherall, Granville, Lilley, Halle, Robinson|
|AS Roma||Chimenti, Zago, Aldair, Sergio (Candela 46), Totti (Cafu 86), Di Francesco, Petruzzi, Wome, Tomic, Tommasi, Delvecchio||Alenichev, Bartelt, Gautieri, Frau, Campagnolo|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|AS Roma||Di Francesco, Wome, Petruzzi||Wome|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||?||?|
|Dave Woolmer||Good but not that good|
|Guy Bonello||Armchair Report|
|Nick Allen||vs Roma|
|Richard Lake||Was I watching the same game?|
|Claire Warwick||Hoarse and gutted|
|Mike Sewell||Second best|
|The Guardian||Limp Leeds say arrivederci|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds unable to hit home against reduced ranks|
|The Times||Leeds tumble out after firing blanks|
|Express Sport||Roma and out|
|The Independent||Leeds mades to pay for lack of ideas|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Out with a whimper|
|Soccernet||Soccernet match report|
Thought we did reasonably well first half against a technically superior team, and carved open 2 great chances that were hideously missed. 2nd half I'm afraid our shortcomings at present were brutally exposed. A team with a man less worked hard to cover g round, and we didn't have this skill or nous to be able to look like breaking them down.
Martyn - he was immense. A couple of flaps granted, but considering
the injury he was carrying, I thought he was outstanding.
Harte - looks to be carving out a career as a perennial nearly-man. Can do very good things, but clearly lacks the pace and class to really make it at the highest level. A good left back if our ambition is to compete with Leicester, Wimbledon and other mid-table dreamers, but simply not equipped to play with the very best. Personally from what I've seen of the 2, I think Granville shows the greater potential to develop as a player and crucially he has the extra yard of pace.
Hiden - a quality player to have at a club. A sort of high-class Halle really.... well worth holding on to as someone who can fill in any role, though Kelly will oust him when he returns. Suppose it depends o whether Hiden is happy to see himself in this utility function, or whether he wants constant 1dt team footy.
Woodgate - looks the absolute business. Didn't loom out of place, and clearly felt he belonged in such a match. Tie him down to a 20 year contract and sigh with pleasure as he sweeps all ebfore him.
BigBob - was actually impressed with him last night. He seemed to adopt the paternal senior role at centre back very naturally, and did as well as can be expected. Still must be noted that whenever their striker ran at pace at the heart of our defence, we looked fraigle and dependent upon Nige.
Bowyer - customary all-action, though still dubious distribution too often. He really needs that quality passer alongside him in the cenrte of the field, which sadly birngs us to....
McPhail - I actually had to go over the team in my head at half-time as I couldn't remember if McPhail was meant to be playing. He came into it more teh later it went on actually, but he was still too anonymous. Physically slaughtered by their midfield, a nd lacks any sort of authority at present. I really hope that O'Leary's belief i him will pay off, but I increasingly doubt it... we certainyl need someone else in teh centre of teh team at least in the short-term if we want to actually win matches and ge t a grip on the midfield.
Hopkin - started unnervingly well, but his pasing seemed to deteriorate during the evening. I'd put him in the same sort of category as Harte really. Yes. he's improved, but is he really the standard of player you'd see starting in a title challenging tea m? It is teh test of our ambition as a club whether we want to keep Hopkin et al in teh team and milk what we can out of them, or whether we say no, let's buy in that quality.
Sharpe - I don't blame the guy for being crap. 2 reasons. 1 - he has hardly played, and has never been given a decent run in teh team, like the youngsters, to get back up to top level speed and skill levels. 2 - I thought he genuinely tried last night. He was terrible, and the mates I was watching it with were laughing at him by half-time, but he really seemed to wnat to do better, Hard luck on teh guy, he's mucked his career up for whatever reason... let's flog him to Bolton or someone for 1. million and wish him the best....
Kewell - wow, a composed passer. He looked quality last night. Not at the top of his game, but looked as if he fitted in to this level of football. Sometime someone is going to have to make a decision about how he will fit into teh system O'Leary wants to play, and what position he'll play in. Playing in a hole behind a front 2 would still seem to be his natural position, or being given a fairly free roving role. That would require a degree of shaping the team around him. I think he's worth it.
