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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 21:05 GMT 22:05 UK
Leeds stun Milan on glory night
Leeds 1-0 AC Milan
Leeds United re-ignited their Champions League campaign as a catastrophic error from AC Milan's Brazilian goalkeeper Dida handed them a priceless victory at waterlogged Elland Road.
Dida fumbled a hopeful 30-yard drive from Lee Bowyer with just two minutes remaining to give Leeds a victory their vibrant performance deserved.
David O'Leary's depleted forces bounced back from the humiliation of a 4-0 defeat against Barcelona in their first Group H game to restore their pride and reputation on a night of drama in appalling conditions.
Leeds put a lengthy casualty list and poor form behind them to match AC Milan every inch of the way - and then grab the victory in farcical fashion in the dying minutes as the game looked destined for a draw.
It was a display that did massive credit to a patched up starting line-up, and made a mockery of fears that their Champions League campaign could become a painful journey into European oblivion.
The only real threat to Leeds came from Ukrainian speed merchant Andriy Shevchenko, but it was a marvellous victory as they did O'Leary proud.
And with Barcelona losing to Besiktas, it kept their hopes of Champions League qualification alive.
Leeds boss O'Leary was forced to take a major selection gamble with his side ravaged by injuries - and an untimely Olympic call up for Australian striker Mark Viduka.
Eirik Bakke was recalled after a four game absence, but the biggest surprise was the inclusion of Dominic Matteo for his debut after a £4.25m move from Liverpool.
Matteo has been sidelined with a knee injury since his arrival in the week before the season started, but he was pressed into action in the emergency.
And Matteo was one of Leeds' most impressive performers in a highly promising first half, with Olivier Dacourt and Lee Bowyer also prominent as they refused to bow to AC Milan's glittering reputation.
Milan had the first opportunity on a rain-lashed evening when Thomas Helveg took advantage of poor control by Ian Harte, but could only find the side-netting.
Matteo's break down the left created an opening which Bakke failed to convert in the 17th minute.
And Norwegian Bakke should have given Leeds the lead three minutes later when he stole into the penalty area unmarked, but headed Bowyer's cross wastefully over the bar from just eight yards.
Leeds had kept the Milan strike force of German Oliver Bierhoff and Shevchenko at arm's length in the first half, although the latter's blistering pace hinted at a real threat.
But Leeds re-shaped side continued to dictate the tempo as they defied fears that they might be on the receiving end of another heavy beating after their traumatic night in the Nou Camp against Barcelona last week.
Leeds had penalty appeals waved away when Alan Smith tumbled under challenge from Jose Antonio Chamot in the 53rd minute.
And even the great Paolo Maldini was ruffled by youngster Smith's tenacity, collecting a yellow card for hauling him to the floor.
Shevchenko sent a warning signal to Leeds after 62 minutes with a brilliant turn and burst of acceleration that forced Martyn into a fingertip save.
It was the start of a purple patch for the Ukrainian, who was then only denied by a saving tackle from Danny Mills before bringing another good save from Martyn.
And then, with time running out, came that dramatic late winner, when Bowyer's speculative effort spilt from Dida's hands, and the blundering Brazilian then stumbled over the line as the ball rolled in to the delight of Leeds.
Leeds left a joyous Elland Road to thunderous applause - in sharp contrast to the jeers that greeted their defeat against Ipswich Town only three days ago.
Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Duberry, Mills, Bowyer, Bakke, Dacourt, Matteo, Bridges, Smith. Subs: Robinson, Huckerby, Jones, Hay, Burns, Evans, Hackworth.
AC Milan: Dida, Chamot, Costacurta, Maldini, Helveg, Albertini, Giunti, Coco, Guglielminpietro, Bierhoff, Shevchenko. Subs: Rossi, De Ascentis, Leonardo, Roque Junior, Sala, Serginho, Saudati.
Referee: G Benko (Austria)
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