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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"It was a seat-of-the-pants defensive performance"
 real 14k

Leeds' Lee Bowyer
"It's crazy to say losing 2-0 but we're happy with the result"
 real 14k

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
"It'll be a fairytale come true to play in the final"
 real 14k

Leeds manager David O'Leary
"We've knocked out a very good side"
 real 14k

banner Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Leeds reach last four
Batty and Djalminha
David Batty tackles danger man Djalminha
Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 Leeds United
(Leeds win 3-2 on aggregate)

Leeds United survived a 90-minute battering and squeezed into the semi-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday despite losing 2-0 to Spanish champions Deportivo La Coruna.

David O'Leary's side won the quarter-final tie 3-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 3-0 at Elland Road.

It was the first time Leeds had reached the semi-final of Europe's main club competition for 26 years but they needed a mixture of good fortune and fantastic defending to achieve it in a pulsating game.

Deportivo had described Leeds as the weakest side left in the competition before the quarter-final draw, then had to eat their words when they were well beaten in the first leg.

But three-goal deficits were nothing new for the Spaniards who wiped out a similar scoreline against Paris St Germain in their last Champions League appearance at home.

In a sizzling atmosphere and on a pitch covered with white ticker-tape, they looked like doing it all over again for long periods on Tuesday.

The early lead the Spaniards craved came after just nine minutes.

Harry Kewell was adjudged to have fouled Victor and Djalminha sent Nigel Martyn the wrong way from the penalty spot.

The Riazor stadium erupted into a cauldron of noise as the home side tore into Leeds.

As Deportivo launched wave after wave of attacks, a long-range effort shaved the angle between post and bar.

With his side on the back foot, Rio Ferdinand was booked for a heavy challenge on Fran Gonzales. The 18m defender then saved his side by getting in the way of Roy Makaay's effort.

Chance after chance came and went in a totally one-sided first half. But having been pegged back, Leeds very nearly snatched an equaliser with their only clear-cut chance of the opening 45 minutes.


Alan Smith tussles with Naybet
Alan Smith took advantage of a dreadful back-pass but having rounded goalkeeper Jose Molina, he could only find the side netting.

But Leeds had been given a first-half roasting and were extremely fortunate to go in only one goal behind at the interval.

The second half was five minutes old when Martyn somehow pushed Romero's fierce drive on to the bar.

Then, with their 13th effort on target, Makaay headed against the bar as Leeds had yet another escape.

Just as O'Leary's team appeared to have weathered the storm, Deportivo doubled their lead with 16 minutes left.

A quick free-kick found Tristan unmarked in the area and the substitute beat Martyn from close range.

It set up a thrilling finale in which Leeds somehow survived to take their place in the semis.


Deportivo La Coruna: Molina, Manuel Pablo, Donato, Naybet, Romero, Victor, Mauro Silva, Fran, Djalminha, Pandiani, Makaay

Leeds United: Martyn, Mills, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte, Bowyer, Dacourt, Batty, Kewell, Viduka, Smith.

Referee: Stefano Braschi (Italy).

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