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3 months early, but who cares. Leeds went at Besiktas from the start, with Viduka replacing Bridges up front and Mills deputising for the unlucky Duberry. To be fair, it could have been a different game had a rocket shot from their best player hit the top left corner in the 5/6th minute, but a minute later Leeds had it in the net and there was no looking back - for the first time in a long time (probably since Sheff Wed away last season) we looked threatening every time we went forward and we looked like we'd got goals in us to spare.
I'm also chuffed that FOR ONCE we killed the game, not content at 1-0 or 2-0, or even 3-0 at half time, they kept at 'em and 6-0 was a fair reflection, which certainly could have been 10 or more, although that would have been a little unfair.
Besiktas looked comfortable on the ball, but their defence was shocking, exposed by crosses time and time again - their keeper is also a joke.
I'm sure everyone's read the match reports (there's an excellent minute by minute on the Uefa site, which is vastly improved over last year) so I won't go on.
Walked up to the Imperial after (bumped into the totty-twins) for a couple of Pints and watched the highlights. Bloody brilliant. AND Man U lost.
Now lets stuff Spurs.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 27/09/2000.
A Champions League campaign which almost seemed over before it had begun is emphatically back on course for Leeds United, a team which continues to draw strength from adversity.
Two weeks after being mauled by Barcelona in the Nou Camp, Leeds reduced to rubble Turkey's Besiktas to ensure that an evening with the potential for unrest following the deaths of two of the Yorskire club's supporters in Istanbul in April ended both peacefully and triumphantly.
After last week's defeat of Italy's AC Milan at the same venue, Leeds will now feel reasonably confident of progressing through into the tournament's next phase, a feat which many believed to be beyond them.
Copy from The Independent of 27/09/2000.
Only Milan's superior goal difference prevents Leeds United from heading Group H of the Champions' League at the half-way stage. With a display as scintillating as their Premiership performances have been sluggish, Leeds overwhelmed Besiktas to record the biggest win of David O'Leary's two-year reign.
Leeds, who led 3-0 with only a quarter of the match played, entered the final minute leading 4-0 but were still not sated. Darren Huckerby scored the fifth from close range and then, in stoppage time, made the run and pass which gave Lee Bowyer his second goal of the night and sixth of the season.
The only sour note for Leeds was the booking of Alan Smith, who will now be suspended when the campaign resumes on 18 October.
On that night O'Leary takes his team back to Istanbul, where two of their supporters were killed before the Uefa Cup game against Galatasaray in April. Besiktas, in collaboration with Leeds, had been at pains to build bridges between Turkish and English football. Their gesture of throwing flowers to the crowd was heartily applauded and the gifts kept coming once the match began.
The early goals may not have stemmed from errors quite as elementary as the one Milan's goalkeeper, Dida, had perpetrated at Elland Road a week earlier. Yet it must have alarmed Besiktas' Italian coach, Nevio Scala, to see Leedsallowed so much space and time. Smith wasted a free header with barely 90 seconds played and the chances arrived with remarkable regularity.
Besiktas, 3-0 conquerors of Barcelona, were particularly vulnerable on the flanks. In the seventh minute, moments after Miroslav Karhan had sent a 25-yard drive just past Nigel Martyn's left-hand post, Smith lunged and missed as Ian Harte's low cross curled in from the left, but Bowyer, following in behind, scored easily.
Mark Viduka, preferred to Michael Bridges after belatedly returning from the Olympics, was sent clear by Smith three minutes later and somehow managed to hit the underside of the bar via Ike Shoronmu's diving body.
However, the Australian's scoring drought persisted only a further 60 seconds. Gary Kelly, given the freedom of the right wing, swung in a cross which found Viduka unmarked as he headed his first goal since a £6m summer switch from Celtic.
Besiktas' defending plumbed new depths midway through the first half. Following a short corner by Bowyer, they stood transfixed as Smith attempted to turn in Olivier Dacourt's pass. They were still motionless when Dominic Matteo pounced to open his account after a £4.5m move from Liverpool.
The bar again came to Besiktas' rescue 10 minutes before half-time, Matteo's shot rebounding into play after another Bowyer corner. The visitors' only response came from the Slovakian, Karhan, who headed narrowly wide.
