Smith swoops to put Leeds in elite company

Champions' League: O'Leary's depleted forces hold the inventive Hassler at bay and battle through to lucrative group stages
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The Independent Online

The dream that has sustained Leeds United all summer, of joining the giants of Madrid, Milan and Manchester in tomorrow's draw for the Champions' League proper, became lucrative reality when Alan Smith's 46th-minute goal sealed a rare English victory on German soil here last night.

The dream that has sustained Leeds United all summer, of joining the giants of Madrid, Milan and Manchester in tomorrow's draw for the Champions' League proper, became lucrative reality when Alan Smith's 46th-minute goal sealed a rare English victory on German soil here last night.

Smith, the 19-year-old Leeds-born striker, pounced to score his fourth goal of the season. It was no less than Leeds' depleted line-up deserved for a rearguard action in which Nigel Martyn was outstanding and which culminated in Jonathan Woodgate heading off the line from Thomas Hässler in the dying seconds.

David O'Leary hailed Leeds' victory as the best of his two-year managerial career. "I'm so delighted. We had a very young side out there and we also had to play people out of position. Virtually our whole midfield was missing, including the passing players. When you're in Europe you have to keep the ball and we gave it away a lot.

"But the bottom line is we've made it, and that's fantastic. I only hope that when I lose, I do so sportingly and shake the other manager's hand." O'Leary was referring to his opposite number Werner Lorant's refusal to conform with the post-match convention.

The presence among the media entourage of John Giles, Joe Jordan and Peter Lorimer, as well as that of Eddie Gray at David O'Leary's side, served as a reminder that Leeds also had a score to settle with the Bavarian capital. All were in the team beaten by Bayern in the European Cup final 25 years ago, although the Yorkshire club had prevailed in all their other five ties against German opposition. 1860, by contrast, had lost on each of the three occasions they had been paired with English clubs, most famously to West Ham in the Cup-Winners' Cup final of 1965.

Of the three strikers Leeds had fielded in their opening fixtures, Michael Bridges was left on the bench to accommodate Danny Mills. Matthew Jones and Michael Duberry also came in, for Dacourt and Bakke, while Erik Mykland had recovered from illness to take his place in 1860's midfield.

O'Leary rather surprisingly switched his captain, Lucas Radebe, from the back to anchor midfield. His first act was to bring down Daniel Borimirov as Leeds came under early pressure, during which Daniel Bierofka volleyed wide and Agostino's header forced Nigel Martyn into a diving save.

Yet the eagerness with which Leeds turned deep defence into counter-attack underlined the priority O'Leary placed on an away goal. Gary Kelly might have snatched one with a shot that was deflected over; Michael Hofmann had to dash out to parry as Mark Viduka burst clear; and Smith appealed in vain for a penalty after falling under Martin Stranzl's challenge.

As in the first leg, Leeds had difficulty curbing Hässler, who was a magnet for any loose ball. As well as directing attacks from the centre, he materialised on both flanks and his pass from the left found Agostino, who brought another desperate stop from Martyn in the 38th minute.

Duberry's foul on Hässler in the last seconds of the first half gave the diminutive 34-year-old an opportunity to demonstrate his ability at set-pieces. A curling free-kick, from the angle of the 18-yard area, beat Martyn's dive only to smack against the top of the far post.

Having lived so dangerously, Leeds broke out to seize the initiative only 26 seconds after half-time. Viduka, grounded after an aerial tussle with Marco Kurz, prodded the ball inside to Smith, who struck with his left foot from near the penalty spot.

1860 have been in the wilderness too long - they spent a decade in amateur football before beginning the haul back to the Bundesliga in the early 1990s - to go quietly. Almost immediately, Martyn had to block an acrobatic effort by Borimirov. When Leeds were unable to clear their lines, the ball broke to Agostino, whose shot beat the goalkeeper but was hacked off the line by Mills.

Lorant promptly sacrificed a defender, Stephan Passlack, in favour of a third striker, Bernhard Winkler. O'Leary, meanwhile, sought to counter the right-wing raids of Harald Cerny by moving Mills, who was having arguably his best game for Leeds, to left-back.

But the danger came from the opposite flank, too, a low drive by Agostino being gathered only at the second attempt by Martyn as blue shirts converged. It was the prelude to a further flurry of 1860 attacks, and it was a measure of the "skeleton staff" available to Leeds that the rapidly tiring Jones was replaced by Gareth Evans, 19, who had never previously appeared in the first team.

TSV 1860 Munich (1-2-5-2): M Hofmann; Kurz; Stranzl, Passlack (Winkler, 64); Cerny, Borimirov (Beierle, 75), Hässler, Mykland, Bierofka (Tyce, 74); Max, Agostino. Substitutes not used: Greilich, Riedl, Pfuderer, Jentzsch (gk).

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Mills, Duberry, Woodgate, Harte; Kelly, Bowyer, Radebe, Jones (G Evans, 74); Smith, Viduka. Substitutes not used: Bridges, McMaster, Huckerby, Hackworth, Molenaar, Robinson (gk).

Referee: C Bo Larsen (Denmark).

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