Round 1: Tuesday 29 September 1998
CS Maritimo 1 - 0 Leeds United
(AET: 1 - 1 on aggregate: Leeds win 4 - 1 on pens)
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
Referee: F Sthchlik (Austria)
|« Tottenham Hotspur||Leicester City »|
|Leeds||Martyn, Hiden, Molenaar, Radebe, Harte, Hopkin (Granville 120), Bowyer (Wijnhard 75), Halle, Haaland, Kewell (Sharpe 76), Hasselbaink||Robinson, Wetherall, Lilley, Woodgate|
|CS Maritimo||van der Straten, Jorge, Soares, Oscar, J. Silva, Jokanovic (P. Silva 64), M. Antonio, Eusebio, Lopes (P. Antonio 85), Bunbury, Nelson (Cruz 65)||Fernandez, Rodrigues, Vasco, Camara|
|CS Maritimo||Soares 45|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|CS Maritimo||Oscar, P Antonio|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||?||?|
|Matthew Gaynor||Last Night|
|The Guardian||Sharpe has the last word|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds hold nerve|
|The Times||Leeds are made to dig deep|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Out on a high|
Twenty minutes winding drive through the mountains / hills, you suddenly turn a bend and see Funchal thousands of feet below you, a truly spectacular sight, and then the last ten minutes are spent going steeply downhill. Wandering back from the town a few beers later, the odd chant of 'We are Leeds' could be heard echoing down from the hillside and a few flags are spotted hanging from hotel balconies.
Tuesday was spent how you'd like to spend most match-days, wandering around a beautiful town, sharing a couple of bottles of Madeiran wine with your mates, whilst chatting to a passing Norman Hunter. We also managed to go and have a quick swim just before kick-off (not much chance of that in England - I don't like the look of the water at Middlesboro).
From what I saw the atmosphere in town was pretty good all day, spent some time in the main square where a sizeable group of Leeds fans were drinking and singing, with an audience of curious locals, and police who kept their distance and were quite relaxed about it all. I think the beauty of the setting was somewhat wasted on many of the fans, quite a few were pretty drunk at the ground later, but each to their own, and the locals still seemed untroubled
The ground itself is set into the hillside, and is surrounded by an athletics track which meant most of the fans were well back from the pitch. There were two crescent like stands on either side, with no crowd at either end. The Leeds fans were scattered around level with one of the goal areas and the view was fine where I was and as there were about a thousand of us in a space for about 1500, plenty of room to move around. Risdale came into the crowd before the game, and apparently confirmed GG was going and that Leeds were going after Strachan. Consequently the Leeds fans were more anti-Graham than at Tottenham, along with the usual chants we had; "Loyal supporters", "We'll be here when you have gone", "Play your hearts out for the lads," and a few in support of Eddie Gray. The Maritimo fans were pretty noisy as well, although the good initial atmosphere drifted away a bit as the tedium unfolded before us.
The game ? - well it was crap - worse than Everton IMO, Leeds only managed one fluent move in 120 minutes and I never really thought we were going to score. We started with 4-5-1, Alfie,Hopkin and Bowyer in the middle and Kewell and Halle wide. About the only players worthy of a mention were Bowyer and inevitably Lucas, so we were not impressed when LeeBowya was subbed for Wijnhard.
After Clyde came on we were a bit better, Sharpe done OK and was definitely an improvement on Kewell and Jimmy had some support, though as usual he spent a lot of time on his arse whingeing at the ref. Maritimo were the better team but again didn't look particularly dangerous, played neat football at times without going anywhere with it. The goal was from a set piece, lost marking I presume, we are letting a lot in from set pieces the last few days. The Portuguese also managed to out act Jimmy in the histerionics department, one particular Oscar winning effort caused enough of a reaction to get someone sent off from the Leeds bench. Though we were disappointed when it was DOL who emerged from the dugout and not GG. Penalties were inevitable but we took them well, even if most of us thought at the time that Lilley had taken Granville's one. A piece of gamemanship from Nigel helped unsettle their third taker and after he missed most of their fans had wandered off before Sharpe knocked in the winner. This provoked for once, more frenzied celebrations on the pitch than on the stand, both Alfie and Clyde seemed determined to try and get over the fence into the fans, barbed wire and all.
