Leeds United 4 - 1 Lokomotiv Moscow
(Half-time: 2 - 0)
|« Sheffield Wednesday||Everton »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Batty, Bowyer, Kewell, McPhail, Bridges (Huckerby 62), Smith||Haaland, Hopkin, Robinson, Mills, Bakke, Jones|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Nigmatoulline, Arifoulline, Tchoughainov, Pachinine (Hovhannisyan 61), Drozdov, Kharlachev, Smertin, Sarkisian (Maminov 76), Lavrik, Loskov, Dztanashia (Boulykin 39)||Poliakov, Solomatine, Semenenko, Neretine|
|Leeds United||Bowyer 27, 45, Smith 56, Kewell 83|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Loskov 81|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Lokomotiv Moscow|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||11, 11, 17, 10||?|
|Jabba||Refs, rain and motorways|
|Nick Allen||vs Moscow|
|Joe Skinner||What a result|
|The Guardian||Bowyer brings the house down|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Bowyer helps Leeds make light work of Lokomotiv|
|The Times||Lokomotiv hit Leeds buffer|
|Express Sport||Bowyer puts brakes on Lokomotiv with double|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||Ten of the best|
|BBC||Leeds United 4 -1 Lokomotiv Moscow|
|Soccernet||A new benchmark|
You'd think that five and a half hours would be enough time to get from London to Leeds on a Thursday afternoon. But that was reckoning without the Leicester roadworks and what appeared to be a whole pile of people trying to get into Sheffield. 190 miles in 330 minutes: I could have biked it at about the same speed. And with the weather map showing clouds heading north, it was no surprise to find speed and accidents causing more delays at various points in between.
As it is, I found myself sprinting up the steps of the Revie Stand just as the game was about to start. This was always going to be a momentous game: win it and break the club record of consecutive wins, get ourselves into a good position to get into the next round and get more positive press attention. And not one of the eleven who started were GG signings - Wilko, DOL and Eddie Gray are clearly the main men responsible for this team.
After Saturday's less than convincing victory over Sheff Wed, I was a bit apprehensive. DOL's comments talking up the opposition further fuelled the worries, and although Leeds had a lot of early pressure, Lokomotiv's quick breaks were always threatening, and after 20 minutes they'd had more shots on target than us. Michael Bridges was looking more of a threat down the wings rather than through the middle, and Alan Smith was being well-watched by the Russian defence - where were we going to get our breakthrough?
Not for the first time, it was Lee Bowyer who made the difference. In what looked like a well-drilled move, a free kick from the left was headed from beyond the back post into the centre by Jon Woodgate. The ball dropped for Bowyer - his shot was probably going in anyway, but a small deflection helped it on its way and we were in front.
Bowyer then had an excellent chance to increase the lead, but he never got on top of the ball and headed over the bar when unmarked. The ref had a mixed game and I guess we can't complain too much over his completely unjustified booking of Radebe in the 2nd half when he failed to take any action against Michael Bridges who, for the second game in a row, left the boot in on the keeper after he'd failed to latch on to a through ball. I thought Bridges would go off for what looked like a stamp from where we were, but we got away with conceding a free kick.
In first half injury time Bridges got away down the left and produced an excellent cross into the area. Lokomotiv looked dodgy on crosses all night, and when Lee Bowyer produced a superbly timed run to meet the ball on the six yard line, the Kop went up as his glancing header found the back of the net. "Bowyer for England" - are you watching Kevin Keegan? How can you pick Paul Ince ahead of Bowyer?
After half-time, the Russians came out and chased the game. Within a minute, another Leeds player showed why he should be an automatic choice for the upcoming Euro 2000 play-offs. Twice in a minute, he pulled off superb saves from Loskov that would have beaten many keepers and kept Leeds in the game. Having weathered the storm, Leeds began to dominate the game. David Batty had a masterful performance in the middle of the park, and his energy and tackling inspired the rest of the team. Stephen McPhail came more into the game in the 2nd half, but I still see him as a "possible" rather than a "probable" for the future. We are a little lightweight on the left-hand side, but might have posed more of a threat with Eirik Bakke or David Hopkin.
We had good cause to be thankful for the ref's casual interpretation of the rules when he allowed Alan Smith's goal to stand to take us three up, since his overhead volley - however well executed - was more than a little dangerous (and caught a defender in the head). Michael Bridges was replaced by Darren Huckerby, who immediately started to get at the defence in his usual way. The ref's decision went the other way a little later when a perfectly good ball-winning challenge from Radebe was penalised (and cost Lucas a yellow card to take him to the edge of a suspension). The resulting free-kick was well-taken, and Nige couldn't quite reach the ball as it dipped over the wall. 3-1 at home - a good result, but the crowd was silenced at the prospect of Moscow going home with an away goal and just needing two in the return leg to go through.
