Leeds through to fourth round of UEFA Cup

Leeds United are through to fourth round of UEFA Cup after a 2-2 draw against the Zurich Grasshoppers.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Leeds United are through to the fourth round of the UEFA Cup after a 2-2 draw at home to Grasshoppers of Zurich on Thursday. The result meant the English side went through 4-3 on aggregate but Leeds manager David O'Leary will be disappointed with the two soft goals they conceded to their Swiss opponents. Two-one up from the first leg, Leeds United had several players out injured while recent signing Robbie Fowler was ineligible. The Grasshoppers made just one change -- their Zimbabwe international striker Benjamin Mwaruwari made way for Switzerland international midfielder Andres Gerber. The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute as Harry Kewell came up with an electrifying goal. Kelly's clearance from a Grasshoppers free kick was stabbed forward by Olivier Dacourt into the path of Kewell. The Australian international embarked on an 80-metres run, first beating Mihai Tararache and then Ronald Scwegler for pace, before chipping the onrushing Peter Jehle for his seventh goal of the season. Kewell nearly added a second in the 28th minute. Leaving Boris Smiljanic in his wake, Kewell struck a 25-metres shot which beat Jehle, only for the crossbar to come to the rescue of the Liechstenstein international as the ball skidded off the top of the woodwork and into the crowd. Then, on the stroke of halftime, the Grasshoppers pulled a goal back to keep the tie alive. Leeds skipper Rio Ferdinand sold Danny Mills short with a bad back pass and the latter could do little as Stephane Chapuisat charged in, only for the ball to run to Nigel Martyn. But the England international was guilty of letting it slip from his grasp as he slid out to collect. Uruguayan Richard Nunez then clipped in a shot over Martyn, the ball bouncing off the prone Leeds goalkeeper and into the net for his 20th goal in 26 games this season. But less than a minute later, Leeds restored their two-goal cushion, with Mills' through ball initially dummied by Alan Smith prior to Mark Viduka turning and touching it onto Robbie Keane. The Republic of Ireland international, who has struggled with one-on-one chances this season, then drove home his eighth of the season beyond Jehle. After the explosive finish to the first half, it came as no surprise that the second started quietly with neither goalkeeper tested in the opening 10 minutes. But Leeds nearly added a fortunate third in the 64th minute, with Viduka initially bundled off a through ball by Keane inside the area, only for the Australian striker to scoop in his shot while lying on the ground. But it drifted inches past Jehle's left-hand post. Jehle was then forced into a stunning save from a 25-metres thunderbolt from Viduka following a headed knock down by Ferdinand into the path of the Australian international. Luca Ippoliti, a 66th minute substitute for Ricardo Cabanas, then forced Nigel Martyn into a stunning one-handed stop from a swerving 25-yard right-foot drive. Leeds' hearts were fluttering when Nunez scored his second of the game 90 seconds into injury-time. But it proved to be virtually the last kick of the contest as Leeds ultimately sealed their passage into the fourth-round.