Leeds rattled as Dacourt and Bakke see red

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The Independent Online

A calamitous final 15 minutes undid much of Leeds' excellent work in the previous 75 at Elland Road last night, leaving them to face an uphill task in the second leg of their Champions' League, third qualifying round tie against 1860 Munich in the Olympiastadion on 23 August.

A calamitous final 15 minutes undid much of Leeds' excellent work in the previous 75 at Elland Road last night, leaving them to face an uphill task in the second leg of their Champions' League, third qualifying round tie against 1860 Munich in the Olympiastadion on 23 August.

Leeds, leading through Alan Smith's header and an Ian Harte penalty against a side depleted by the dismissal of their Australian sweeper, Ned Zelic, had Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke sent off for second bookableoffences after 74 and 84 minutes respectively. Dacourt, the £7.2m club-record capture from Lens, was making his debut.

As if that were not dispiriting enough for the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, who will now have two of his three fit midfielders suspended for the game in Germany, 1860 secured a potentially priceless away goal through the former Bristol City striker, Paul Agostino, deep in stoppage time.

Leeds' supporters vented their wrath at a fussy referee, Costas Kapitanis, at the end. Counting the second yellow cards shown to Dacourt and Bakke - who cannot escape criticism for their indiscipline - he issued seven cautions in a match which often had the feel of a pre-season friendly.

O'Leary, who described the bookings as "harsh", sensibly declined to condemn the official afterwards, saying: "I'd love to say a lot but I can't." He was downbeat about Leeds' prospects. "I'm not very confident, to tell you the truth. That's not being defeatist, just being realistic. That was astupid goal to give away."

Leeds can take some encouragement from the evidence that 1860, fourth in the Bundesliga last season, are an unremarkable outfit and over- reliant on the wiles of Thomas Hässler. The 34-year-old, who has 101 German caps, must be policed more carefully when the quest to reach the lucrative group stage resumes in Bavaria.

The problem for O'Leary is that he is fast running out of bodies. "I'm not joking when I say I just don't know who I can field for the return match," he said. The Irishman was already without six internationals, and the only one likely to be available is Jonathan Woodgate - a central defender.

O'Leary's solution to Leeds' personnel crisis was characteristically positive. He used three strikers, Smith and Michael Bridges flanking the muscular Australian newcomer from Celtic, Mark Viduka. The boldness of the formation meant Dacourt's display in the holding role was especially important, and the Frenchman was looking assured by the time the drama took its first twist five minutes before the break.

The £6m Viduka rose to steer a long pass into the danger area, where Martin Stranzl did not get sufficient purchase on his back-header to Michael Hofmann. Smith nipped in to nod his first goal since 9 January .

Zelic, once of Queen's Park Rangers, promptly cut down Harte and paid for his recklessness with a red card when the offence warranted no more than a yellow.

Dacourt's first booking, after he had ploughed into Marko Kurz, arrived three minutes into the second half. Bakke soon followed after the referee spotted a stray elbow.

They appeared likely to be no more than minor blemishes on Leeds' performance after Harald Cerny felled the lively Smith with 19 minutes remaining. Harte sent Hofmann the wrong way from the spot.

Even after the departure of Dacourt, for alleged diving, Leeds looked comfortable. But Bakke's exit, after further illegal use of an arm, encouraged 1860 into a belated siege.

Nigel Martyn twice thwarted Hässler, but the diminutive schemer was not to be denied. In the dying seconds, his cross found Agostino, yet another Australian, outjumping Lucas Radebe for a goal which may well condemn Leeds to the consolation of another Uefa Cup campaign.

Leeds United (4-4-3): Martyn; Kelly, Duberry, Radebe, Harte; Bakke, Dacourt, Bowyer; Bridges (Mills, 80), Viduka, Smith. Substitutes not used: Huckerby, Molenaar, McMaster, G Evans, Hackworth, Robinson (gk).

TSV 1860 Munich (1-3-4-2): M Hofmann; Zelic; Cerny, Kurz, Stranzl (Winkler, 84); Votava, Hässler, Mykland, Bierofka (Passlack, h-t); Max, Agostino. Substitutes not used: Passlack, Beierle, Borimirov, Reidl, Ehlers, Jentsch (gk).

Referee: C Kapitinas (Cyprus).

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