Leeds United AFC 1-0 FC Metalurh Zaporizhya
UEFA Cup newcomers FC Metalurh Zaporizhya produced a disciplined defensive performance at Elland Road to restrict their English hosts to only one goal in the first leg of their first-round tie.
Leeds, twice winners of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, had played 140 more European games than their opponents, but took 80 minutes to prise open a Zaporizhya defence well marshalled by the experienced Oleg Raty and Mario Dodic.
Home manager Terry Venables deployed Gary Kelly at right-back in place of Danny Mills, but the selection that interested most home fans was that of substitute Michael Bridges, who had not played competitively for two years due to injury.
Venables' side pressed forward from the off, but despite forcing a succession of early corners, Zaporizhya goalkeeper Andriy Glushchenko was not seriously troubled for the first 45 minutes. His opposite number, Paul Robinson, had an even quieter game.
Ten minutes into the second half, Alan Smith and Ian Harte both forced Glushchenko into excellent blocks from close range. However, it was only with the introduction of Bridges and Stephen McPhail - himself having only made his injury comeback five days ago - that Leeds began to look like scoring.
Smith and Harte again went close as Bridges' running troubled the away defence, and it was the ex-Sunderland AFC striker who made the goal when it finally came. With the ball seemingly going out for a goal-kick, Bridges spinted to the by-line to keep the ball in play. He whipped it back to Smith, who gave Glushchenko no chance from close range.
Zaporizhya's caretaker coach, Oleg Lutkov, can be pleased with a performance that belied his side's disappointing domestic form and Leeds will not relish their trip to Ukraine in a fortnight's time. "I've no illusions of how difficult it going to be," said Venables.