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Leeds United spring the upset of the night in cup by sending Everton packing
6:00am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in Sport
Leeds United 2 Everton 1
One of the favourites to lift the Capital One Cup bit the dust at the third-round stage as in-form Everton were shocked by Championship side Leeds at Elland Road.
A flying start to their Premier League season had seen David Moyes’ third-placed side installed as one of the frontrunners to lift this trophy but Aidy White’s fourth-minute goal and Rodolph Austin’s effort with 20 minutes left saw Leeds through, despite a nervy ending prompted by Sylvain Distin’s header.
The performance of Austin – a Jamaica international who has spent most of his career in Norway – was at the centre of Leeds’ victory, with the midfielder coming out on top of his battle with another man mountain, Marouane Fellaini.
The Belgium international was one of just five Everton players to retain his shirt from Saturday’s 3-0 win at Swansea in what was a first meeting between these two sides since April 2004, when the goals in a 1-1 draw were scored by James Milner and Wayne Rooney.
Everton have remained a stable top-flight force since then while Leeds have dodged from one false dawn to another in their bid to return to it. The Bahraini businessmen watching tlast night who are in talks with the club over investment may well fancy their chances of making that happen.
For Everton, though, despite their strong league start, their best chance of a trophy this season has now passed them by, with Moyes unable to summon enough from a well-stocked bench to put Leeds off their stride.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock felt his side were full value for their win and claimed they could have won by an even bigger margin.
“They (Everton) wanted to win it – make no mistake – but I think we deserved it on the night.
“I thought we were a little bit sharper, we won the second balls and I think we should have scored one or two other goals, so we’re disappointed that we didn’t, but we never do anything easy.”
White’s superb goal gave Leeds the lead after just four minutes and the 20-year-old was delighted to finally open his account for the club.
He said: “It’s amazing to finally get it after all these years of waiting. I’ve been dreaming of finally scoring for Leeds and it’s come true.”and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than against a really good team.”
Asked about how far Leeds could go in the competition now, White said: “Hopefully all the way. It’s a massive cup and we want to win every game and take every game as it comes, and if we can keep progressing in the cup it’d be brilliant and to get to the final... why not?”
While David Moyes headed back to Merseyside to plan for a pick-me-up meeting with Southampton, opposite number Warnock showered in what he called his “best-ever cup win”.
Such praise was rich from a man who took an unfancied Sheffield United side to the semi-finals of both domestic competitions a decade ago, but he claims that owing to the injury crisis that is currently sweeping his already-thin squad, this victory was sweeter.
“I think that’s as good a performance as I’ve ever had in the cup, because of of the circumstances,” he said.
“They had a strong team, they’re nearly top of the Premier League and they wanted to win. But we were better on the night. We deserved the win. They did have a few chances and we did too.
“It was like going back in time tonight, with the weather chucking it down, the fans singing, the officials were great, everything was.”
“It had everything, Warnock added.
“We had our centre-halves in bandage and covered in blood and we had the likes of Browny, Pugh and Ashdown. They’ve hardly played but they fitted in lovely. I’m pleased for them all. There was no weakness because if there had have been, we wouldn’t have won.”