Football: Batty finds a spot of bother

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The Independent Online
DAVID BATTY may have unwittingly done himself and Leeds United a favour yesterday by provoking a display of trickery by the Italian masters of such diversions. Batty, with the power and skill to be a mini-Gazza, was booked in the end after a theatrical fall by the ever- dangerous Attilio Lombardo.

Ten minutes later Sampdoria walked off with the Makita Trophy for the third successive year, leaving United to reflect on the need for cool heads as well as skill and commitment for their return to Europe next month after an absence of 12 years.

After impressively disposing of VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, their strong first-round rivals in the European Cup, United faced an Italian side on red alert, issued with a licence to niggle, especially after Batty dumped Marco Lanna over the advertising hoardings in his eagerness to collect the ball for a throw-in.

'The referee suggested it might be easier for him to control the game if Batty came off,' Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, said after a public brush with the referee. 'Since all the referee's problems were from the reactions of Sampdoria players, I didn't think that it would be fair on the boy for him to be the victim.'

That incident saw United lose concentration and shape. Vladimir Jugovic squeezed between Chris Fairclough and Gary Speed minutes after the stoppage to score an impressive winning goal.

The biggest bonus for Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, may be Speed's form as a central defender. Such an experiment increases Wilkinson's options for what will be a testing season for the reigning champions and their fans.

Stuttgart won the third-place play-off after Fritz Walter's second goal of the weekend was too much for Nottingham Forest.

Leeds United: Lukic; Newsome (Whyte, 45), Dorigo, Batty, Fairclough, Hodge, Rocastle (Cantona, 45), Wallace, Chapman, McAllister, Speed.

Sampdoria: Pagliuca; Bucchioni, Lanna, Walker, Vierchowod, Katanec (Serena, 45), Lombardo, Jugovic, Bertarelli (Invernizzi, 79), Mancini, Bonetti.

Referee: J Worrall (Warrington).

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