Football: Izzet's four minutes of fame

Leicester City 2 Leeds United 1
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The Independent Online
NOT CONTENT with denying them permission to make off with their manager, Martin O'Neill, Leicester maintained their ascendancy over Leeds last night when Muzzy Izzet turned this Worthington Cup tie on its head in the closing minutes.

Leeds, beaten 1-0 in four of the clubs' previous five meetings, looked about to reverse the outcome and enter the quarter-finals by virtue of Harry Kewell's third goal of the season - until the 88th minute. Nigel Martyn then left his area to head clear, but succeeded only in sending the ball straight to Izzet. From fully 25 yards, the Leicester midfielder volleyed it back into the unguarded net.

Having drawn all six of their Premiership away fixtures, David O'Leary's side should not have been unduly fazed by the situation. Instead, they were undone again two minutes into stoppage time. Izzet, benefiting from the linesman's decision to lower his flag after appearing to signal off-side, carried Steve Walsh's clearance into the penalty area. Robert Molenaar brought him down, enabling Garry Parker to send the 1997 winners through from the spot.

Leicester are the only team to have defeated Leeds in domestic competition this season, taking the points at Elland Road at the start of the Yorkshire club's protracted pursuit of O'Neill. To repeat the feat was all the more commendable given that they started without one half of their recognised striking partnership, Tony Cottee, and played the whole second half without the other, Emile Heskey.

The muscular centre- forward failed to appear after the interval following a strong challenge by the impressive Jonathan Woodgate, and with him seemed to go Leicester's cutting edge. They had trailed Leeds from the 18th minute, when Kasey Keller dived too soon for Kewell's header following a cross by Martin Hiden and was dismayed to see it bounce over his body.

Until the dramatic finale, Leicester's best efforts to equalise came before half-time. Martyn made an agile save to prevent Steve Guppy's curling free kick from creeping in by a post after looming through a crowded penalty box. He also dealt with Neil Lennon's rising drive from 30 yards.

In a strangely bloodless second half, Leeds began to move and pass with greater confidence and always looked more likely to score again than concede before Izzet's intervention. O'Leary, beaten for the first time since accepting the post, refreshingly declined to look for excuses.

"We totally dominated the game and we totally threw it away," he admitted. "Our goalkeeper, who has been so consistent for us, made a stupid mistake. But, having said that, we should have scored more than one goal."

Leicester City (3-5-2): Keller; Sinclair, Elliott, Ullathorne; Savage, Zagorakis (Wilson, h-t), Lennon, Izzet, Guppy; Heskey (Parker, h-t), Walsh. Substitutes not used: Fenton, Campbell, Arphexad (gk).

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Hiden, Woodgate, Molenaar, Harte; Bowyer, Hopkin, Ribeiro, Kewell; Hasselbaink, Wijnhard. Substitutes not used: Wetherall, Haaland, Sharpe, Halle, Robinson (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland, Dorset).

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