Two goals late in the second half from Ian Harte and Alan Smith earned Leeds United AFC a 2-1 first-leg victory away to Grasshopper-Club in the UEFA Cup third round.
The Swiss team had taken the lead at the Hardturm stadium through Stéphane Chapuisat. Their defeat was made worse by the fact they missed a 68th-minute penalty. The two away goals mean Leeds are firmly in the driving seat for the second leg.
Chapuisat comes up trumps
After early Leeds pressure, Grasshoppers took the lead on 18 minutes through veteran striker Chapuisat. He beat two defenders before scoring with a sweet shot from 25 metres.
Ferdinand caught out
In pouring rain and on a sodden pitch, Leeds became increasingly frustrated and they should have gone further behind when England defender Rio Ferdinand fouled Uruguayan striker Richard Nuñez in the penalty area.
Nuñez counts the cost
Nuñez hit a poor penalty which was saved by Nigel Martyn in the 68th minute and five minutes later Harte curled a free kick from 25 metres over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net. With eleven minutes remaining Smith prodded home to leave the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in confident mood ahead of the return leg.
'A great chance'
"We've now given ourselves a great chance of going through to the next round," said Leeds manager David O'Leary. "But we will not take them for granted in the return at Elland Road in a fortnight's time."
'A courageous victory'
He admitted that his side had ridden their luck, saying: "I thought we started well, but we conceded a goal against the run of play, and then at the start of the second half they played superbly. But we got out of jail in many respects and I have to say that I felt it was a courageous victory in the end."
'Maybe ten per cent'
His opposite number, Hans-Peter Zaugg, was disappointed to see his side go down so late in the game, but was pleased with his side's display. “I am very disappointed with the result but I am very proud of the performance my team gave," he said. "If Richard Nuñez had scored with the penalty we may have won 2-0 or even 3-0 but after that the game changed. Now we have only a small chance of going through, maybe ten per cent.”
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