Bolton pushes Leeds over the edge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bolton pushes Leeds over the edge

By Angus MacKinnon 03/05/2004 05:04:08 AM Comments (0)

Leeds United's downward spiral from the brink of the Champions League final to practically bankrupt also-rans became complete when the Yorkshire giants dropped out of the English Premiership.

Exactly three years to the day after they played Valencia in the last four of Europe's elite competition, Leeds were condemned to first division football next season by a 4-1 thrashing at Bolton after having Mark Viduka sent off in the first half.

While Leeds were contemplating a future that seems certain to include the sale of prize assets Viduka, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson this summer, Liverpool and Aston Villa were treating their fans to the prospect of brighter days.

A convincing 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Anfield kept Liverpool in fourth place, the final qualifying place for the Champions League.

But Villa, managed by former Leeds boss David O'Leary, are only a point behind after a 1-0 win over Tottenham stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.

Newcastle, who travel to Anfield on the final day of the season, are also still firmly in the hunt, three points behind Liverpool but with a game in hand.

The 20th defeat of a miserable season left Leeds six points adrift of Manchester City, the only side they had any chance of catching, with just two games left in the top flight.

Leeds could still equal City's points total but a goal difference that is 36 goals worse than their rivals means they will go down along with Leicester and Wolves, who were both condemned to the drop on Saturday.

Three goals in the ten minutes after the interval - a Youri Djorkaeff double and an agonising own goal by Ian Harte - sealed Leeds' fate after Viduka had given them a first-half lead from the penalty spot.

Kevin Nolan extended Bolton's winning margin near the end but the real damage was done by the petulance of their Australian striker, who was sent off for the second time in a month after receiving two yellow cards in the space of as many minutes.

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