Leeds United went some way last night towards dispelling suggestions, one of which emanated from within Elland Road, that they found the Uefa Cup anti-climactic after their adventures in the Champions' League and would not have been unduly upset by a first-round exit against Maritimo.
The Premiership leaders, semi-finalists in the respective European tournaments in the previous two seasons, had overturned their first-leg deficit by the interval through a splendid goal by Robbie Keane, his first in Europe, and Harry Kewell's third in five days.
Eirik Bakke finished off the frankly limited Portuguese midway through the second half. Keane's individualism almost produced a fourth before a 38,125 crowd – some 5,000 more than Liverpool drew in the premier tournament 24 hours earlier – which proved that the Yorkshire public take the "lesser" competition seriously.
They must have left asking quite how Maritimo, who qualified by virtue of losing the Portuguese Cup final to Porto, had managed to beat Leeds in Madeira. A shadow of the well-drilled side who took Leeds to penalties three years ago, their main tactic in preventing David O'Leary's team from establishing a rhythm seemed to be writhe in apparent agony after challenges that would go unremarked upon in the British context.
Perhaps O'Leary's description of the tournament as "the Worthington Cup of European football" induced complacency in Leeds last Thursday. The Irishman later revised his statement, but one aspect of the first meeting did resurface.
Nigel Martyn, beaten by Bruno's freakish 45-yard free-kick on that occasion, could not hold Dinda's brutally struck set-piece from similar range after 13 uneventful minutes. The ball ran to Quim, but the angle was not conducive to the tap-in for which the lone striker must have hoped and Martyn scrambled his shot behind.
Dinda, a genuine casualty amid Maritimo's amateur dramatics, made an early departure after falling awkwardly in an aerial challenge with David Batty. No sooner had he gone than Leeds levelled the aggregate scores after 20 minutes from their first shot in anger.
Batty's long, lofted pass picked out a strong surge through the inside-right channel by Keane, whose first touch flicked the ball away from the three defenders who were converging on him. His second, a vicious cross-shot, ripped past Nelson into the far corner of the net.
The second goal, eight minutes before the break, had similar origins. Rio Ferdinand launched a towering pass from the back that found Mark Viduka breaking on the right. Viduka's cleverly flighted cross was met at the back post by Kewell, who converted a header for the second match running.
Shortly before half-time, the referee's decision to penalise Bakke for a clean tackle on Bruno so annoyed the seldom-booked Ferdinand that he ran over to say his piece as captain and received a yellow card for his trouble.
It proved a minor blip for the hosts, who were driven forward by the impressive Olivier Dacourt. Maritimo signalled their intention to press for a potentially decisive away goal by throwing on Andre moments before the hour. By the 63rd minute, however, Leeds had sealed their place in today's second-round draw.
The first-half scorers each contributed a significant "assist". Kewell, released by Keane, ran at the defence before unleashing a low shot from 15 yards which Nelson spilled. Bakke, who had also found the net in Sunday's defeat of Derby, followed up to sweep the ball home. "We can't win the Uefa Cup," said O'Leary afterwards, a little surprisingly, "but once we've got all our players back we'll give anyone a game."
Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Mills, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte; Bakke, Dacourt, Batty, Kewell; Keane, Viduka. Substitutes not used: Kelly, Woodgate, McPhail, Wilcox, Duberry, Burns, Robinson (gk).
Maritimo (1-3-5-1): Nelson; Van der Gaag; Lino, Paulo Sergio, Briguel; Albertino, Dinda (Joel 18; Gaucho, h-t), Zeca, Bruno (Andre, 59), Kenedy; Quim. Substitutes not used: Alan, Mussa, Arriola, Jose Santos, Pozzo (gk).
Referee: S Farina (Italy).Reuse content