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Simply not good enough. A lazy performance. Should have come out 2nd half and buried them, instead we sat back and invited them to waltz through the middle of the park.
I missed the first 15 mins as I couldn't sneak out of work in time. Turned telly on just in time to se Kewell run the length of the pitch and score a lovely goal. For most of the 1st half we looked in total control and I thought we'd get another, Kewell's shot hitting the bar almost doing it. Then Rio, Mills and Nartyn manage to do an impersonation of the keystone cops and gift the hoppers a goal. Keane restores the lead after Viduka failed to control the ball.
2nd half we were pants. No interest, no energy, no inventiveness. Viduka - God I hope he's the one out of ER. Fu*k the big man up front theory it'd be just as much use putting a barn door up front, at least it's less likely to fall over. Kewell has an amazing amount of skill but after his goal he thought he could beat everybody and didn't need to bother passing to a team-mate. Also he couldn't be arsed to track back and harte was getting murdered by that little dwarf the Hoppers put on, thank christ he didn't start, we would've got stuffed.
Martyn - 1/3 blame in the Hoppers goal, otherwise solid, one great save near
At least DOL looked livid at the final whistle even if he didn't make any subs.
Strange one this.
We were miles and away the best team and yet the way that they took the opportunities that came their way you can't deny that they deserved the draw on the night.
We were like lightning for the first 40 minutes or so - playing a sort of 4-2-3-1 arrangement. Flat back 4 - where Kelly was marvellous defensively, even if his distribution was a bit lacking - good positional playing, clean tackles, close marking not allowing his man room to turn (where Mills tends to stand off, and attempt to swoop in after the man has the ball under control). That said Mills did well enough at centre half - but once again his speed got him out of jams that his bad positional play created. Ferdinand and Mills had the whole game sorted - except for the goals which were the result of diabolical defensive pissing around. I'm not surprised DoL was livid. Harte is a better player with Rio on his side - which basically means that Rio covers better than Matteo.
Batty and Dacourt were both holding midfielders and again played reasonably well - breaking up most moves - pretty good distribution, mixed with one or two howlers. Both went missing at times, but not enough to damage anything - they are our best middle of the park pairing.
Then we had Kewell Smith and Keane all playing behind-off-around Viduka, in a kind of free rotation system - some wag described it as "smaller objects orbiting a larger one being held in place by the larger object's gravitational pull". For a while this seemed to work. The ball came up to Viduka who laid it off or back to anyone of the 3 to take up and move forward. Contrary to many reports I thought Viduka's role in this was essential - the freewheeling Kewell wouldn't have had the opportunity to play that way without Viduka in front of him. Kewell linked most of the good play - a playmaker? - scored a cracker, and nearly another. It was his best 45 minutes of the season. He was actually spotted chasing back behind Kelly to make a saving tackle on their left winger.
Keane showed what he is - a winger/inside right type of player with occasionally awful control. So many times he screams and screams for the ball out wide - when he does get it he moves forward stops and passes back - as happened with their first goal. He's got pace, he's tricky, and often the defender doesn't have any cover - go for it man.
Smith came off worst of the 3 orbiting players. But he stuck at it, and made a couple of opportunities happen. He's a down the middle kind of forward who can peel out wide sometimes. He doesn't benefit from being out there all the time. Keane is a better bet out right for the moment.
Keane's goal was cheeky and well taken. After a good move, nice passing and a dummy or two the ball came to Viduka's feet on the edge of the box, he let it run across him, had his man beaten and was on his left foot coming into the box with a run on goal when Keane nipped it off his toes and buried it. Only one player went to congratulate Keane (Harry), it wasn't just Viduka - don't really know what that says about the squad's relationship with Keane. Strange as it came at such an important time.
In the 2nd half we completely disappeared.
I'm just glad they didn't score with 10 minutes to go.
Martyn made a cracking save from one edge of the box shot.
Finally a mention for the Lards who snatched a last minute equaliser against the mini-hoppers, whose goal had been scored by the rock of Gibraltar playing in the middle for them. Have you found a pennant yet Wiggy?
Copy from Football Unlimited of 07/12/2001.
West Yorkshire is not a region renowned for its spontaneous eruptions, but the one David O'Leary and Leeds United have been waiting for all season, from Harry Kewell, finally arrived here last night. "Harry is yet to explode," has been an O'Leary constant.
On an otherwise dormant evening for Leeds, Kewell's 19th-minute, 70-yard surge and shot was easily the highlight of a dull contest Leeds should have won with considerable ease. Instead they ended up drawing against poor opposition and progress courtesy of their narrow first-leg victory.