Besiktas's quality going forward briefly manifested itself only briefly. Martyn made an agile save to keep out Ahmet Dursun's shot after the Turk had combined cleverly with Pascal Nouma, and the same combination saw Ahmet touch the ball past the keeper only to hit the side-netting.
It was the wake-up call Leeds needed. In the 65th minute, Viduka's power carried him deep into Besiktas territory, whereupon he showed his subtler side with a neat lay-off to Eirik Bakke. The Norwegian's shot tore into the net from 18 yards.
Sadly, the evening was not without ill feeling. In the heated exchanges which followed Karhan's cynical stamp on Lucas Radebe, Nouma lashed out at Danny Mills and was promptly substituted when he might well have been sent off. Leeds, given fresh impetus by the introduction of Huckerby, retaliated in the best way possible with their flurry of late goals.
Copy from SportLive of 26/09/2000.
SportLive is no longer operational. Should it return to the web, this report will be removed and the link restored.
Leeds' European Cup destiny is now in their own hands. That is the consequence of a wonderful display by David O'Leary's gallant team at Elland Road on Tuesday night.
A fortnight ago any hope of progressing beyond the first phase of the Champions League seemed laughable when they were torn apart at Barcelona. But how Group H has been turned on its head after Leeds performed their own act of destruction on Besiktas.
The resilience Leeds had shown to overcome AC Milan 1-0 here last week and the verve Besiktas had displayed during their remarkable 3-0 win over Barcelona in Istanbul added to what was always going to be a poignant encounter between these two sides.
But who could have predicted such a stunning performance by O'Leary's side as they made sure the evening would be remembered for its stunning football rather than anything else?
Even if it had been renegade Galatasaray fans who caused the death of two Leeds supporters in Turkey's capital last April, the build up to this game inevitably had an extra dimension to it.
There was an intense atmosphere at Elland Road, not least because there was a feeling that this was a must win game.
Given the number of key absentees it was a breathtaking display by Leeds as they put themselves in complete control by sweeping into a three-goal lead by half-time.
As expected the Besiktas players went out of their way to alleviate any hostility from the stands by each tossing a bouquet of flowers into the crowd. The gesture was well received but not as well as the start Leeds made.
In the seventh minute Elland Road erupted to acclaim a splendid opening goal by Lee Bowyer.
A week ago it was Bowyer's speculative last-minute effort which, with the help of Milan's erratic goalkeeper Dida, gave Leeds a memorable victory and revived their campaign after the humiliation they had suffered in Barcelona a fortnight ago.
There was nothing fortuitous about this goal. It was beautifully conceived and delightfully executed. Leeds moved the ball out to the left flank where Ian Harte had strode menacingly forward from his full-back berth.
The Republic of Ireland international's cross was low, with pace and rifled towards the edge of the six yard box inviting to be attacked.
Dominic Matteo did so but was fractionally late in arriving. Bowyer, though, read the situation, timing his run to perfection to respond to Matteo's miss by rolling the ball beyond Besiktas keeper Ike Shorunmu.
It was the perfect riposte to the early threat from the Turkish club. A minute earlier central defender Miroslav Karhan had galloped forward and unleashed a fearsome 30-yard drive which flew just past Nigel Martyn's right-hand post.
Bowyer's early strike had a profound impact on the psyche of both teams. Suddenly Leeds exuded a level of confidence not seen this season, while Besiktas simply crumbled.
In the 10th minute Mark Viduka, back from his tour of duty with the Australian team at the Sydney Olympics, was allowed to run on to Alan Smith's clever flick unchallenged.
Even if there was a hint of offside it was negligent defending by Besiktas, but so was Viduka's finishing.
Maybe he had too much time to pick his spot as he moved into the area, but while Shorunmu spread himself well Viduka ought to have done better than drive his effort at the keeper, who managed to deflect the ball on to the bar via his legs.
Yet within a minute Viduka had the chance to make amends. He did so emphatically although Besiktas's central defenders were nowhere to be seen as Gary Kelly hoisted the ball over from the right inviting Viduka to jump unimpeded and head home from seven yards.
