Date: Tuesday, 13th February 2001.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
2nd Stage Group D: Match 3.
United 2 Anderlecht 1.
United: Harte, Bowyer. Anderlecht:
Leeds United: Martyn; Mills, Ferdinand, Radebe, Harte; Bowyer, Batty, Dacourt (Bakke), Matteo (Kewell); Smith, Viduka. Unused Subs: Woodgate, Wilcox,
Anderlecht: Milojevic; Crasson,
Ilic, De Boeck, Vanderhaeghe; Goor, Dheedene, Bassegio, Stoica; Koller, Radzinski. Unused Subs: Van Dieman,
Hasi, Pirard, Dindane, Youla, Traore, Carlier.
Referee: Karl-Erik Nilsson (Sweden).
Although Robbie Keane was scoring regularly in the League he
was not eligible to play in the ECL, having already played in the competition
for Inter Milan, but the ever improving Rio Ferdinand was available for the first
time as United faced a potentially hard fixture with a home tie against Anderlecht. The six foot eight inch striker
Jan Koller and the smaller but speedy Tomasz Radzinski were expected to
test Rio and his fellow defenders to the limit and indeed the signs were
ominous as, after having the majority of possession, they went behind in the
sixty-fifth minute. However, thanks to late goals from Ian Harte,
from a twenty-five yard free-kick, and Lee Bowyer, who crowned a superb
display, when he collected a fine through ball from Alan Smith to beat the
keeper and give United a deserved 2-1 victory.
Once again United scaled the heights against
the dream teams of Europe and treated them as if they were a minor
impediment on their journey. Anderlecht, the Belgian
Champions, went the same way as Italian
giants AC Milan and Lazio on their trip to Elland Road. It seemed as if the bigger
the reputation of the team, the bigger the performance from United, and if Anderlecht thought they had got through the first hour unscathed
and the battle was over they were spectacularly wrong. They reckoned without United’s two most potent weapons. They were the deadly
accuracy of Ian Harte’s free-kicks and the uncanny
predatory instincts of Lee Bowyer. Allied with a compelling raw-edge midfield
performance of David Batty, the extra-ordinary talent of Harry Kewell and the assuredness of central defenders Lucas Radebe and Rio Ferdinand, these were insuperable strengths.
Anderlecht had a reputation for not being good travellers, but they were not evident as they employed
high-speed, one-touch football which often threatened to pay dividends. Too
often though they failed to deliver on what they had promised and they were
left to regret their obsequiousness. After just four minutes Lee Bowyer had
time to line himself up for a volley after good work from Dominic Matteo but shot well over the bar. David Batty scythed down
Bart Goor twenty-five yards out, and after Didier Dheedene’s shot cannoned of the wall Alin
Stoica lashed in a shot which Nigel Martyn held. United had a lucky let off after nine minutes
as Bertrand Crasson’s low cross from the right was
missed firstly by Jan Koller and then Bart Goor as he slid in. Alan Smith got in a good header from an
Olivier Dacourt free-kick but Zvonko
Milojevic diving to his right saved well. Alan Smith
was getting in several flick headers as United gradually found their stride and
won their first corner after sixteen minutes, but Lee Bowyer’s kick was
cleared. Then Alan Smith floored strike partner Mark Viduka
as they contested a Lee Bowyer free-kick from the right.
David Batty did some clever work on the edge
of the box to create an opening for Ian Harte to get
a shot in from distance which Zvonko Milojevic did well to save at the foot of a post. Alan
Smith worked hard to release Mark Viduka whose shot
was turned away by the keeper for a corner and from Lee Bowyer’s kick Dominic Matteo was not too far away with a header. In an Anderlecht raid Alin Stoica’s speculative effort was always going wide and as
the half hour came and went Olivier Dacourt’s
free-kick drifted harmlessly by. Lucas Radebe was
alert to whip the ball off Bart Goor’s toes as he
shaped to shoot and then after a Rio Ferdinand stumble allowed Tomasz Radzinski in, his finish
was poor. An intricate move on the edge of the box allowed Yves Vanderhaeghe to get in a shot which Nigel Martyn handled with ease and half-time came with the game
After the interval a poor clearance from Yves Vanderhaeghe let in Mark Viduka
but again his finish was poor. A huge roar greeted the appearance of Harry Kewell just nine minutes into the half as he replaced
Dominic Matteo and he announced his arrival with a
drive that Zvonko Miljevic
had to be alert to keep out and Bertrand Crasson gave
Harry Kewell a nasty nudge and next there were vain
appeals for a United penalty as Lee Bowyer went down in the area. Then Anderlecht went ahead against the run of play after
sixty-five minutes. Bart Goor and Alin
Stoica played a nice one-two before the Romanian
international Stoica picked his spot from ten yards.
The Belgians having gained the advantage started playing possession football
for a sustained period of time, but then United broke free to equalize just
nine minutes later. It was an Ian Harte special as he
took a free kick, twenty-five yards out, and unleashed a fearful drive of great
velocity into the near bottom corner with Zvonko Milojevic clutching at thin air.
Nine minutes from time Tomasz
Radzinski’s cross just evaded the head of the giant Jan
Koller and then a minute later they repeated the raid
and this time Koller got his angles all wrong and his
header sailed harmlessly over. They were two fine chances and United had lived
dangerously, but they stole it four minutes from the end when Yves Vanderhaeghe stumbled, Glen De Boeck
hesitated and Alan Smith nipped in between them to find Lee Bowyer running on.
Bowyer, despite his awkward angle, fired the ball across Zvonko
Milojevic and into the far corner to send Elland Road into
raptures. Walter Bassegio’s shot was brilliantly
tipped round the post by Nigel Martyn in injury time
and the victory was assured.
Ian Harte opens the
scoring for United
Lee Bowyer gets United’s second
Alin Stoica opened the Ian Harte
scored the Leeds equaliser Man of the Match Lee Bowyer Alan Smith’s fine pass led to
scoring for Anderlecht got
the winner the second goal
Robbie Keane was not available in Europe but Rio Ferdinand made Olivier Dacourt
was off target Nigel Martyn
the final minute
David Batty was the raw edge in midfield while
Lucas Radebe was assured in defence
Dominic Matteo set up Lee Bowyer
showed his extra-ordinary talents
Mark Viduka was
foiled by the Anderlecht keeper Zvonko Milojevic Bertrand Crasson
and Aleksander Ilic were the full-backs
Glen De Boeck and
Yves Vanderhaeghe were the central defenders Jan Koller and Tomasz Radzinski were the strikers
Anderlecht’s midfield was Bart Goor, Didier Dheedene, Walter Bassegio and
goal-scorer Alin Stoica
Patrick Van Diemen, Besnik Hasi, Aruna
Soulymane Youla and Lamine Traore were five of the unused substitutes