Kewell's opener appeared to have established an overwhelming advantage against a side apparently physically intimidated by their hosts. But the diminutive figure of Richard Nunez scored twice, in injury-time of each half, and thus Robbie Keane's 45th- minute strike proved to be of much greater significance than it felt when it went in.
Copy from The Independent of 07/12/2001.
Harry Kewell, at last rediscovering his irresistible form of 18 months ago, brought a dash of colour to an otherwise grey display by Leeds last night as they claimed a place in next Wednesday's draw for the fourth round of the Uefa Cup.
Leeds, forced to field a makeshift team, looked set for a resounding win when Kewell gave them an early lead with a thrilling solo effort that will be a contender for Elland Road's best goal this season. When the Australian hit the woodwork soon afterwards, the capacity crowd sat back and expected a routine home victory over the Swiss League's fourth-placed side.
Despite Richard Nuñez's riposte in first-half stoppage time, Robbie Keane restored the advantage seconds later. But Leeds, who let a 4-1 lead over Troyes in the previous round turn into a exercise in brinkmanship, were ultimately thankful that Nuñez's second goal, again in time added on, came too late to provide anything more than consolation for Grasshopper.
David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, was distinctly unimpressed by his side, who have now won only twice in 10 matches and face an arduous test of their championship credentials at Blackburn on Sunday. "I'm delighted we're through and can put this competition to bed until February, but disappointed with the way we played," he said. "The standard of the game was poor."
Even Kewell was not immune to criticism from O'Leary. "Harry scored a good goal, but I thought he could have done a lot more, particularly in the second half."
O'Leary added: "There might have been a bit of complacency. I know a lot of players were out of position and the balance of the team wasn't right, but we can play better than that. I was just relieved that there wasn't too much time left after they scored their second at the end."
Hans-Peter Zaugg, the Grasshopper coach, felt his side might have created an upset had they struck 10 minutes earlier. "We lost to a good team, but how far Leeds can go will depend on the draw," he added, a coded way of saying he did not fancy their chances against Spanish or Italian opposition.
In fact, a tussle with either Milan or Valencia, clubs they encountered in the Champions' League last season, might be just the lift Leeds need. The manner in which they have approached the Uefa Cup appears to reflect a certain reluctance, no doubt rooted in their disappointment over failing to re-qualify for the premier tournament.
Mark Viduka was a lone spearhead for Leeds, with Alan Smith and Keane operating deeper on right and left respectively, and Kewell in a roving role. This apparent embarrassment of riches had not produced a shot on target before the 18th minute, and there looked scant prospect of that changing as Grasshopper won a free-kick deep in home territory. But the ball was cleared by Gary Kelly and helped on by Olivier Dacourt, finding Kewell 15 yards inside his own half.
Skipping past Mihai Tararache, the Australian then beat Roland Schwegler with a searing burst of pace. His speed having carried him clear, he was confronted by Peter Jehle as the keeper hurtled out. With great deftness and composure, Kewell angled the ball into the far corner of the net.
Ten minutes later Kewell cut in from the right wing and swerved past Boris Smiljanic before unleashing a 30-yard drive. Jehle flapped at the ball as it smacked the bar.
Grasshopper equalised after rare sloppiness by Rio Ferdinand, whose pass to Danny Mills put him under pressure from Stéphane Chapuisat. Nigel Martyn smothered the loose ball only for it to run to Nuñez to convert a scrappy goal.
Leeds regained the initiative immediately. Mills' pass was dummied by Smith, allowing Viduka to take possession and slip the ball to Keane, who thrashed it beyond Jehle's dive from 15 yards.
Mills, with a saving tackle after on Nuñez to atone for his own misjudgement, and Martyn, with a fingertip save from Luca Ippoliti, kept Grasshopper at the bay as Leeds soft-pedalled. But Nuñez was allowed room to score from 25 yards at the death, an anti-climactic conclusion to an underwhelming contest.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Martyn; Kelly, Ferdinand, Mills, Harte; Dacourt, Batty; Smith, Kewell, Keane; Viduka. Substitutes not used: Wilcox, Duberry, McMaster, Richardson, Robinson (gk).
Grasshopper Zurich (4-4-2): Jehle; Schwegler, Castillo, Hodel, Smiljanic (Morales, 74); Gerber (Mwaruwari, 59), Diop, Cabanas (Ippoliti, 66), Tararache; Nuñez, Chapuisat. Substitutes not used: Baturina, Spycher, Jaggy, Benaglio (gk).
