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Grasshoppers fall to Leeds

Harry Kewell opens the scoring against Grasshoppers Keystone

Grasshoppers Zurich were unable to follow Servette into the fourth round of the UEFA Cup, losing 4-3 on aggregate to English Premier League side Leeds.

The narrow overall scoreline was somewhat flattering to the Swiss side. After being beaten 2-1 in Zurich two weeks ago, Hans-Peter Zaugg’s team found themselves trailing by the same scoreline until almost the very end of Thursday’s second leg in Leeds.

A 92nd minute goal by Uruguayan forward Richard Nunez eventually helped Grasshoppers level the score at 2-2 on the night, but the equaliser came too late to put the result as a whole in doubt.

Leeds had earlier dominated most of the play and took a deserved lead in the 19th minute with an impressive strike from returning Australian striker Harry Kewell, who ran from deep in his own half before beating young Grasshoppers goalie Peter Jehle.

Rare mistake

A rare mistake in the Leeds defence then saw Nunez grab his first goal of the night in the final minute of the first half, but before the referee could blow his whistle for half-time the English team had reasserted their superiority.

With two minutes of injury time played, Robbie Keane fired Leeds back in front following a swift counter-attack by the home side.

The second half was more evenly balanced but Grasshoppers never looked like posing much of a threat until Nunez whipped the ball past a surprised Nigel Martyn in the Leeds goal.

If the home fans felt any fear it couldn’t have been for long – within seconds the final whistle had ended Grasshoppers’ European campaign and assured Leeds of a place in next Wednesday’s fourth round draw.

by Mark Ledsom

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR