sport news Leeds United and Man City have had contrasting fortunes since their last ...

If there was any contact at all it was slight. It may well have been outside the box. Actually, it looked as though Alan Smith had tripped himself up.

But referee Alan Wiley pointed to the penalty spot and flashed a red card at Daniel Van Buyten. Leeds United, so desperately in need of some good fortune, weren't about to complain.

Mark Viduka stuck away the penalty and Leeds led Manchester City 2-1 with just 14 minutes remaining. The roar of the Elland Road crowd got them over the line.

Alan Smith tumbles under the challenge of Daniel Van Buyten to win a late Leeds penalty

Alan Smith tumbles under the challenge of Daniel Van Buyten to win a late Leeds penalty 

Mark Viduka converted the spot-kick to earn Leeds a 2-1 victory in their last league meeting with Manchester City - until this Saturday

Mark Viduka converted the spot-kick to earn Leeds a 2-1 victory in their last league meeting with Manchester City - until this Saturday

Relegated in 2004, it took Leeds 16 years to return to the top-flight under Marcelo Bielsa

Relegated in 2004, it took Leeds 16 years to return to the top-flight under Marcelo Bielsa

In the same time period, City have been transformed by the billions of Sheikh Mansour

In the same time period, City have been transformed by the billions of Sheikh Mansour

Leeds were off the bottom of the FA Barclaycard Premiership, two points from safety with nine games to play.

Until this Saturday, that was the last time Leeds United and Manchester City had met in league competition. It was March 22, 2004.

Nobody watching that night would have known it but the two clubs would be flung onto very different trajectories in the intervening 16 years.

Any Leeds optimism from that win proved short-lived. Six weeks later, having lost five of those remaining games, Leeds were relegated from the top-flight.

That was just the start of their troubles. The Yorkshire club was over £100million in debt and staring down the barrel of oblivion.

Having been Champions League semi-finalists in 2001, they would be a League One club by 2007, starting the season with a 15-point deduction.

The road back to Premier League respectability has been long and arduous, the club burning through 15 permanent managers, several changes of ownership and further financial strife.

Smith celebrates with Seth Johnson as Leeds took the three points - but they were ultimately relegated from the top division a few weeks later

Smith celebrates with Seth Johnson as Leeds took the three points - but they were ultimately relegated from the top division a few weeks later

Stephen McPhail celebrates with James Milner after opening the scoring back in 2004

Stephen McPhail celebrates with James Milner after opening the scoring back in 2004

Leeds since 2004 

2004 Relegated from the Premier League

2006 Lose Championship play-off final to Watford

2007 Relegated into League One following 10-point deduction for entering administration

2008 Finished fifth in League One despite 15-point deduction; lose play-off final to Doncaster

2010 Promoted back to the Championship

2014 Massimo Cellino takes over the club

2017 Andrea Radrizzani completes his buy-out of the club

2018 Marcelo Bielsa appointed manager

2019 Leeds lose in the play-off semi-finals to Derby

2020 Leeds win the Championship and return to the Premier League

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Man City since 2004

2007 City are taken over by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

2008 Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group complete takeover of City in £200m deal

2011 City win their first silverware of the Abu Dhabi era, beating Stoke City to lift the FA Cup

2012 City win the Premier League for the first time thanks to Sergio Aguero’s dramatic last-minute goal

2014 A successful season sees the club win the Premier League title and the League Cup

2016 City win the League Cup again, beating Liverpool on penalties. They also reach the Champions League semi-finals; Pep Guardiola becomes manager

2018 They win the Premier League with 100 points and also the League Cup

2019 A season of domestic dominance sees Guardiola’s team win the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup

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City weren't a great deal better at that time. It was only their second year back in the Premier League having themselves slipped into the third tier in the late 1990s.

They'd finish 16th - in the end comfortably above the relegation places - but a team containing bargain basement signings like Michael Tarnat and Antoine Sibierski wasn't likely to set the top division on fire.

City very much made up the numbers back then. A top-half finish was regarded as a fine achievement, with the main aim to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.

They couldn't possibly hope to compete in the transfer market with the elite of and Arsenal, or nouveau riche Chelsea.

Nobody ever imagined they would be transformed overnight into a global powerhouse by Sheikh Mansour and his Abu Dhabi United group in 2008.

Nicolas Anelka had drawn City level at Elland Road just before half-time in the 2004 meeting

Nicolas Anelka had drawn City level at Elland Road just before half-time in the 2004 meeting

Anelka celebrates with Paul Bosvelt (left) and Richard Dunne (right) after finding the net

Anelka celebrates with Paul Bosvelt (left) and Richard Dunne (right) after finding the net

The hundreds of millions lavished on the club since have put them very much at football's top table and delivered four Premier League titles, seven domestic cups and yearly Champions League participation.

The kind of team Kevin Keegan fielded that March night at Elland Road, with all due respect to those involved, feels like a distant dream compared to the superstars that grace the Etihad Stadium now.

So two very different trajectories since that last league meeting. The ironic thing is that not long before, Leeds had been the big-spenders of English football.

Around the turn of the millennium, everything was rosy for Leeds and their chairman Peter Ridsdale.

The English game was riding the crest of a wave, with TV revenues, gate receipts and every other measure on the balance sheet heading upwards.

City's Shaun Wright-Phillips is challenged by James Milner of Leeds during the 2004 game

City's Shaun Wright-Phillips is challenged by James Milner of Leeds during the 2004 game

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