Referee: F de Bleeckere (Belgium).
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 07/12/2001.
A MOMENT of magic from Aussie ace Harry Kewell secured United's place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup last night - but once again David O'Leary's boys failed to show anything like their best form.
The Sydney-born winger lit up an otherwise dull encounter with a stunning individual effort that saw him race fully 70 yards before clipping the ball into the Zurich net.
It was a brief sign that maybe, just maybe the Socceroo is close to recapturing the form which made him one of the most wanted players in European football.
This was by far his most promising performance of the season so far and he could even have added to his tally but another wonderful effort, this time from 25 yards out, crashed against the bar.
Unfortunately, Kewell was unable to keep his form going for the full 90 minutes, and rather like the rest of his team-mates settled into an almost daze-like performance which could have cost them so dear.
With a 2-1 lead from the first leg already in the bag there was perhaps a touch of complacency within the ranks as the Australian's 19th minute strike pushed them even further ahead of their Swiss opponents.
It may have looked too easy as Kewell then struck the bar and moments later set up Alan Smith for a header that the youngster placed just over.
But Leeds failed to apply the killer touch and allowed Grasshoppers back into the game when they should have been dead and buried.
While complacency could certainly have played a major part, the very fact that boss O'Leary was once again forced to switch his formation around and play people out of position would hardly have helped.
Without the likes of Lee Bowyer, Jon Woodgate, Dominic Matteo, Eirik Bakke, Stephen McPhail, Lucas Radebe, Jacob Burns and Michael Bridges and the ineligible duo of Seth Johnson and Robbie Fowler, it was certainly a new-look United.Danny Mills continued in the middle of defence with Gary Kelly at right back, while O'Leary deployed David Batty and Olivier Dacourt as a defensive midfield pairing with Alan Smith playing on the right of midfield and Robbie Keane on the left.
Kewell was given a roving role in the middle while Mark Viduka was something of a lone striker up front, although he was regularly given support from midfield.
Indeed things were so bad on the injury front that O'Leary had on Wednesday contemplated just having two outfield players on the bench in Michael Duberry and Jason Wilcox.
However, he changed his mind over-night and gave a taste of the European adventure to 19-year-old reserve duo Jamie McMaster and Frazer Richardson.
O'Leary must be licking his lips at the prospect of getting his injured players back and available - he could certainly do with them, if only to restore some much-needed balance to the side.
Zurich were by no means a poor team, but there is no doubt that United will face much stiffer opposition in the later rounds of this tournament.
The likes of AC Milan, Inter and Valencia would be a totally different proposition and O'Leary will be hoping that he will have the majority of his key players fit and well come fourth round time next February.
One thing is for sure, if United harbour any ambitions of winning this trophy they will need to defend much better than they did in periods last night.
For a defence which has performed heroics all season the goal they gave away minutes before the break was simply farcical.
Ferdinand's poor ball to Mills across the back line was seized upon by veteran striker Stephane Chapuisat, his path to goal was blocked by Martyn, but Uruguyan Nunez was the quickest to react when the ball broke away from the keeper and he tucked it away.
The only saving grace was that United then went straight up the other end and scored, both goals coming in first half stoppage time, to restore their advantage and possibly avoid a real half-time blasting from the manager.
Mills played a low ball in to the edge of the box, Smith dummied, Viduka flicked it on and Keane raced onto it and stroked it past Jehle in the Zurich goal.
It was a quality finish from a player who has often struggled to convert one -on-one chances this season.
But any hopes that the goal would herald a home side avalanche were miss-placed as once again United started the second period seemingly at half-pace.
Viduka had a couple of decent chances around the hour mark, seeing one effort loop just past the post and the second well saved by Jehle as the Liechtenstein keeper flung himself across to beat away a powerful drive.
But it was the visitors who finished the stronger and gave United a fright.
Martyn needed to be alert as he first got down well to save a well hit shot from defender Roland Schwegler, and then arched back acrobatically to palm away a volley from substitute Ippoliti.
Had either of those efforts gone in then maybe life would have been even tougher for United. But as it was when Zurich did finally beat Martyn again, it was too late to matter.
A long kick down field was allowed to reach Nunez and the man who missed that crucial penalty a fortnight ago picked his spot in the bottom corner and flashed a left foot cross-shot past Martyn's right hand.
Luckily for United the goal had come one minute and 55 seconds into the two minutes of added time - had it been any earlier then who knows what might have happened.