By the time it had all finished it was nearly midnight and luckily our coach which was meant to be leaving for the airport at 11.15 had waited, so a mountain top dash to the airport later our plane only left about 15 minutes late.
Got to a deserted Lisbon airport at about 3am, found a patch of floor to sleep on and woke up 4 hours later to find out we were sleeping under the Air Portugal check in desk and were now part of the queue. That's it, a great trip, a crap game rescued by the excitement of penalties, totally exhausted. Leicester at home doesn't seem quite so exciting at the moment.
Gradually more LU fans arrived and at 5 the main lot on the coaches from Leeds turned up. We checked-in and waited for the 7am boarding.
So we're waiting to board, and people are walking past, back from their hols. Along comes a guy in a Blackburn shirt, so we all jeer, and someone says good job it wasn't a Man U shirt - he'd have been slaughtered.
But next thing boos ring out as who should walk past but Alex Ferguson! Replendent in club blazer and grinning on his way to Munich. Everyone chants 'scum, scum, scum!' then 'We hate Man U and we hate Man U...' and walking through a horde of Leeds fans Alex is looking just a little uncomfortable :-). We're waiting for the players but guess after seeing what just happended they might have held them back!
We get on the plane and then hear that the Neville brothers came through and got load more stick.
So, 4 hours later we land on Madeira which someone said has the shortest runway in Europe. The plane stops metres from the water at the end, and it's looking very cloudy but once we get out it's really warm - 28 degrees. We walk out though the almost empty airport, get on 5 coaches and get a police escort along the windy roads to the capital, Funchal, and all along people are staring at us, and occasionally we get hand signals from men by the road telling us how many goals they'll score (usually 1 or 2).
We have around 6 hours before the match, and we're let loose to discover the the delights of Funchal - the museums, the botanical gardens, the old churches and the cobbled streets rising up the mountain-side - or else just get pissed as usual!
We had a walk around town first. Its not a big town, and not very 'touristy', thought the tourist season ends before September. We then spent the rest of the time in the bars - in the centre loads of Leeds fans were singing loud to the bemusement of the locals - stuff like No surrender, Land of hope and glory and Rule Brittania. Dickheads! There are policemen dotted around, but there's no trouble anywhere.
Around 7:15, we were taken by coach to the ground, a mile or so up the hill and arrive 90 minutes before kickoff. The ground is small, with two side stands (there are no end-stands) which curve around the corners and are separated from the pitch by 10 foot fencing with barbed wire on top. There is a running track around the pitch, which looks of decent quality. We are in one uncovered corner and the view is really impressive. We're facing down towards the bay, and to the left the steep hill on which Funchal is built fades away behind the clouds at the top.
The match programme was free, but is black and white and all in Portuguese. The Leeds squad is listed by first name, so we have: Nigel M, Martin, Robert, Lucas, Ian, Alfie, David, Lee, Harry, Clyde e Jimmy. And SOTG is described as 'fabuluso Estadio Elland Road'! I'll see if I can get it scanned and put on the web.
Now comes the unreal pre-match entertainment. There is a massive speaker set-up in front of both ends of the main stand, one of them right in front of us. As the ground fills up, a man in a red cap on the running track plays terrible portuguese dance records on a turntable at unbelievable volume. The bass is so loud I can feel it through my body. After and during each record the man is shouting stuff into the mic. Don't know what he's saying, obviously, but every sentence ends in 'Maaaaaaaaaaritimooooooooooo!'. Dancing to the music on the touchline are some girls in very short shorts, and occasionally the music stops to let some traditional dancers and musicians play just as loud.
Also there is a man in a purple cape and 'glamorous assistant' who (man in cape) alternatively performs a fire breathing act, or does magic tricks like hand-in-the guilotine. If only the beer wasn't non-alcoholic...