Two minutes later, that was academic as another dodgy refereeing decision went our way. Harry Kewell - who had inevitably fluffed an earlier one-on-one with the keeper - lashed a shot in from 20 yards and the net bulged - but Huckerby and Smith were jogging leisurely back from an offside position just in front of the goal. We'd have had no complaints if the goal had been disallowed - but it wasn't and (touch wood) I can't see them scoring three goals without reply in two weeks time.
Naturally DOL was a little bit more cautious, but this result and performance showed just how far Leeds have come in 12 months. Still a bit short of a squad, but what a team!
Not one of the starting line up last night deserves less than 8 out of 10 for this game. This was a superb peformance that really restored the belief that Leeds can play other teams off the park, after the dire stuff churned out in the last two games.
The opening 20 minutes were pretty tight. Moscow looked like a good team unit, tight passing, fighting for every ball, and closing down the space in the midfield. In that time we'd come close twice - early on a corner bounced off Woody's knee at the far post and the keeper got down well to scoop it out. A few minutes later Bowyer charged into the box onto a lovely through ball from Smith, he glided past a defender, but his shot went off the keeper's knee for a corner.
With Harte restored to left back and Big Uncle Gary switched back to right, the defence immediately looked steady. Kelly pushed up into an almost wing back position, and it was joy to see when after 20 minutes he charged down the right past their full back and swung in a cross - old fashioned overlapping full back play. This in turn took pressure off LeeBowya. Lucas and Woody got to grips with their forwards after some early flurries of activity from them. Woody was towering. Lucas kept winning the ball in sliding tackles, from the side, and from more behindish, and kept getting freekicks given against him. Much to his annoyance.
But it was the midfield where we were superb Bowyer, Batty, and McPhail were simply awesome. The tackling of all 3 was timely, hard, and fair - the distribution of all 3 meant that scarcely any possession was given away, and Bowyer's runs through the middle caused no end of havoc. Best English midfielder in the country bar none, well maybe Batty runs him close. Batty's playing as well as he ever has.
Up front Smith and Bridges ran them ragged, and with a little more more luck could have had a couple each. One particular turn, dummy and shot from Bridges in the first half was brilliant. Forest didn't see much of the ball when he came on for Bridges after about 65 minutes - no booing this time, David heard you all and he told you off in the programme notes.
They were reduced to long shots - but damn fine long shots they were - in the first half one from 35 yards dipped and swerved in the wind and hit the crossbar with Martyn beaten. And in the first minute of the second half Nige made two excellent flying saves to keep us 2 goals up.
1-0 A free kick on the left, where the penalty area meets the deadball line, McPhail whips to the back post, Bridges heads down, and Woodgate who is sort of sideways on to the goal on the 6 yards box, lays it back first time to Bowyer who lashes it home from 12 yards, via a defender's knee.
2-0 Long ball out the left wing, Bridges gets there first, heads for the by-line and swings in a cross that Bowyer meets at full stretch having run flat out from the halfway, with a glancing header the puts the ball in the bottom left corner. Stunning goal
3-0 Cross from the left, about half our team almost get a touch on it as it flashes across the face of goal, Kelly retrieves it on the right, a cross back in, Smith gets the header in, it goes up in the air, and almighty scramble, and suddenly Smith bicycles it into the roof of the net from 5 yards - and gets a defender's head in the process - Double Whammy.
3-1 Another "clean" tackle from Lucas at the top left of the box. Free kick given by the linesman and not the ref - and yet without going across and speaking to the linesman, the ref books Lucas ! Anyway, 25 yard left foot bender over the wall and down to the foot of the post. Maybe Nige should have got it - let's not be harsh.
4-1 Whipped in cross from the right wing, a defender takes it off Smithy's boot, but his clearance bounces out to Harry, who chest controls it round a bloke on the edge of the box, and hammers it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Well taken goal.
MARTYN -8- did his bit to ensure victory with those two stops early in the 2nd half
KELLY -8- Balanced the defence out - good tackling, and good going forward
HARTE -8- ditto.
RADEBE -8- More like it
WOODGATE -9- outstanding
BATTY -10- You'll never see a better midfield performance...
