Round 2: Tuesday 20 October 1998
AS Roma 1 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
Referee: A Nieto Lopez (Spain)
|« Nottingham Forest||Chelsea »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Hiden, Molenaar, Radebe, Halle, McPhail, Ribeiro, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell (Haaland 69), Hasselbaink (Wijnhard 84)||Robinson, Wetherall, Sharpe, Granville, Woodgate|
|AS Roma||Chimenti, Cafu, Zago, Aldair, Candela, Tommasi, Frau (Bartelt 60), Di Biagio, Totti, Delvecchio, Di Francesco|
|AS Roma||Delvecchio 18|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|AS Roma||Aldair, Di Francesco, Di Biagio|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||0||?|
|Matt G||Roma Report|
|The Guardian||Leeds halt Roman legion|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Defiant Leeds hold out after Ribeiro dismissed|
|The Times||Leeds go down fighting as woodwork saves Italians|
|Express Sport||Ribeiro spoils O'Leary's night|
|The Independent||Radebe's slip short-changes Leeds|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Magnifico but so unlucky|
Then after a cock-up at the hotel as they'd got the reservations wrong, we spent half-hour playing musical beds (carrying them up and down the stairs) to ensure that the couples / families in our group didn't get split up. Then we hit the town and found a bar to jeer Judas George from, whilst watching the Sky game. The barman then got one of his mates to open his Pizza place for us to eat in the early hours.
An early start on Tuesday to see the sights, first to the Vatican (covered in scaffolding), but St Peters is breathtaking. Then through the 4 miles of the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel (though after a couple of hours looking at artistic masterpieces you to become somewhat anethanatised (sic) to their beauty.) A whistlestop tour through the other sights, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Coliseum and the number of Leeds fans wandering around or sitting outside bars grew during the day, closely watched by the Caribineri but no signs of trouble.
We didn't really fancy getting to the ground 2 hours before kick-off, so we got out of the city centre, where the police were rounding up Leeds fans and putting them on buses to the ground and took the metro to as close to the ground as we could get. We then found a bar out of the way and after a while looked for a taxi to the stadium. It went a bit wrong around this stage as we couldn't find a taxi and as we decided to walk our group split up. Despite being told we couldn't miss the ground, Olympic Stadiums are quite big after all, we couldn't find it. So there followed a nervous walk in the dark, with Roma fans on scooters whizzing all around us, we kept our mouths shut and eventually got into the ground only 5 minutes late, with no hassle. Though some of our group said they'd been a bit of bottle throwing outside from our morons a few minutes earlier.
The ground is very impressive, we were in the corner near the top, about 20 yards from the nearest Roma fans who pretty much filled the 2 'Curvas' behind the goals, but there was loads of space at the sides, which meant the ground was just over half full, including about 2000 Leeds packed tightly together, standing on the plastic seats. The Roma fans nearest to us were responding to some drummers at the front, but each beat of the drum brought a chant of Leeds from our bit. The police just watched us and I didn't see any problems with them, unfortunately they also didn't seem to bothered with the Italians chucking missiles at us, which resulted in a couple of cuts heads that I saw, or the flare that came towards us at the end of the game. They also made no attempt to stop them climbing on the fences to goad us after they'd scored, luckily apart from a few hand signals none of our lot responded.
The support from our fans was tremendous, there were half a dozen Lazio fans next to us who loved it and at half-time as a what will become legendary WATC- COE started, they looked at us in amazement for 30 seconds before taking their shirts off and joining in. Roma fans were gobsmacked at this point.
I'm sure most of you saw the game, I thought we were brilliant for the first half and very unlucky to be behind, Lucas was magnificent as usual, Harry had his best game of the season and though I was amazed he was playing, McPhail played well. Have to congratulate DOL and Eddie on a brave selection. The sending-off obviously changed the game, a lot of Leeds fans didn't even realise Bruno had gone off for a few minutes, but we defended well thereafter and could even have nicked an equaliser. Roma fans were flooding out long before the end, "time to go……..".
After the game we were kept behind for an hour as expected. Time passed pretty quickly, loads of singing aimed at Risdale who was watching us from the Directors box, David Weatherall who was running up and down the pitch and DOL who appeared on the video screen to talk to us. There was also a video of the games so far this season and after about 40 minutes in response to chants from the crowd, the team reappeared for a curtain call. It was also quite warm and most Leeds fans were happy enough to wander around chatting to their mates until we were let out. It then took about another half an hour before all the buses were ready and we were taken back to the centre of town. Dropping a few hundred Leeds fans off at the same place at gone midnight could have been a bit dodgy, but everyone seemed to disperse pretty quickly. Indeed although there were rumours of problems around the station on Monday, I didn't see any trouble in 3 days.
We found another empty bar for a couple of drinks and again the owner disappeared to rustle up some food for us at around 2am. Just left Wednesday morning for some shopping and souvenir hunting, Roma shirts with Totti on the back seemed to be a popular present. Then another flight full of Leeds fans back to Stanstead around lunchtime, after stopping to have photos taken with Risdale at the airport, he was happy enough to chat (no he hadn't spoken to MON) and is ridiculously popular for a football club chairman.
All in all another fabulous 3 days, even more fun than Madiera which was great fun itself, and it all cost about £200 for the whole trip flights, hotels, tickets the lot. Was it Voice who said he preferred a Div 1 promotion campaign to the European stuff, well I don't remember having this good a time in Swindon or Bournemouth.
Leeds may have lost on the night but it was only by a single goal and
after both Bruno Ribeiro and Gunnar Halle had smacked shots against
the Roma woodwork. They were also forced to play the last 35 minutes
without Ribeiro, harshly dismissed for two poor but non-malicious
True, there were scares in that final third of the game, but only
Marco Delvecchio's 18th-minute goal will separate the teams for the
return leg in Yorkshire in a fortnight. It could have been even better
for O'Leary had Lee Bowyer's last-minute volley flashed an inch inside
the Roma posts.
True, there were scares in that final third of the game, but only Marco Delvecchio's 18th-minute goal will separate the teams for the return leg in Yorkshire in a fortnight. It could have been even better for O'Leary had Lee Bowyer's last-minute volley flashed an inch inside the Roma posts.
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