A four-goal salvo from Alan Smith carried Leeds United AFC past Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in their UEFA Cup second-round second leg tie at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence. Leading 1-0 from the first leg, this 4-1 win ensured a handsome aggregate success for Terry Venables' side.
Field day for Smith
Despite falling behind within 70 seconds of the kick-off, Leeds were never under any real pressure for the remainder of the game and England striker Smith had a field day in front of goal, scoring in the 30th, 53rd and 61st minutes, before rounding off a magnificent performance with his fourth in the 82nd minute.
Leeds were caught cold just after the kick-off when Hapoel took the lead through a curling free-kick from Josef Abukasis. Eirik Bakke was penalised for a foul on Salim Toama and Abukasis's delightful 22-metre shot eluded goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
Leeds, however, managed to regain their composure and enjoyed long periods of possession, with Smith and Harry Kewell causing the Hapoel defence constant problems. Kewell escaped his marker on eleven minutes but the Australian international's shot lack power.
The equaliser came on the half-hour mark when Norwegian midfielder Bakke played a neat ball into Smith whose left-footed drive from a tight angle nestled in the corner of the goal beyond goalkeeper Shavit Elimelech.
Afek hits crossbar
Almost immediately, a lack of concentration from Ian Harte allowed Omri Afek to collect the ball on the edge of the area and his stunning shot clipped the crossbar. The Republic of Ireland full-back, however, made amends soon after at the other end, with a fierce free-kick which clattered against the crossbar.
Hapoel came out strongly in the second half but were rattled on 53 minutes when Smith showed his tenacity as he managed to get between defender Asaf Domb and the advancing Elimelech to slip the ball into the goal from a tight angle.
Thereafter, the English Premiership side were coasting to victory and in the 61st minute Smith completed his well-deserved hat-trick, following up his own blocked header to drive a shot into the goal from close range.
Hapoel were reduced to ten men on 78 minutes when goalscorer Abukasis received his second yellow card of the game. Smith then wrapped up a memorable evening with his and Leeds's fourth goal four minutes later, heading past the stranded Elimelech from three metres.
Leeds manager Terry Venables was delighted especially after the shock of conceding an early goal. He said: "We reacted very well. After scoring the second goal, the match was almost finished and we found much room for our counterattacks."
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