Date: Thursday, 19th September 2002.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
Cup, First Round, First Leg.
United 1 Metalurh Zaporizhzhya 0.
United: Smith. Metalurh Zaporizhzhya: Nil.
Leeds United: Robinson; Kelly, Woodgate,
Radebe, Harte; Bowyer, Dacourt (McPhail), Bakke, Kewell; Smith, Viduka (Bridges). Unused Subs: Mills, Okon,
Burns, McMaster, Martyn.
Metalurh Zaporizhzhya: Glushchenko; Valuta, Raty, Visevic, Dodic; Vasconcelos, Milosavijevic, Klyuchyk, Akopian; Smernov (Zayats), Modebadze (Brdanin). Unused Subs: Hansen, Lapko,
Referee: Mikko Vuorela (Finland).
United kicked off their UEFA campaign with a visit from
Ukrainian club FC Metalurh Zaporizhzhya and it was a case of “after the Lord
Mayor’s show”, as United returned to their underachieving ways, after their
high of defeating Manchester United the previous weekend. The expected goal
avalanche never happened as United were extremely slow out of the blocks and
poor finishing, and an outstanding display by the visiting keeper, restricted
the score. Ian Harte’s radar was off beam and Mark Viduka received little support or decent service. It was
left to the appearance of Michael Bridges, after an almost two year layoff from
injury, when replacing Mark Viduka after sixty-five
minutes, to spark United into the lead, as he held off a challenge to set up
the winner for Alan Smith with ten minutes to go. The visitors came with a ten
man defence and Robinson was not called upon to exert himself. A single goal
lead was scant reward for their dominance but the Ukrainians must attack in the
return and maybe it will leave them exposed at the back.
boss marked his first game in Europe with United with a victory, but would have
been disappointed with the score and his teams general performance, only the
returning from long term injury Michael Bridges gave him a high spot in a game
that had few highlights. It was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show at Elland Road as Leeds United's
UEFA Cup campaign stuttered into life with a narrow victory over the competition's
minnows. Man of the moment Alan Smith spared United's
blushes against struggling Ukrainian outfit FC Metalurh
Zaporizhzhya with an eightieth minute strike to give
them the upper hand in the tie. The goal was no more than Leeds deserved, but after high quality
performances against Newcastle United and Manchester United the Elland Road faithful could be forgiven for
feeling short-changed. The performance never came close to those produced in
the previous two Premiership outings and, for the biggest part of what was an
awful contest, United looked well below par. The passing was sloppy and the
delivery of crosses was disappointing as United lacked the killer instinct
required to breakdown the determined Ukrainians. The predicted goals avalanche
never looked like materialising after Leeds started
the game at a snail's pace, and one could only wonder what the outcome would
have been had United gone for the jugular from the off.
Zaporizhzhya were certainly vulnerable, but Leeds didn't ask enough questions early in the
contest and Metalurg were allowed a fairly easy ride
for the first hour. However, despite a lack-lustre
display Leeds should still have won by more than
the single goal margin, but a combination of poor finishing and some
goalkeeping heroics by Andriy Glushchenko
kept United at bay. Smith was United's biggest threat
throughout, but the majority of chances fell to full-back Ian Harte, who endured a frustrating night. Harte's
radar was off target in dead-ball situations and when he found himself in space
with a clear header on goal Andriy Glushchenko pulled off an outstanding save to thwart the
Irishman. Mark Viduka spent much of the contest
starved of service, under the shackles of Mario Dodic,
and it wasn't until Michael Bridges' arrival midway through the second half
that United seemed to find their spark. Bridges was making his first senior
appearance for almost two years and the young striker acquitted himself well in
what was threatening to become a tricky situation.
The unambitious visitors actually had more shots on
target in the first half, but they were restricted to long-range efforts and
Paul Robinson spent much of the game as a spectator. Unsurprisingly, the
Ukrainians came to defend and with ten men behind the ball for much of the
contest and it was up to Leeds
to find a way through. Sadly, it took a full fifty-four minutes before United
showed any real urgency about their play and, even when they did up the tempo
it still took another half- hour to finally get their noses in front. A spell
of concerted pressure failed to produce anything for Leeds and, with lady luck favouring the visitors, a European shock
looked on the cards for Terry Venables' side.
and Eirik Bakke both ran
their hearts out in the middle of the park, but all too often the final ball
either went astray or was deflected to safety. Zaporizhzhya's
game plan was to frustrate, but the Ukrainians showed a great work rate and
frequently closed men down quickly enough to thwart any attacking raids. The
visitors were also intent on wasting as much time as possible and the referee
could have booked more than one player for winding the clock down before the
deadlock was finally broken. As the game wore on Leeds did assert their authority more.
They were always in control and the home side slid effortlessly into second
gear in a bid to end the visitors' resistance. Harry Kewell's
downward header was beaten away by the keeper while Alan Smith and Eirik Bakke also fluffed headed
opportunities. But Leeds
finally got their noses in front with just ten minutes remaining when Michael Bridges
fought off the challenge of Oleg Raty and teed up Alan
Smith with an easy chance to score. It was too late for the floodgates to open
then, although Leeds
twice came close to adding to the tally.
Ian Harte saw a vicious effort fly inches over the bar while
Lucas Radebe's spectacular volley was well saved by
the impressive Andriy Glushchenko.
The Ukrainians did mount a couple of late raids of their own but, in keeping
with the rest of the contest, they never seriously looked like hurting Leeds and there was no question of a
shock equaliser. At the
whistle the celebrations were muted. It was a game Leeds couldn't win no matter what they
did, but they had failed in their objective to put the tie beyond doubt. It
would now be a cautious United side that travel out to the Ukraine a fortnight
later for a potentially nervy tie, but the onus would then be on Zaporizhzhya and it would be interesting to see how they
fared. They showed no ambition on the night and lacked quality, and Venables' side would have to make the long trek knowing
they were still favourites to reach round two.
Alan Smith beats Andriy
Glushchenko to score Andriy Glushchenko reflects as United celebrate
Alan Smith celebrates his goal
Michael Bridges and Lee Bowyer celebrate
Mark Viduka wins a
header against Mario Dodic
Eirik Bakke beats several Metalurh
players to a header
Eirik Bakke challenges Oleg Raty
Michael Bridges just evades a flying boot Michael Bridges was happy to be back and
was in the fray
Lee Bowyer dives in as Alan Smith misses a
Alan Smith holds off a
Alan Smith got the winner
Michael Bridges made the goal Harry Kewell’s
header was saved
Eirik Bakke and Lee Bowyer ran hard Mark
Viduka was alone
had a spectacular Ian Harte was inches over
Paul Robinson was a Rodrigo Toledo did not play at Elland Road
Andriy Glushchenko Mario
Dodic Tomislav Visevic and
Irakli Modebadze all played at Elland