It must rank as the greatest season in Leeds United's modern history as Rio Ferdinand, Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and company took Europe fly storm. Nobody will forget those spectacular away wins over Lazio and Anderlecht that made Leeds the stars of the Champions League. There were also unforgettable games against European giants AC Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona. And while David OLearys boys blazed a trail across Europe they also produced a stunning Premier League revival that ensured United clinched a qualifying berth for the UEFA Cup. En route Leeds paid a record £ 18 million tee for Rio Ferdinand who is emerging as one of the world's finest defenders. 2000-01 was a momentous season... and here's the proof. Manchester United, Arsenal and Leeds carried the torch for English football in the Champions' League - and all three enjoyed memorable campaigns, though il was Leeds who came closest to a remarkable place in the Champions' League final. They had to qualify for the right to participate but overcame Tsv Munich, winning 2-1 at home - despite having Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke sent off - and 1-0 away.
That look Leeds into the first group - and a 4-0 thrashing by Barcelona. Yet a Lee Bowyer goal earned Leeds a memorable win over AC Milan and, following a 6-0 home win and 0-0 away draw with Besiktas, they held Barcelona 1-1 at Elland Hoad, where only an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time from Rivaldo denied Leeds a famous win. Leeds went into their final game needing a point against Milan and got it, Dominic Matteo's effort cancelling Serginho's goal -after Andriy Shcevchenko's penalty had hit a Leeds post. In the second group stage, with Barcelona and Juventus knocked out, Leeds were drawn against Real Madrid, Lazio and Anderlecht. A 2-0 defeat at home to Madrid suggested Leeds had achieved too much, too quickly, but a remarkable 1-0 win in Rome against Sven-Goran Eriksson's Lazio, thanks to Alan Smith's late goal, offered Leeds' campaign hope and two wins over Anderlecht, the second a remarkable 4-1 victory in Belgium, confirmed Leeds' place in Ihe final eight. After a 3-2 defeat in Madrid and a 3-5 draw at home to Lazio -with Sinisa Mihajlovic stealing a last-minute equaliser - Leeds went into the knock-out stages and earned another remarkable result, a 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna. A goalless draw in Spain confirmed Leeds' place in the semi-final - against Valencia, last season's beaten finalists. It was one tie too many for Leeds. They managed only a goalless draw at Elland Road and, the day before Ihe return leg, learned that Bowyer was banned as a result of his foul on Valencia's Juan Sanchez in the first leg. without arguably Iheir most influential player Leeds were undone, losing 3-0, but it had been an Incredible adventure.