‘I don’t know why I shot’ – Lee Bowyer recalls long distance strike against AC Milan for Leeds United in 2001 Champions League

    Lee Bowyer doesn’t actually know why he went for goal against AC Milan that secured a famous win for Leeds.

    But the former Elland Road star admitted he now jokes that goalkeeper Dida simply couldn’t contain the sheer power behind the shot, rather than saying the Brazilian let it slip through his hands.

    Bowyer’s goal has lived long in the memory of Leeds fans

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    Bowyer’s goal has lived long in the memory of Leeds fans

    It’s been 10 years since the east Londoner hung up his boots and he’s gone on to manage two of his former sides since.

    Bowyer had a number of memorable moments throughout his 17-year playing career. But one that stands out for talkSPORT host Jim White was THAT strike in the Champions League.

    On a night of horrendously heavy rain at Elland Road in September 2000, a young Bowyer let fly from 30 yards.

    A clanger from Milan goalkeeper Dida with minutes to go sent the crowd wild.

    The goal ended up being the winner, securing three points and Bowyer was asked about the moment when he joined talkSPORT.

    “I remember that well, Jim,” he said.

    Bowyer received a pass from the last and saw his chance, letting fly from 30 yards out

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    Bowyer received a pass from the last and saw his chance, letting fly from 30 yards out

    At first, the shot sailed safely into Dida’s hands

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    At first, the shot sailed safely into Dida’s hands

    The Brazilian then let the ball slip out of his hands

    youtube

    The Brazilian then let the ball slip out of his hands

    And despite flapping at it, the ball ended up in the back of the net, meaning Bowyer had scored a last ditch winner

    youtube

    And despite flapping at it, the ball ended up in the back of the net, meaning Bowyer had scored a last ditch winner

    “I had a shot from distance. I don’t even know why I shot.

    “I was 30 yards out, I can’t even read from that distance but it was really late on in the game, pouring with rain.

    “The rain up north is not the same as down here in south and I had a shot and Dida fumbled it. It went straight into his hands, it was an easy save for him to make.

    “But now I joke and say it was too much power and it slipped through his hands and dropped just over the line, so we won 1-0 which was great and yeah, a great memory for me.”

    Bowyer couldn’t believe his shot had gone in

    Getty

    Bowyer couldn’t believe his shot had gone in

    Having qualified for the Champions League with a third place finish in the Premier League the season prior, Leeds went on to have a historic run in the competition, making it all the way to the semi-finals.

    They missed out on a place in the final, though, losing 3-0 to eventual runners-up Valencia.

    Bowyer had moved to Leeds from Charlton in 1996, and ended up staying at Elland Road until 2003, amassing 256 appearances there.

    Bowyer has gone on to have success from the dugout, too

    GETTY

    Bowyer has gone on to have success from the dugout, too

    He then went on to play for West Ham, Newcastle, Birmingham City – who he won the League Cup with in 2011 – and Ipswich Town.

    Since retiring from playing, he’s managed Charlton Athletic – guiding them to promotion in to the Championship in 2019, before taking over at fellow former club Birmingham City for a season and a half.

    And when asked whether he hopes to be back in management soon after leaving St. Andrew’s, the former midfielder said he’s certainly keeping his options open.

    “We’ll see how things go,” he added. “You can’t rush anything, but when something comes up we’ll see where we go from there.”

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