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The BBC's John Murray reports
"Leeds were never in danger of losing"
 real 28k

Leeds manager David O'Leary
"I'd be so proud if we could reach the final"
 real 28k

Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 21:43 GMT
Beaten Leeds reach Euro semis

Matthew Jones goes head-to-head with goalscorer Ulich
Slavia Prague 2-1 Leeds
Aggregate: 2-4

Leeds claimed a place in the last four of the Uefa Cup, despite slumping to a second leg defeat in the Czech Republic.

Match facts
47: Harry Kewell gives Leeds a huge 4-0 aggregate lead
52: Ivo Ulich hits back for Slavia
78: Ulich's penalty wins the game for the Czechs - but it is not enough
Leading 3-0 from the first leg, they may have lost the return in Prague, but they were never in danger of going out of the competition.

With such a resounding advantage from Elland Road a week ago, the one pitfall David O'Leary's team had to avoid was conceding an early goal.

They did just that, shutting out Slavia throughout the first half with a polished display.

Stephen McPhail takes the game to Slavia
And they wrapped up the aggregate victory two minutes into the second half, when a Harry Kewell goal gave them a 4-0 lead overall.

Slavia, with just pride to play for, hit back with two goals from Ivo Ulich to claim the win on the night - but it was ultimately a hollow victory for the home side.

Leeds will now appear in their first European semi-final since playing Bayern Munich 25 years.

Rearguard action

Three goals to the good as the game kicked off, Leeds threatened to extend their lead after just 10 minutes, as Stephen McPhail was denied by Slavia keeper Radek Cerny after good work from Michael Bridges.

Michael Bridges wrestles with Martin Hysky
Bridges then cracked a shot against the bar - but the referee had blown for offside and the striker was fortunate to escape a yellow card that would have ruled him out of the first leg of the semi-final.

The Czechs hit back, though, and Leeds' hard-working defence did well to hold firm in the face of some concerted pressure, Nigel Martyn saving well from Tomas Kuchar.

Kewell should have scored when he blazed over from just four yards out after more neat build-up play from Bridges, and Cerny then quickly produced two superb saves from McPhail and Harte.

I'm very angry with the goals we conceded. That was a game we shouldn't have lost - but it's absolutely fantastic to reach the semi-finals.

Leeds manager David O'Leary
Bridges should have put the tie out of sight for Leeds in the closing stages of the first half - but left in a one-on-one with Cerny he allowed the keeper to close him down.

But a minute after the restart, Kewell ended all remnants of Prague resistance.

Bakke won the ball in midfield and McPhail sent a precise through-ball into the path of Kewell, who produced an excellent left-footed finish with his first touch.

Kuchar finds no way past Bakke
Within five minutes, though, Slavia were level on the night, as Ulich coolly dispatched a side-footed shot past Martyn to complete a flowing Prague move.

There were more heart-flutters to come from Leeds, though, and 12 minutes from time Slavia cut the aggregate lead to two goals.

Harte conceded a penalty with a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box and though Martyn did well to get a hand to Ulich's penalty, he could not keep the ball out.

Kuchar then tried his luck with a free-kick, but Martyn was equal to the task and Leeds safely negotiated the closing stages to ease into the semi-finals.


Slavia Prague: P Cerny, Kozek, L Dosek, Koller, Hysky, Ulich, Dostalek, Skala, Kuchar, T Dosek, Zelenka.
Subs: Lerch, Vagner, Vozabal, Kristofik, Vaclavik.

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

Referee: Sarvan Ozun (Turkey)

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