Jimmy - O'Leary to sell him within 6 months and get in 2 new strikers (please let one be Flo from Chelsea...). Listening to people speak, O'Leary just doesn't seem to really rate him, and Jimmy has looked vastly less effective this season, since he really 'arrived' in english football. Worth cashing in on him for 6 million?????
The rest - Wijnhard - I thought we looked slightly better again when he came on, if only as it gave us another option up front. Worth keeping hold of, and giving more of a chance too.
O-Leary - I really would question (as I did before kick-off) the wisdom of playing Sharpe last night. Idon't think it's fair on Sharpe to give him random matches now and again, especially of the level of importance. I won't start judging OIL until he's ac tually made a couple of buys and we can see more clearly what he;s trying to build.....
Overall.. we did reasonably well aslt night against a patently better side.. if those shots against teh post in Rome had gone in.. who knows... the only certainty that remains is the Lawrenson is a tosser....
DOL gave Sharpe a start, and he was complete pants, appearing to have caught Roditis, falling over at every opportunity and missing a great chance early on. Leeds gave all they could, but did not create enough chances as the Roma defence was ably marshalled by Aldair.
Martyn 8 kept us in the game with some brilliant saves but still
flapped at crosses.
Hiden 7 Tried hard on the right.
Woodgate 7 Played with masurity beyond his age.
Molenaar 8 My MOTM. A rock, has been taking lessons from Lucas.
Harte 6 Tries hard but still can't pass to save his life.
Bowyer 8 Missed a 1-on-1 but is really maturing. Needs help in midfield though.
Hopkin 6 Crap first touch, is NOT a play-maker.
Kewell 7 Well-marked. moved out to left but crap support from Harte.
Sharpe 5 Absolute crap.Missed a sitter. Sell him!!!!!!!!
Jimmy 6 Tried hard, but off form. Needs support up front or a target man to play off.
Mcphail 7 Developing well. Ran his heart out in midfield
Clyde 7 Looked sharp. Should be given a run in the side up front with Jimmy.
Overall, the usual deficiencies in the side. The defence is Ok but we need creativity in midfield plus a holding player to allow bowyer to get forward more. If we do not sign a striker soon, we could be back to the strike rate of 2 seasons ago. Jimmy can not do it on his own!!!
It was a good job that Nigel made his "surprise" recovery because he made a string of top notch saves, to keep us in the hunt. Although according to a steward who'd been on duty all afternoon, there couldn't have been much doubt about his fitness, because he was out on the pitch throwing himself around for a couple of hours earlier - the guy also said that they'd been playing opera over the tannoy at top volume since 6 o'clock and it was driving him daft...
I had thought that the defence had been sound with Hiden, Woody and Bob doing a good job, but given the number of chances and corners that they had I'm not so sure. Harte was not very good. But he was made to look not bad by Sharpe, who had the worst 60 minutes in a Leeds shirt since Brolin waddled around. No control, not making any runs or angles for the passes, useless control - like letting the ball roll under his foot and into touch, not once, but several times - and wasn't it just typical that our best early chance came to hime on the edge of the box on his right foot - he passed it first time behind the goal for a goal kick, missing the goal by about 10 yards. This came from a great run down the right by Jimmy, who waited, drew 2 defenders in, before cutting the cross back to Sharpe...
And here's one of our main problems, at least half of all our good crosses/passes into the box came from Jimmy, well who's there to finish them if he's pinging the crosses in? No-one. He needs a partner. I'm now more than ever convinced that we should spend large on an established striker to partner Jimmy - we can create enough chances from Jimmy, Harry, LeeBowya, Bruno, McPhail, Hiden etc - we need a finisher.
Harry was again in and out - he just doesn't seem to be a front line forward - he's happy just off the front - he doesn't have the instinct for goal, and he's not going to throw himself into a dangerous space on the off chance - a la Jordan - but he is good at running at the defence, turning them, and getting crosses in.
Easily our MOTM was Bowyer, who was immense. All the usual stuff applies, He was the one player that convinced me he wanted to win, and would run for 90 minutes to do it. He made last ditch tackles in our box, was up making great supporting runs, if only Jimmy/Harry would pass to him early enough to put him through - once in the first half he danced through 4 lunging tackles on the edge of the box, only to scuff the shot, straight at the keeper's feet.