Anyway, the ground is filling up, the flags are being tied to the fencing, its still hot and after 90 minutes of this we're ready for the match...
So the match starts, but not before Ridsdale does his 'speak to the fans' bit, telling us GG is going for definate, it seems strange to tell us before the match - surely he knew we'd have a go at GG, or is that what he wanted? The team were applauded on to the pitch, GG was booed and whistled at, and the anti-GG chants started - hardly good backing for the team, but we'd just learnt our manager was leaving the next day for another team - what could you do?
The match was dire, worse than the 1st leg.
Radebe as ever put on a great performance, intercepting and breaking up most attacks that came his way, and Martyn had most things covered, including a great save from a point-blank header in the first half which he turned round the post.
Harte though had an appauling game, everything he did went wrong, every ball down the wing seemed to go out for a throw-in.
Out of our midfield & attack, Hopkin and Bowyer probably played best, but passing throughout the team was very poor. I can hardly remember any shot we had, Jimmy never had the time to create anything. I think there were too many 'squad' players - Haaland, Halle, Harte and Molenaar. When they play well their fine - but they were all poor. We needed some class - Ribeiro, and Sharpe on from the start instead of poor Harry, would have helped. Sharpe can't just come into a game like this that late on.
Maritimo were just as committed as we were, but they had more skill, could pass the ball and simply keep possession. The first half was dominated by them but their finishing was never up to much. Their defending was as good as it was in the 1st leg and that plus Jimmy up on his own made our attack pathetic.
They scored in injury time in the first half from a powerful header off a free-kick - I don't think Martyn could do much about it.
O'leary got sent off late on the game, after one of their players fell over near the dugout, got a free-kick and DO'L made that diving motion with his hands. The fans thought GG was going and chanted 'off, off, off!' but O'leary was escorted past the jeering Maritimo fans back to the dressing room.
Before extra-time started the teams gathered on the pitch for a team talk, to get a drink and to try and get rid of cramp affecting some players. We played better in extra time but still Jimmy couldn't get through the defence - more than once blocking his shots. They had their best chance one of their payers broke through our defence and was one-on-one with Martyn but he shot way over the top. That should have won the game for them.
So after all that penalties were next - a complete lottery - some Leeds fans even left rather than face the agony.
The penalties were taken at our end of the stadium, us first. I don't think our takers were picked, they just volunteered.
I might have got the order wrong a bit, but I know Harte went first,
there was loads of whistling and jeering and he scored. 1-0
Then they hit a great one low in the left corner. 1-1
Then Haaland scored. 2-1
Their second hit the left post and bounced out. 2-1
Then Granville (who looks like Lilley) took his quickly and scored. 3-1
Just before they took their third, Martyn pointed to the spot, indicating to the ref that the ball was off the spot (it wasn't). He made the player pick it up, and then put it on the exact same spot - he shot high over the top. 3-1
Then Sharpe stepped up and scored our 4th. 4-1
Their last penalty went wide to the left. 3-1. Then everything went mental. We surged down the steps to the front and the players ran over and we were trying to touch them (oo-er!) through the fence, Jimmy jumped half way up the fence and I touched Lucas's head!
So, it was a fantastic away trip, probably the best I've experienced, a poor match but a truly fantastic ending. The people of Madeira, including the police, were very friendly. Well worth the exhaustion.
PS. You can see some of the excellent programme at: http://www.hovington.demon.co.uk/maritimoprog.html
Leeds last night won a dramatic penalty shoot-out to calm George
Graham's nerves and send the Yorkshire side through to the second
The clock stood at 15 minutes short of midnight in this Madeira
holiday resort when Lee Sharpe stepped up to drill his side's fourth
successful penalty into the bottom of the net and set his team-mates
off on a jig of celebration.
The clock stood at 15 minutes short of midnight in this Madeira holiday resort when Lee Sharpe stepped up to drill his side's fourth successful penalty into the bottom of the net and set his team-mates off on a jig of celebration.
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