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The BBC's Simon Hill
"Even the great Don Revie would be proud"
 real 28k

Friday, 10 December, 1999, 10:10 GMT
Last-gasp Leeds sink Spartak

Radebe Leeds captain Lucas Radebe is congratulated by his teammates

Leeds 1-0 Spartak Moscow (2-2 agg., Leeds through on away goals)

Leeds grabbed a last-gasp goal at Elland Road courtesy of skipper Lucas Radebe to claim a well-deserved place in the last 16 of the Uefa Cup.

The precious away goal scored by Harry Kewell in the first-leg last week was enough to ensure that David O'Leary's talented young side triumphed on the night.

Spartak follow the spirit of fair play, unfortunately the same cannot always be said of Leeds
Vincheslav Grozny, Spartak coach
But for most of the match it looked as if they were destined for a very different outcome.

The home side produced the very best of their exciting, free-flowing brand of football, but were denied until the 84th minute by some masterful goalkeeping and the thickness of the woodwork.

The furious verbal sparring that has surrounded the two ties and one cancelled fixture continued after the match, with Spartak coach Vincheslav Grozny accusing Leeds of not following "the spirit of fair play".

"Why did they cause such a fuss and not play in Moscow? We feel that if we'd had the advantage of a home leg, we would have won," he said, referring to the English club's refusal to play on the Russians' frozen-solid surface in -20 degree conditions two weeks ago.

Stephen McPhail Stephen McPhail holds out Spartak's final charge
O'Leary ignored the fresh controversy, saying: "I'm so delighted, the players have been fantastic. We rode our luck a little bit but we kept going."

Given the bad blood between the two sides, it was perhaps unsurprising that it took just five minutes for Alan Smith to earn the first yellow card of the game.

The Russian team nearly went ahead during the frantic early exchanges, with Brazilian Luis Robson firing a ball directly at England keeper Nigel Martyn from inside the six yard box.

It took until midway through the first half for Leeds to ignite and produce the series of lightening end-to-end breaks that earned them so many shots on the visitors' goal.

Michael Bridges was perhaps unlucky not to win a penalty midway through the half as the striker latched onto a fantastic Ian Harte cross, only to miss the shot with Vadim Evseev hanging off his shirt.

Match facts
7 mins - Robson shot on open goal blocked
21 mins - Bridges' appeal for a penalty turned down
43 mins - Filimonov injured off
84 mins - Radebe heads in winner
89 mins - Tikhonov denied goal for offside
Lee Bowyer immediately put in another inch-perfect cross, which the Spartak keeper Alexander Filimonov narrowly denied to Smith with a fingertip nudge.

The former Russia goal tender was stretchered off just before half time after accidentally being upended onto his neck as he punched away a corner.

The clash happened during a 15-minute purple patch for Kewell when the Australian international outfoxed the Russian defence three times, clattering in shots from acute angles that tested both Filimonov and his replacement, Andrei Smetanin.

After such a blistering first-half performance, Leeds continued after the interval in exactly the same fashion, with Kewell breaking down the left and surging into the Spartak area.

Smetanin - clearly attempting to make up for all his years on the bench in one night - was equal to the superb shot that followed.

The Australian striker was straight back again, touching the ball through the defence to Bowyer who was once again denied by the big Russian keeper.

The visitors' response was to throw in a series of harsh challenges that earned them a rash of three yellow cards in 15 minutes.

Radebe strikes

The final quarter became a blur of white shirts as Lucas Radebe flowed into the attack and Leeds threw everything at the Russian goal, raining in shots from every conceivable angle.

Just when it looked as if the home side were going to be the most desperately unlucky team in the Uefa Cup, the breakthrough came.

With 84 mins on the clock, Leeds earned the second of two corners. For once, Smetanin lost sight of the ball and Radebe snuck in by the left post to head the winner home.

In desperation, Spartak finally broke out of the seige and launched a thundering attack downfield. It earned them a free-kick on the edge of the box with just 60 seconds of regulation time left to go.

Andrei Tikhonov appeared to blast the shot off the underside of the crossbar, but the linesman ajudged it offside and Leeds were left to savour a fine and hard-fought victory.


Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bakke, Bowyer, McPhail, Kewell, Smith, Bridges. Subs: Haaland, Huckerby, Mills, Jones, Hiden, Duberry, Robinson.

Spartak Moscow: Filimonov, Parfionov, Khlestov, Bushmanov, Bulatov, Evseev, Baranov, Titov, Tikhonov, Robson, Schirko. Subs: Ananko, Ketchinov, Everton, Meleshin, Mor, Bezrodnyi, Smetanin.

Referee: A Lopez- Nieto (Spain)

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Football
Leeds slip up to Spartak
02 Dec 99 |  Football
Leeds confirm Moscow complaint
25 Nov 99 |  Football
Leeds' Russian clash called off
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.