Our other really good chance, came from a low cross from the right - Hiden or Bowyer - which curved across the 6 yard box moving away from the goalie, Harry slid in but couldn't reach it, Clyde sliding in behind got a good contact, only for it to hit Harry on the back as he was still sliding along the ground, the ball got trapped there between Harry and Clyde, and eventually the keeper grabbed the loose ball.
The Italians did all the usual stuff that you expect, but this is what your up against when playing in Europe, its no good complaining about it, its experience, use it and come back better prepared next time. Cos with a striker next to Jimmy we could have beaten this lot - shows that our abiding legacy of GG's reign is a good team(spirit), tough to beat, but lacking the real quality to upset the best teams.
Laugh of the match. One of their blokes goes off the pitch for treatment and comes back on with a condom on his head - gives a whole new angle on Johnny Foreigner, really.
MARTYN -8- outstanding
HIDEN -7- very good going forward
WOODGATE -7- solid
MOLENAAR -7- a better game from him
HARTE -4- poor defending, worse distribution.
HOPKIN -7- beginning, finally, to look a decent midfielder.
BOWYER -9- MOTM our little gem - how long before we get a stlg6/7 million bid for him?
MCPHAIL -7- continued his impressive form - not getting physically bullied out of the game as easily now.
SHARPE -1- donate to Royle's charity shop now.
JIMMY -7- I'll say it again - He can't do it by himself.
HARRY -6- yes and no - in and out...
sub CLYDE -6- gave Jimmy support, held the ball up well - unfortunately doesn't look a finisher... yet.
Their sending off was on a par with Bruno's over there - some ref's would give it, some wouldn't.
The offsides given by both linesman were some of the worst I've ever seen.
Finally a big **** off to Leeds Utd and the custodians of the peace. This was our biggest game for ages, with a sell out crowd, they wanted us to "sing our hearts out for the lads", get behind the boys etc. and what do we get in the Kop - Fucking Ruth Madoc bing-bong type announcements all through the 2nd half asking " would all supporters in the North Stand please retake their seats" - so we all stood up, of course - followed by "will all regular supporters of Leeds Utd please sit down" - would we bollocks like - standing up singing "stand up if you're a regular supporter". All throughout this charade I could see big chief bobbies in their security hut at the corner of West and North stands with huge binoculars focussed on us - in our Kop - cheering on our team.
You know, Leeds, WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?
Sharpe aside, I thought we looked pretty good. Hopkin and Bowyer looked in charge in the middle and we looked fairly solid at the back. The only disappointing thing was the lack of finishing. Bowyer's chance, especially, was gilt edged and he struck me as being the most likely to score. I felt a bit sorry for Harte, as after the first few attempts, he became very reluctant to give the ball down the line to Sharpe, and was struggling to find anyone else to pass to.
Unfortunately, the problem with having so many kids in the team is that they all started to panic. Jimmy wanted to take everyone on all the time, Hopkin's passing became awful, Harry and Bowyer got tired. The only plus point was McPhail who came more and more into the game. However, it was not easy to see who had the man advantage, and being a man up and a goal down we should have made their keeper make at least one save.
Martyn - 8 Dropped a couple of crosses, but made some great saves as they hit on the break
Hiden - 7 Got into some great crossing position, but no-one wanted to get into the box for him
Woodgate - 8 First time I've seen him play. Blimey, he looks good!
Molenaar - 7 Solid in the air. Scrambled well when out of position.
Harte - 6.5 - Struggled in the first half. Looked better when Sharpe went off. At least he tried a shot in the 2nd half
Sharpe - 1 Dreadful
Bowyer - 8.5 My MOTM. Ran for the whole game, completely wasted when forced out wide. Should have scored though...
Hopkin - 6.5 Great tackling, lousy passing
McPhail - 7 Our most likely goal creator by a distance. Got better as the game wore on
Kewell - 7 Looked more threatening when playing wide. Very tired at the end
Jimmy - 5 Out of form and too whingey on the pitch. Him and Harry do not work as striking partners
Clyde - 6 We looked better when he came on (probably because Sharpe went off), but still no cutting edge
Overall I can't see where we are going to score goals this season, other than playing Wetherall as centre forward and putting in crosses from everywhere.
Anyway, cheers to Raffe for getting the tickets and him and Andy for driving.