BOWYER -10- Unless he does it. But yet obviously not international quality yet, eh Kev? (no not you KOT)
McPHAIL -9- perhaps a little overshadowed by the other two, but don't be fooled his contribution was immense.
KEWELL -8- a constant threat, perhaps a little more room than he's become used to in domestic games.
BRIDGES -8- good performance but why can't he play 90 minutes?
SMITH -9- proved that they don't like it up'em.
Subs - Huckerby came on to little effect.
Crowd - big'n'noisy
Ref - Silly booking of Lucas aside, the best I've seen this year.
Question - Why do we only play to the level of our opponents?
Well what can I say? F***ing good result for starters, thought we played well too and contrary to popular belief thought the referee was an arse - he seemed to blow up for every tackle and got conned by their diving (of which there was plenty)
That was never a free kick either that led to their goal, although I thought they were pretty good but just lost their way once the goals went in and their Lardass striker went off. Just how fat was he? and a headband - what's that all about? Sartorially challenged these Ruskies or stuck in the 80's ?.
Thought they started well and we took a while to get going, we played much better than in recent games and dominated the midfield. The only problems were that the buildup was overpassed and trying to be a bit too clever at times, lacking punch and bite up front. Can't remember much about the first two goals except that the first took a deflection on the way and the second was headed - good as far as I can remember and crucial too. Someone was right about those early goals setting us up as I think they do usually lead to a pasting.
They went close with a few efforts, most from long range but close non the less, don't remember too many passes to run onto or efforts from in the area. Good to go in at the break 2-nil up. They came steaming (no pun intended) out after the break and looked well lively, think they had a few more chances too. Smith netted another poachers goal (overhead kick?) but looked to have sparked someone out during it.
Ridiculous booking for the Chief and to cap it they scored from the bastard free kick (lifeline?). I think that woke us up and almost immediately Kewell scored a superb strike from edge of area, think Huckerby had come on for Bridges after 3rd went in. Game over.
Overall we played well, took most of our chances, contained a very good side (technically at least) who admittedly (apart from the striker) lacked any size which was probably crucial, as I thought we outmuscled them in defence and midfield and they didn't like it up 'em so to speak.
VERY good result and good performance sets us up well to progress further - assume to meet a champions league dropout as we're not seeded (boo)
Difficult to pick a MOM as everyone played well - would suggest Batty as Bowyer was quiet in spells on right (brace notwithstanding)
Nige didn't have too much to do but made good saves for 2 in particular, tipping them over, left another one which nearly went in and without being overcritical didn't do too much for free kick (still incensed?)
McPhail played well too - good passing, as did Kelly giving us some width, ditto Harte who gave us natural width on the left but was quietish too (still not 100% ?)
Kewell and Smith were their usual selves, Kewell taking on one too many players at times but good performance and goal all the same. Smith another poachers goal (name change from 'smudger' to 'sniffer' due ?)
Bridges fairly quiet but contributing all the same, Rads and Woody were solid and didn't give too much away.
Huckerby pressed well and in one moment harried 3 defenders until they gave it away - maybe leading to a goal or shot - can't remember. I'd like to see him start the away leg at least, think his pace could upset them on the counter attack.
There seemed to be a few instances when players were in acres of space (particularly Harry, Forest and Bowyer - yet players didn't pass to them, usually when on right - ego/personality problems and paybacks for previous non-passing or just the fact that most things go through centre or left ?)
Personally would have substituted Bowyer and McPhail (or maybe Kewell) for Jones and Bakke, as Lee is 1 yellow off a suspension, [although arguably the 1st round of the next tie is more crucial than the second leg of this one (assuming we go through)] Would have been good for them to get a run out, especially as we were 4-1 up and coasting, the extra pace and options plus fresh legs could have put tie beyond doubt.
Would never have dreamed of a better result, agree about DOL and kiddology, he led me to pick for a Locomotiv win in the predictions league (arse)
Copy from Football Unlimited of 22/10/1999.
The campaign for Lee Bowyer's elevation into the ranks of the senior England team moved into overdrive last night as Leeds took their domestic form on to the European stage in the Uefa Cup second round, first-leg, making light work of a formidable hurdle posed by Lokomotiv Moscow.
Bowyer was the architect of the Russians' downfall with two first-half goals from midfield, and further efforts from Alan Smith and Harry Kewell left the Premiership leaders looking at the third-round draw with cause for optimism.
Not even an 81st-minute goal from the Lokomotiv striker Dmitri Loskov could detract from another impressive display from a Leeds side oozing with confidence.
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