Football: Kewell ends hoodoo

Leeds United 4 Radebe 17, Hasselbaink pen 45, Kewell 71,72 Oxford United 0 Attendance: 20,568
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The Independent Online
When Malcolm Crosby first became a manager he took Sunderland all the way to the FA Cup final. Maybe this was in the minds of the Oxford board when they appointed him to replace Denis Smith. However, a repeat run was never remotely in prospect at Elland Road yesterday. Oxford lacked ambition and purpose and if Lucas Radebe's first-half goal merely quelled their challenge, the sending off shortly after of Martin Gray quashed it all together.

It was a routine win for Leeds - who have suffered grievously against supposedly lesser brethren in recent cup competitions, including a loss against Oxford -and not at all in the spirit of the competition. Had David Smith's early, adventurous volley from outside the area been a foot lower it all might have been different. Barely 10 minutes later Gary Kelly's corner to the near post found Radebe. The increasingly accomplished South African did not have to go to the trouble of jumping to head past Phil Whitehead, his first goal for Leeds in 93 appearances.

Briefly, Oxford displayed something approaching forward movement but in the 30th minute Gray was booked for a late tackle and a minute later another unwieldy challenge yielded a second yellow card. Moments before half-time Rod Wallace was brought down in the area and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink converted the penalty.

Whatever Crosby did during the interval to reshape his team did not reform their chances and the game was killed off when Harry Kewell scored twice in a minute. His first took a deflection but his second, after a couple of passing exchanges, was perfectly executed. There could have been more as Oxford's defence was regularly exposed. However, they achieved a parity of sorts when the Leeds goalkeeper Nigel Martyn was sent off in the 90th minute for a professional foul on Jamie Cook. Had that happened earlier, who knows what might have happened.