Ironically it was not Lucas that we missed at all, especially in the second half the defence didn't have that much to do, and what they did they did very well, especially Molenaar and Woody, who was excellent. When you think that he's 18 and was making his 4th appearance he was awesome. No, it was the clueless passing in midfield that lost us that, along with strikers who couldn't hit a cow's arse with the proverbial at the moment. We very badly need a new holding player as Hoppo is frankly not up to it. Bowyer for all his hard work still loses the ball too much, and McPhail is still learning, although I though he had an OK game last night. Plus of course, to return to my usual refrain we badly miss Kelly, who would have given us the pace and width that we lacked. But all in all Roma are a very good team, that were just better than we are.
I just hope that we can qualify next year as the atmosphere was wonderful, full of a buzz of excitement and anticipation. We all kept discussing how we felt we had a chance even though rationality said we didn't, and this feeling lasted until at least half time. The atmosphere in general didn't really even begin to flag until the last 20 or so minutes when we began to realise that it really wasn't going to happen. I am glad I went though. It was an OK game for the most part, we are trying to improve, and we did play some good football, and Roma were brilliant at times. So no, I don;t grudge my husky tones this morning.
The kop actually made some noise for once which seemed to annoy the officials. "Could everyone in the North stand PLEASE sit down" - an open invitation for everyone to stand up and sing ! Could the kop continue this , starting with Sheff Wednesday on Sunday. I doubt it ! You've got the cunt on the microphone urging us to make noise like the players have never heard before and then on the tannoy you've got some old bint telling us to be quiet and sit down ! What the f*ck is going on indeed !!??
As for the performance I'm not gonna criticise anybody because as far as I'm concerned they all give 100 % but just weren't good enough. When you see how the Roma team pass the ball (even with 10 men) it just makes you realise that our lads are not in the same class. Lee Sharpe was the only real disappointment for me but he's hardly played a game after being out for a year and then is thrown in at the deep end. The fans jeer his every mistake with comments like "You shit scum bastard !" . His name on the team sheets is greeted with boos. He was nervous and a few poor touches early on basically paved the way for an off night for him. To his credit he had a couple of good runs. When he was substituted the cheer (and it wasn't for Wijnhart coming on !) was unnecessary ! Don't think we really missed Radebe which is credit to Woodgate and Molennaar , the latter being my man of the match. Woodgate looks confident but must learn that he can't bear hug the opposition striker when challenging for the ball, especially in Europe. The amount of times we gave away stupid free-kicks. Bowyer (the fittest man in the world) was excellent. He just gets a bit too excited at times ! Hopkin had a brilliant first half and lost his way in the second and McPhail had his best game for Leeds. Jimmy came alive with about 15 minutes to go and Kewell was in and out of the game but looked lively. Apparently, the BBC thought Roma were comfortable ! I wouldn't entirely agree with that - we pressurised then into some desperate defending at times but overall their keeper didn't have to make a decent save all night. Lots of scrambles but not many clear cut chances. Having said that if Sharpe (on his wrong foot) and Bowyer (who seemed surprised that he had just danced through their defence ) had converted fairly easy chances then it may have been different and what was in my eyes a decent performance would have been one of the best for years ! I hope they kept the Italians in for over an hour and then shepherded them back to the centre by massive ugly army bastards with batons and rifles. I doubt it though , that treatment is exclusively reserved for the English scum !!!
We were second best last night by some distance. In three key respects Roma taught us the difference between the notion of quality football in the Premiership ("best league in the world" A Gray and Sky passim) and top European club football:
1. When you have the ball you keep the ball.
2. When you attack you use pace, width, and decisive passing to carve open defences, one Roma counter attack in the second half was superb;
3. When you have to work you work as a unit, not in ones and twos.
At least two of these used to be cardinal rules of British football. The ten men of Roma, to whom all credit, exemplified them all last night. In the second half we were disjointed, lacked vision and were tactically naive. But for Martyn we'd have lost by two or three - their 'keeper had barely a difficult save to make. Our best players were Martyn, Molenaar (who did superbly), Woodgate and Bowyer. Theirs were hard to single out, though the sweeper did all that was asked of him very well. I don't think they had a weak link. We had at least four - Hiden going forward, Harte, Sharpe, and the woeful Hopkin.
The good points were that we kept a clean sheet and that we did so without Lucas and Kelly. We looked worthy of being on the same pitch as Roma. MacPhail didn't look out of his depth at all, Woodgate and Molenaar were excellent, we troubled them in the first half, Hiden defended very well. In the first half we matched Roma for commitment and we carved out the two best chances - both Bowyer and Sharpe should have done better. That said, neither side really deserved to be ahead at half time.