It was his first goal for the club since his £6million move from Celtic and vindicated O'Leary's decision to pick him despite arriving home in the early hours of Friday from Sydney.
Surely it could not get better than this. But it did. After Martyn had been grateful to see Ahmet Dursun turn cleverly only to shoot straight at him from close range, Leeds proceeded to go up the other end and score again.
Viduka found himself offered so much space again and this time it allowed him to let loose from 25 yards. Shorunmu tipped the effort over for a corner but Besiktas failed to defend it properly.
Bowyer played it short to Olivier Dacourt who crossed low towards the near post. Smith met the ball but it bounced off his body into the path of Matteo who lashed it home. Time on the clock? 22 minutes. Incredible.
And they might have gone into the interval four to the good had Shorunmu not shown magnificent reflexes to turn Matteo's shot on to his bar.
Besiktas offered a brief glimpse of the attacking threat they may offer when the teams meet again in three weeks. In the 57th minute Dursun wriggled free but was denied by Martyn's outstretched leg.
Then Umit shot wide when through, but Leeds' supremacy was emphasised in the 65 minute when Viduka teased the Turkish defence before inviting Bakke to unleash a shot from the edge of the area.
The only sour note was Smith's booking for a foolish foul which puts him out of the Istanbul game. However, given the circumstances, this was a night to savour for Leeds as substitute Darren Huckerby added the fifth before setting up Bowyer for the sixth.
Copy from Electronic Telegraph of 27/09/2000.
THREE up within 22 minutes, Leeds were simply too powerful and incisive for a powder-puff Besiktas side, whose three central defenders were repeatedly embarrassed. Tackling and marking seemed an alien art to the Turks.
Leeds revelled in it, sweeping forward in wave after white wave, racing down the flanks and charging through the middle, thrilling the 34,485 inside Elland Road. There were eye-catching displays everywhere. Eirik Bakke, who added a second-half fourth, stood tall and untroubled in central midfield. Ian Bowyer sped up and down the right like a whippet; on the left flank, Dominic Matteo and Ian Harte kept combining well, ensuring a steady supply of crosses.
In attack, Viduka looked a real No 9, holding up play and muscling forward with defenders bouncing off him like underpowered dodgems. Pace and persistence characterised Viduka's striking sidekick, Alan Smith, who gave Besiktas' defenders nightmares.
Ahmet Dursun, who had scored twice against the Catalans, showed moments of class, bringing a straightforward 18th-minute save from Nigel Martyn but otherwise Besiktas' first-half display contained only calamity.
Picking up where they had left off so famously against A C Milan last week, Leeds swiftly found the net. Again Bowyer, whose late long-ranger had defeated the Italians, was centre-stage, scoring within seven minutes.
Harte's sprint down the left caught Besiktas completely cold and his cross, curling slightly away from the keeper, was met firmly by Bowyer, who had ghosted unmarked into the six-yard box. Ike Shorunmu, Besiktas' Nigerian keeper, stood no chance from such close range.
The Turks' defensive vulnerabilities were soon exposed again. Moments after missing an easy chance when released by Smith, Viduka made amends, heading in Gary Kelly's cross from the right. Again the marking was an embarrassment.
Viduka enjoyed the moment, particularly as he had endured a frosty reception after arriving back late from the Sydney Games. O'Leary was known to have been annoyed but the experience appeared to have done Viduka no harm.
The Australian was also involved in the corner that led to Leeds' third, speeding past two attempted challenges before unleashing a drive that Shorunmu pushed over. Bowyer slid a short corner to Olivier Dacourt, who dummied to play the ball back, turned and whipped in a cross into the box.
Smith's challenge having put off Shorunmu, Matteo reacted quickest to the loose ball, controlling it and then shooting in from four yards. Matteo almost added another shortly before half-time but was denied by the bar.
But the scoring had not finished, Leeds' fourth arriving in the 65th minute. Smith, a real box of tricks, slipped the ball through to Viduka, who steered the ball towards the edge of the box, held off a challenge and set up Bakke. Further goals in injury-time from Darren Huckerby and Lee Bowyer completed the rout.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 27/09/2000.
