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Sunday, September 19, 1999 Published at 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK

Boro make it easy for Leeds

Bridges put Leeds ahead while Cooper helped them go two up

Leeds United 2-0 Middlesbrough

Leeds side went second in the Premiership as Boro made crucial errors at both ends of the pitch.

Simon Brotherton reports from Elland Road
The weekend has seen plenty of evidence of the so-called European hangover with top teams dropping points against lesser sides.

So Leeds will be grateful for their opponents' missed chances and the defensive howler which led to Harry Kewell's second half strike.

Michael Bridges had already put the home side 1-0 up, and meant United were able to cruise to the final whistle.

Leeds dominated the opening stages, and Bridges' opener came after good work from Alan Smith down the right.

A heavy deflection off Steve Vickers also wrongfooted Mark Schwarzer.

Boro's first serious effort on goal saw former Leeds striker Brian Deane sidefooting weakly at Nigel Martyn after 20 minutes.

Ince v Batty

Until now Paul Ince was being dominated in his key midfield battle with David Batty, although the Boro man did as much as anybody to get his team back into the game.

His frustration was clear towards the end of the match when he was booked for clattering former England colleague Batty.

Ince had helped Boro start the second period much more brightly, and five minutes after the break Deane hit the post with a superb shot from outside the area.

Leeds manager David O'Leary then replaced goalscorer Bridges with Darren Huckerby.

The former Coventry striker had a hand in his team's second goal, although the Boro defence did far more to assist Kewell's strike.

Cooper's crucial error

A dreadful back pass from Colin Cooper forced Schwarzer to come charging out with the pacey Huckerby sprinting towards him.

[ image: Kewell was lively throughout]
Kewell was lively throughout
The striker got there first, and although Schwarzer was able to block his effort, it left an open goal.

Kewell simply had to get his 25-yard effort on target to score his first goal in 18 matches.

The cushion of a second goal injtected new confidence into the home side, who might have gone three up when Smith broke the offside trap.

But Boro were also guilty of mistakes in attack, with Christian Ziege missing their best chance with 20 minutes to go.

Lee Bowyer and Kewell also threatened to increase Leeds' advantage, but after a tough week they were simply happy to hang on for the win.


Leeds: Martyn, Mills, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Hopkin, Batty, Bowyer, Kewell, Bridges, Smith.
Subs: Kelly, Haaland, Huckerby, Robinson, Bakke.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Festa, Vickers, Pallister, Cooper, Ziege, Mustoe, Ince, O'Neill, Deane, Armstrong.
Subs: Fleming, Beresford, Maddison, Ricard, Gavin.
Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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