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Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 16:34 GMT
Liverpool escape tricky terriers

Camara celebrates his superb strike Fine line: Liverpool took their chances. Huddersfield didn't


Huddersfield 0-2 Liverpool

Rampant First Division leaders Huddersfield were left cursing their missed opportunities as they allowed Liverpool to wriggle through a tricky third round FA Cup clash.

Steve Bruce's men squandered a dozen clear-cut chances to upset their Premiership visitors.



We've beaten them... but we had to play well to beat them
Gerard Houllier
But resilient Liverpool made the most of their limited openings, underlining the fine line between First Division football and the top-flight.

Huddersfield were undone by a first-half bolt from the blue from Titi Camara and a rapier-like counter-attack finished off by replacement left-back Dominic Matteo.

Bruce's players often out-played the visitors in a zippy clash, creating an astonishing nine strikes on goal to Liverpool's three in the first-half alone.

It was a thrilling tie - perhaps to be expected from a clash between a first division attack which has scored 39 goals so far this season against a Premiership defence which has conceded only 14.


Dominic Matteo (right) Liverpool still looked uncomfortable after their second but it was enough
Inspired by the creativity of quick-thinking of midfielders Ben Thornley, once ear-marked for great things at Old Trafford, and 34-year-old Scott Sellars - formerly of Blackburn, Leeds and Newcastle - the first division side burst into life from the kick-off.

In the first fifteen minutes they rocked Liverpool, who needed the size and strength of keeper Sander Westerveld to prevent them going several goals behind.

The Dutchman got down well to block a third-minute snap shot from skipper Kenny Irons and 60 seconds later he was left stretched out in agony after bravely blocking Clyde Wijnhard's one-on-one low chip.

Camara should have given Liverpool the lead on ten minutes after a clever one-two with Hamann but he screwed his eight-yard shot four yards wide.


Match facts
1-34 mins: Huddersfield waste six decent shooting chances
35 mins: Staunton substituted for Matteo
36 mins: Camara gives Liverpool the lead
59 mins: Matteo blasts the second
Michael Owen was largely overshadowed by the other three strikers on the pitch but he showed a flash of brilliance with a cheeky chip shot which only just stuck to the fingertips of Nico Vaesen.

Westerveld was again in action, saving at the near post from Thornley, but he had Henchoz to thank for a timely block on the excellent Dean Gorre.

Gerard Houllier was clearly concerned at the space his back-four were allowing their first division hosts.

He waited little more than half an hour before replacing the ageing Steve Staunton with Matteo.

The switch had an instant effect, Vladimir Smicer's surging run down the right flank setting up Camara for a delightful roundhouse volley which put Liverpool ahead.


Smicer fends of Huddersfield's Thornley
It was against the run of play but as so often in cup football, was predictable given Huddersfield's profligacy and Liverpool's calibre.

The narrative was repeated in the second half when just as Huddersfield had been threatening an equaliser, Liverpool lauched a lightning counter-attack which brought them their second goal.

Camara, on the half-way line, hoofed a cross-field ball which fell just behind Hamann but was latched onto by the cantering left-back Matteo.

One touch took Matteo into the box and past the unfortunate Irons, who slipped before he could make a challenge, where he smashed a left-foot shot under the body of Nico Vaesen.



It's a matter of taking heart from the positive aspects of this performance and making sure we keep our league form going
Steve Bruce
Owen came alive a little more in the second-half, but poor finishing saw him squander two glorious chances.

Wjinhard continued his wasteful ways, but his continued threat promped a cautious Houllier to move to five at the back with the introduction of Rigobert Song for Smicer.

Huddersfield continued to threaten right until the end, substitute Donis' 79th minute drive forcing a fine save from Westerveld, but they ended the game goalless.

Teams:

Huddersfield: Vaesen, Jenkins, Gray, Armstrong, Vincent, Gorre, Irons, Sellars, Thornley, Stewart, Wijnhard.
Subs: Margetson, Donis, Dyson, Horne, Schofield.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Staunton, Smicer, Gerrard, Hamann, Murphy, Camara, Owen.
Subs: Song, Meijer, Friedel, Matteo, Newby.
Referee: R Harris (Oxford)

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See also:
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Spurs handed revenge chance
11 Dec 99 |  FA Cup
Hammers humiliated by hard work
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Foxes held at Hereford
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Wrexham wreck Boro cup bid
05 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Youth steals the show at Anfield
12 Dec 99 |  FA Cup
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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.