POWERPLAY of the greatest ferocity, intensity and explosive dynamism propelled Leeds United to a European night to rank among their greatest.
They simply swept aside a token Turkish challenge with a display which planted them firmly on top of Group H at the halfway stage and will have sent reverberations around the continent.
Leeds are the talk of the tournament today, not merely because they have turned the most difficult group of them all on its head and are now set fair for second stage qualification but more because of the clinical, merciless way in which they finished off a wooden outfit which, long before the end, looked very sorry indeed.
How can they have beaten Barcelona 3-0? More pertinently, perhaps, how can Leeds have lost 4-0 to the Catalans?
This is a strange quartet indeed and, with Leeds crushing the Turks as they did and AC Milan leaving the Nou Camp with a 2-0 victory, it gets stranger by the match night.
On this particular evening Besiktas were lambs to the slaughter. It was all over, to every intent and purpose, in 22 minutes, by which time United were three up against a side playing on English soil for the first time in 17 years.
They may as well have been playing flutes.
Up front United manager David O'Leary preferred Mark Viduka, recently returned from Olympic duties in Australia, to Michael Bridges, whose failure to find the net in an extended run this season is a source of concern.
Before kick-off every Turkish player handed bouquets of flowers to the United crowd in memory of the two fans who lost their lives on last April's ill-fated visit to Istanbul. And that was the prelude to a succession of gifts.
United were stung into action when Miroslav Karhan let loose a 20-yard drive that was too close for comfort and were a goal up in the seventh minute.
Ian Harte's cross was like a perty invitation and when Alan Smith narrowly failed to connect Lee Bowyer was there behind him to tuck the ball home for his fifth goal of the season.
It seemed they must increase their lead three minutes later when Smith judged his pass perfectly into the path of Viduka who, with only the keeper to beat, contrived to hit the ball straight at him and he pushed it onto the bar.
But the Aussie made full amends in the 12th minute, planting a firm header past Shorunmu from Gary Kelly's inch-perfect cross for his first Leeds goal.
United, rampant now, had the Turks in complete disarray, but after 18 minutes they gave a reminder of their reputed abilities when Nouma crossed well from the left only for Dursun to shoot straight at Martyn from eight yards.
The reply was a stinging long-range shot from Viduka which Shorunmu tipped over for a corner and it was from the flag-kick that United went three in front in the 22nd minute.
Dacourt's cross from the right created mayhem in the Besiktas defence and with United players queueing up for the final touch it was Dominic Matteo who succeeded, also for his debut goal for the club.
Radebe was in with a timely tackle when Ibrahim and Dursun combined menacingly in the 29th minute and this was turning into a gala night with almost every Leeds touch bearing fruit.
Quite the reverse was the case with Besiktas, for whom Ibrahim put a reasonable shooting chance ten minutes from the interval obscenely wide.
Back came United and Matteo was unlucky to see his fine header from Bowyer's corner smash against the post with Radebe, following up with a stunning blast, only narrowly wide.
A shocker of a backpass from Khlestov had Shoronmu scurrying to beat the onrushing Viduka and, really, only paper hankies get into such tatters.
We were alerted to a second half action replay when, with the period only six minutes old, Bakke danced away on the right and sent over a perfect cross which Smith seemed certain to convert with his header, but it flew across the face of goal.
Dursun, too, should have scored at the other end, but Martyn spread himself to keep out the goalbound shot with his legs.
And to maintain the series Ibrahim's sliderule pass put Umit away, but his shot went the wrong side of the post.
Matteo tried his luck and he would have succeeded but for a brave block by Khlestov at the expense of a corner.
It was Eirik Bakke who showed them all the way in the 65th minute. Smith cleverly nudged Viduka through and he laid it square for the Norwegian to blast home his shot at the near post.
Quickfire bookings for Smith, for a foul, and Nouma, for flinging his shirt when substituted, mean that both strikers will miss the return in Istanbul on October 18.
Bakke was robbed near the end by a fine save from his header, but from Bowyer's corner Harte headed on and substitute Huckerby swivelled to bury his shot in the far corner.
And in injury time Huckerby weaved some magic down the left before crossing to the far post, where Bowyer was ready and waiting to gobble up the chance.