The bad points begin with the fact that we adapted far worse than they did to the sending off. We lost the plot, lost the ball, and lost the initiative. The weak points from the first half were magnified and the good ones diminished. We got behind them only twice. On one occasion Jimmy pulled back a very clever ball rather than shooting, but their defenders were more alive to it than our runners. Otherwise the best we created was Bowyer's cross/shot that neither Clyde nor Harry could do anything with except get in each other's way. Roma looked the more likely to score.
A number of faults were apparent. We tried too much narrow play and didn't use the wide areas to any advantage. Hiden, Sharpe, Harte, Kewell looked tentative out wide at best. That said, however, all of them took up good positions and weren't given the ball when in space often enough. When they were, it was too often slowly delivered, causing them to stop and wait or even turn back to face their own goal. Interceptions were legion. When it was played at pace in front of them it was usually sent out of play. Similarly, we could criticise the front players, but the service to them was too slow and predictable and the support too slow to get to them. Jimmy doesn't always release players as he should, but only Bowyer and Kewell make runs that call on him to do so. The rest don't get into the right places at the right times.
From the foregoing it will be clear that my main criticism is reserved for our midfielders and the full-backs. Sharpe was disappointing, but I tend to agree with Rich Walker's reasons why we shouldn't be too quick to slag him off. Even so, he seemed to have the wrong studs in, he made some elementary mistakes of ball control, and his miscue in front of goal was dreadful. MacPhail is young and promising. Last night he was often helping more experienced players out when they got into trouble. He can pass well and change the direction of the game with his passing. That he didn't turn things our way in his fourth or fifth start should not be held against him. We did miss Ribeiro's directness and his willingness to shoot. Bowyer was one of our best players, but he will only fulfill his potential when two things happen. One is that we must get people around him to feed his runs with passes that either reach him or go beyond him. Last night they were too often underhit, intercepted and became the basis for counter-attacks with him upfield. Second we need, desperately, a good holding player. We also need someone other then Hiden to attack down the right and make our play less lopsided. Bowyer isn't that man. He could fit well into a midfield three operating with wingbacks if the right players are near him.
The last point I'd make is that the journo in the Indy who thought Hopkin had a good game must be a white stick wielder. I thought Hoppo was the worst player on the field by a street, and the only one of ours who looked well short of the standard required. His ball-retention skills are appalling. When he does reach a team-mate with his passes the ball arrives too late, makes them stop and/or turn, and the pass is usually telegraphed. He thinks too slowly. He shies out of tackles, he needs too many touches, he is, on last night's showing, a liability. And when Bowyer makes forward runs, he doesn't get the cover he should from Hopkin. Put a good holding player who can both win and retain the ball in with Bowyer or Ribeiro and MacPhail, plus a decent right wing back, Kewell up front and not wide left, and we might start looking like scoring again. Given more chances, Jimmy's confidence should return and we can stop blaming the forwards for deficiencies further back. Jimmy is greedy and tries to beat too many defenders, but so do most good forwards. I'd rather see that than Hopkin's tendency to take two touches then play the ball to a man with three markers converging on him rather than shoot.
DOL is right to stress the good points of the performance. We did well against a top serie A team. But until we add creativity to the solidity and dominance in midfield to strength at the back we will not challenge the really good teams seriously. Let us hope that the new management team can find the right players and create such a team.
Despite facing 10 men for the whole of the second half Leeds United
were last night unable to match the intelligence or poise they
displayed in Rome and ultimately Roma's passage into the last 16 was
comfortable and deserved.
The red card shown to Roma's Cameroon defender Pierre Wome just before
half-time should have given Leeds the momentum, mentally and
physically, to pin the Italians back after a deflating first half, but
David O'Leary's young side never came close to doing that and the new
Leeds manager's pre-match assessment that his squad was too thin and
too inexperienced to compete successfully at this level proved
The red card shown to Roma's Cameroon defender Pierre Wome just before half-time should have given Leeds the momentum, mentally and physically, to pin the Italians back after a deflating first half, but David O'Leary's young side never came close to doing that and the new Leeds manager's pre-match assessment that his squad was too thin and too inexperienced to compete successfully at this level proved correct.
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