Leeds United 0-1 Liverpool: Reds Rescued By N’Gog Goal
Liverpool edged past Leeds United in controversial circumstances with a 1-0 victory at Elland Road.
The hosts seemed to have taken the lead through aLubor Michalik header, but referee Alan Wiley judged strikers Jermaine Beckford and Luciano Becchio to be offside.
David Ngog’s strike proved to be enough for the Reds to advance to the fourth round, narrowly escaping a cup upset.
The home side came the closest to scoring after ten minutes, as Jason Crowe fed Robert Snodgrass on the right hand side, whose cross found Michael Doyle unmarked, but he could only head wide when he should have done better.
Less than two minutes later, Leeds had the ball in the net as Michalik nodded the ball into Beckford’s path. The striker appeared to turn the ball past Cavalieri into the open net, but the assistant’s flag seemed to be lifted for offside as Becchio needlessly smashed the ball home, though replays suggested both were in line with Liverpool’s David Ngog.
Liverpool had a chance shortly after as Albert Riera headed for Ngog, who struggled to connect and glanced wide when he could have scored.
Becchio attempted to legitimately put United ahead as he turned to shoot from 20 yards out after collecting a flick-on from Johnson, but scuffed his curling effort wide.
With half an hour gone, Ryan Babel’s solo run threatened to break the deadlock, but after breezing past a handful of defenders, the Dutchman could not decide whether to cross or shoot and failed to trouble Higgs.
With half-time fast approaching, Liverpool forced Higgs into more necessary action as Riera rose to meet Fabio Aurelio’s free-kick, which the goalkeeper parried away.
After the interval, Snodgrass continued to trouble Liverpool down the right hand side, showing quick feet to break into the area, with a host of white shirts failing to add the finishing touches to the move.
Jay Spearing fired over for Liverpool, but shortly after Beckford was presented with a sensational opportunity to put Leeds ahead.
The striker latched on to a long, high ball which Jamie Carragher helped along as it flew over him, but could not beat Cavalieri, who saved Beckford’s poked effort with his feet.
Despite Leeds controlling the game, Liverpool took the lead when Ngog collected Javier Mascherano’s hopeful low volley, before swivelling towards goal and stroking the ball into Higgs’ bottom right-hand corner.
Mascherano was perhaps lucky to remain on the pitch, as replays of an earlier off-the-ball altercation involving Beckford showed the Argentinean catching the forward’s head with his left arm.
With 15 minutes left, Johnson struck from outside the area, but his effort was comfortably saved by Cavalieri.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez replaced Ngog with Steven Gerrard in the closing stages and the midfielder came close to putting the result beyond doubt, but it wasn’t required as, in the end, the Elland Road faithful were left wondering what could have been.