Harte sets up Leeds cruise in Moscow

UEFA CUP O'Leary's side soak up early pressure to go through to third round as Bridges' double keeps Premiership leaders on a roll; Lokomotiv Moscow 0 Leeds United 3 Leeds win 7-1 on agg
Click to follow
The Independent Online
AS AWAY legs go in Moscow, Leeds enjoyed a nerveless night in the Russian capital as they cruised through to the third round of the Uefa Cup.

After weathering an early onslaught as Lokomotiv looked to claw back a 4-1 deficit from the first leg of this second round tie, the Premiership leaders silenced the 18,000 crowd with an Ian Harte penalty and two goals from Michael Bridges.

With Leeds protecting a three-goal cushion, their manager, David O'Leary, chose to employ a five-man midfield in the hope of taking the heat off the defence in the early stages. But the desperation of the Lokomotiv side found Leeds with their backs to the wall during a nervous opening 10 minutes which could easily have led to three goals.

Inside the first minute, Dmitriy Loskov picked out the Armenian international Albert Sarkisyan with only the Leeds goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, to beat but the midfielder mis-hit his shot. Within minutes Loskov was then put in the clear but an angled shot was blazed over the bar.

The danger signals were high in the seventh minute when David Batty fouled Loskov on the edge of the area, the Lokomotiv striker having scored the consolation goal at Elland Road with a stunning free-kick. But Loskov's finishing proved not as deadly on this occasion as he curled a right-foot shot into the wall. Moments later the captain, Lucas Radebe, was forced into a goal-denying block from Alexei Smertin's searing 18-yard drive.

Leeds are nothing if not resilient these days and they then scored the game-killing goal on the quarter-hour mark.

The Australian international, Harry Kewell, was shoved in the back by Igor Chugainov and the French referee, Alain Sars ,was perfectly placed to point to the spot. Up stepped Harte to send the goalkeeper, Rusian Nigmatullin, the wrong way for his fourth goal of the season.

There was still some life left in the Russian side as within two minutes Dmitri Bulykin drilled in a powerful drive which forced Martyn into a brilliant block with his legs. It was virtually the last act of a side realising they were now fighting a lost cause, one which became even more arduous in the 28th minute.

A flowing move saw Harte pick out Lee Bowyer for a by-line head back into heart of the six-yard box and, without a red shirt in sight, Bridges rammed home his 10th this season into the roof of the net. Bridges then wrapped up a stunning first-half display as Eirik Bakke played in the free-scoring forward to plant a simple shot past Nigmatullin.

The only sour note of the first half for Leeds was a third booking of the competition for Radebe, who will now miss the first leg of the third round.

During the break O'Leary took off Bowyer, another player who had gone into the match on two bookings, to be replaced by Alfie Haaland who was making only his third substitute appearance of the season.

With the match over as a contest, Leeds unsurprisingly took their foot off the pedal, and invited Moscow to come at them, albeit without any purpose or penetration.

Leeds continued to have the better chances, and Bridges almost grabbed his hat-trick but his volley was directed straight at Migmatullin from point-blank range. A scramble in the area soon after almost saw Jonathon Woodgate on the scoresheet, but he mis-kicked his shot with the ball flying across the six-yard box.

In the 65th minute, O'Leary brought on Darren Huckerby for Kewell, who will now play for Australian against Brazil in Sydney on 14 November after compromise between club and country. Lokomotiv then had one of the best chances of their match within moments when the substitute Evgeni Kharlachev directed a diving header at Martyn.

Lokomotiv Moscow: Nigamtoulline; Arifullin, Lavrik, Pashinin, Ovannesyan, Tchougainov, Smertin, Boulykin, Loskov, Sarkisyan, Solomatin. Substitutes: Poliakov, Kharlachev, Maminov, Semenenko, Piminov, Neretine.

Leeds United: Martyn; Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Bowyer, Batty, McPhail, Kewell, Bridges, Bakke. Substitutes: Robinson, Mills, Duberry, Haaland, Hopkin, Huckerby, Smith.

Referee: A Sars (France)

Comments