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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 15:36 GMT
Leeds' Russian clash called off
Conditions are not as bad as in the Ukrainian capital Kiev

Leeds' third-round Uefa Cup first leg with Spartak Moscow has been called off due to a dangerous pitch, with the match to be replayed next Thursday in the Bulgrain capital, Sofia.

Swedish referee Anders Frisk confirmed the surface at Moscow's Dinamo Stadium was dangerous and unplayable after a sub-zero snap froze the pitch.

The temperature in the Russian capital has been under minus 15 degrees celcius.


It's like playing on concrete. It's dangerous and unplayable
Leeds boss David O' Leary
This will be the second match Leeds will have to play on neutral ground after their first leg away clash with Partizan Belgrade last September.

Spartak will still play the second leg at Elland Road on 9 December, but next week's extra trip has meant a series of rearranged domestic fixtures.

Leeds' Worthington Cup fourth round tie with Leicester, due to be played last Tuesday, has still to be rescheduled.

The club's Premiership trip to Derby on Saturday 4 December will now be played the day after.

O'Leary happy

Leeds boss David O'Leary welcomed the postponement.

"It was absolutely the right decision to postpone it.

"The referee was absolutely marvellous in all of this. He was concerned about the safety of all the players, as well as his linesmen.

"It was a very positive decision. There is no way this game could have gone ahead in Moscow.

"Everyone has tried to do the best they can but the elements have beaten them.

"Clearly neither the pitch nor the weather was going to get any better and in the end commonsense has prevailed."

On Wednesday O'Leary was angry about the pitch after calling off a training session.

O'Leary criticised it as "dangerous", "unplayable" and "an absolute disgrace".

The Moscow side had wanted to move the home leg to the warmer city of Vladikavkaz, but they were denied permission because it is so close to war-torn Chechnya.

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See also:
24 Nov 99 |  Football
Big chill freezes out Leeds
24 Nov 99 |  Football
Rangers loan star promises to shine
24 Nov 99 |  Football
Time for a happy homecoming
24 Nov 99 |  Football
Shearer refuses to moan
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.