Monaco kept at bay by Lukic

Leeds United 0 AS Monaco 1 (Leeds win 3-1 on agg)
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The Independent Online
John Lukic, the fall guy when Leeds tumbled out of the Champions Cup to Rangers three years ago, stood between Monaco and one of European football's most remarkable turnabouts at Elland Road last night.

Lukic has never quite lived down the moment he punched the ball into his own net after losing it in the Ibrox floodlights. Leeds, however, owe their place in Friday's draw for the second round of the Uefa Cup in equal measure to Tony Yeboah who did the damage with a hat-trick in Monte Carlo and to their 34-year-old goalkeeper.

Twice in the later stages with Leeds unsure whether to press forward or hang on against technically superior opponents, Lukic had the Monaco players holding their heads in disbelief after defying them at point- blank range. On several other occasions - too numerous for Leeds comfort - he made interventions beyond the call of duty.

Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, was not slow to spot the significance of the veteran's saving grace. "Tonight will have done John the world of good because his experience in Glasgow wasn't a particularly pleasant one," he said. "Now, people will talk about his world-class display against Monaco."

All but a tiny French minority of the 24,501 spectators had come hoping for, nay expecting, another spree by Yeboah. A Leeds player did indeed score, but it was David Wetherall and the net was his own. A fierce shot by the Brazilian, Sonny Anderson, flew into the line of white shirts following a free- kick midway through the first half. The ball took a massive deflection off the defender to leave Lukic wrong-footed.

Even before the goal, the writing had been on the defensive wall for Leeds. Lukic had to beat a side an early goalbound shot by Manuel Dos Santos and was relieved to see Anderson's overhead kick flash over his crossbar.

Wilkinson shuffled his pack after the interval and for a time Leeds gave Yeboah the support, if not the service, he required. Monaco though were determined not to go quietly and soon resumed their duel with Lukic.

With 22 minutes left Michael Madar appeared certain to score as he soared to meet Emmanuel Petit's far post cross almost beneath the bar. Lukic hurling himself across, somehow clawed the ball clear and displayed similar agility eight minutes from time to prevent Anderson's header from setting up a fraught finale.

"The standard of team in this competition is very high, and Monaco were one of those sides," Wilkinson said. "The outcome merely underlines the effectiveness of our performance out there."

Leeds Utd (4-5-1): Lukic; Kelly, Wetherall, Pemberton (Couzens, 80), Beesley; White (Tinkler, 54), Palmer, McAllister, Speed, Deane; Yeboah.

AS Monaco (4-4-2): Barthez; Thuram, Boli, Dumas, Petit; Viaud (Petersen, 62), Puel, Scifo, Dos Santos (Wieh, 81); Madar, Anderson.

Referee: S Muhmenthaler (Switz).