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The BBC's Ian Brown
"David O'Leary spoke of a possible drubbing and so it proved"
 real 14k

David O'Leary
"We were outclassed and outplayed."
 real 14k

Michael Duberry
"It's a learning curve."
 real 14k

Alan Smith
"It' not every day you get to play at one of the world's best stadiums."
 real 14k

Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 22:13 GMT 23:13 UK
Leeds humbled at Nou Camp
Rivaldo
Rivaldo celebrates scoring Barcelona's first goal
Barcelona 4-0 Leeds United

Leeds United were given a painful lesson in the beautiful game in their opening match of the Champions League group phase by on-fire Barcelona.

Rivaldo, the former world player of the year, masterminded a dominant performance of total football by the Spanish side.


We are really running out of players, so I'm desperately hoping Lucas will be okay
  David O'Leary
Barcelona were irresistible, tearing Leeds apart in the first half, even if the English team gave themselves some reasons for optimism for the rest of the campaign with a stronger performance in the second half.

Brazil's Rivaldo opened the scoring after just 10 minutes. By that time it was already clear that an injury-depleted Leeds were in for a long night in the Camp Nou stadium.

That was the first of four goals as Barcelona fired a Champions League warning shot across the bows of fellow-favourites Lazio, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Five forwards

Rivaldo's first goal was the end-product of a typically fluid Barcelona move, and superb skill by the striker.

He picked up the ball mid-way into the Leeds half and was tackled by Olivier Dacourt. But the ball broke to Simao Sabrosa on the right.

The Portuguese winger crossed back to Rivaldo, who dummied and side-stepped Michael Duberry before slotting a lovely shot from 20 yards past a diving Nigel Martyn into the bottom left-hand corner.

Barcelona were effectively playing with five forwards - Rivaldo, Simao, Marc Overmars, Dani and Patrick Kluivert - and Leeds could not cope.

Ten minutes later, Frank de Boer was next on the list, with a superb free-kick, awarded for a foul on Rivaldo.

Michael Bridges and Frank de Boer
Bridges, here tackled by de Boer, went close

From 25 yards out, the ball flew into the top left-hand corner after swerving and dipping fiercely, leaving Martyn grasping at thin air.

The third came after 74 minutes, just after Rivaldo was substituted for local hero Alfonso. Simao crossed for Kluivert, who slotted the ball home, despite the close attentions of Duberry.

Kluivert took his second to make it four with seven minutes to go.

Barcelona should have scored more, with Gerard, Kluivert and Rivaldo all missing scoring chances.

In the first half, a brilliant challenge by Duberry on Rivaldo saved a third goal, while Martyn produced an excellent low save to deny the same player after 59 minutes.

Outnumbered

Rattled, the English side were often forced to resort to the long-ball game to try to get service to forwards Alan Smith and Michael Bridges, who had a lonely match.


In the end the best team won by far. We played against some world-class players
  David O'Leary
Occasionally Leeds would get the ball up, but the isolated strikers were usually outnumbered by the Barcelona defence.

Bowyer had a shot on goal after 33 minutes, during a brief foray into the Barcelona half, but he shot straight into Dutruel's arms from the edge of the area.

As Barcelona eased off the pressure, Leeds started better in the second half, putting more moves together with some speed and incisiveness.

United came close to a breakthrough a minute after the break, when Bridges put Ian Harte clean through, but his shot was stopped by an excellent save from Richard Dutruel in the Barcelona goal.

Bridges himself came close with 12 minutes to go, when Smith beat Petit on the right, but his cross was too strong for his team-mate to control.

To make matters worse, both Danny Mills and Alan Smith are one yellow card away from a suspension. Mills was booked on 43 minutes for a high challenge on Simao, while Smith came in late from behind on Cocu early in the second half.

And there was further bad news towards the end, when skipper Lucas Radebe was stretchered off fitted with a neck brace after colliding with Dacourt.

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Duberry, Radebe (Hay, 90), Mills, Bowyer, Dacourt, McPhail (Hackworth, 72), Harte, Bridges, Smith. Subs: Robinson, Huckerby, Jones, Hay, Burns, Evans, Hackworth.

Barcelona: Dutruel, Abelardo, de Boer, Sergi, Simao, Gerard, Cocu (Petit, 54), Overmars, Kluivert, Rivaldo (Alfonso, 73), Dani (De La Pena, 65). Subs: Arnau, Reiziger, De La Pena, Alfonso, Petit, Santamaria, Macedo da Silva.

Referee: M Merk (Germany)

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See also:

13 Sep 00 |  Man Utd
Cole smashes stunning treble
13 Sep 00 |  Champions League
Radebe in hospital after Barca clash
13 Sep 00 |  Photo Galleries
Champions League action - in pictures
11 Sep 00 |  Champions League
Huckerby's Barca hope
13 Sep 00 |  Champions League
Champions League: Minute-by-minute
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