Competition: UEFA Cup, Quarter-Final, First Leg.
Slavia Prague: Cerny; L. Dosek, Vicek (Vagner), Petrous, Koller; Rada, Ulich, Dostalek (Hysky), Horvath; Kuchar, T. Dosek. Unused Subs: Lerch, Kozel, Skala, Vadavik, Vozabal.
Referee: Markus Merk (
As they had done so often in the previous six months of their enthralling European extravaganza, United raised their game to heady heights and in the end could easily have doubled their winning margin. As it was, it was a great leap forward towards the Semi-Finals for the young side that did not seem to know to respect reputations but took such as a challenge to be made light of. They showed no fear in what was for them unchartered waters and it was noticeably the more experienced Czechs that let their heads go down as soon as United had taken the lead. Alf-Inge Haaland was again in defence and Harry Kewell was back to his usual more advanced European role as auxiliary striker. Slavia had progressed so far by beating opposition from Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Rumania and Italy but all were on the back of their home results as they had yet to win an away leg and had only a couple of hundred fans to support them.
should have been behind in the second minute but, after being put through by
Michael Bridges, Harry Kewell shot feebly at the
keeper with plenty of time to pick his spot. United were nearly made to pay
when Tomas Dosek burst through but Alf-Inge Haaland produced a crisp
tackle to avert the danger. Slavia were proving to be
a free-running team and had plenty of early possession but a loose back header
from Petr Vicek was seized
upon by Michael Bridges but he could only shoot over the bar. Lone striker
Tomas Dosek, twin brother of defender Lukas Dosek, was cutting a lonely figure up front as Lee Bowyer
showed good form and involvement in midfield and Jason Wilcox was also making
inroads down the left flank. Richard Dostelek was
beginning to look lively in an inside forward position and halfway through the
Harry Kewell produced a cracking right-foot volley which Radek Cerny did well to keep out, but in the thirty-second minute Adam Petrous was booked for a crunching tackle from behind, which resulted in him being suspended for the second leg while Lee Bowyer was stretchered off for touchline treatment but returned to the action. In the thirty-ninth minute lee Bowyer seized upon a poor clearance and darted through two tackles before unleashing a glorious ball to Jason Wilcox, who lashed the ball into the roof of the net to set Elland Road alight. Then two minutes before the break Gary Kelly whipped over a cross which just evaded Eirik Bakke but presented a surprised Lee Bowyer with a chance from point-blank range, but Radek Cerny saved with his knees.
shot just over the bar from Pavel Horvath signalled Slavia’s second half
intentions but when play switched to the other end Michael Bridges brought a
diving save from Radek Cerny.
Then in the fifty-fifth minute United got a vital second goal. A long kick
up-field was collected by Michael Bridges, who skillfully played the ball out
to Eirik Bakke, who shaped
to shoot but couldn’t find an opening so he swung the ball to the far post
where Harry Kewell was on hand to side-foot the ball
home. The impressive Tomas Kuchar brought out the
best in Nigel Martyn with a fine low shot but on the
Michael Bridges had a great chance to make it four in the seventy-second minute but delayed his shot long enough to allow Radek Cerny to dive at his feet and steal the ball. Then with fourteen minutes left Slavia were reduced to ten men when, following two bookings within a minute, the second for a clumsy body check on Wilcox, their skipper Karel Rada received his marching orders. Then United found it more of a struggle against the reduced numbers than the full compliment, but by then their job had been done and done in style.
Jason Wilcox celebrates scoring the first goal
Harry Kewell scores the second goal Harry Kewell beats Radek Cerny
Lee Bowyer makes it three
Wilcox, Harry Kewell and Lee Bowyer scored the
produced a crisp tackle
Nigel Martyn was at his best Eirik Bakke and Michael Bridges combined to set up Harry Kewell Gary Kelly’s cross provided a chance
Radek Cerny was in goal Lukas Dozek and Libor Koller Petr Vlcek and Adam Petrous were in central defence
were the full-backs
Karel Rada, Ivo Ulich, Richard Dostalek and Pavel Horvath were in midfield
Tomas Dosek and Tomas Kuchar were the strikers Robert Vagner and Martin Hysky were used as substitutes