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Leeds United

Premier League
Game 24: Wednesday 31 January 2001

Leeds United 1 - 0 Coventry City
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Crowd: 36555
Referee: R Harris (Oxford)
Coventry City
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Match Facts
Leeds United Team Coventry City
Nigel Martyn   Magnus Hedman
Booked - 83 minutes Danny Mills   Gary Breen
Ian Harte   Marcus Hall
Rio Ferdinand   Paul Williams Booked - 93 minutes
Lucas Radebe   Richard Shaw
Booked - 52 minutes Eirik Bakke   Barry Quinn Subbed - 53 minutes
David Batty   Lee Carsley Subbed - 76 minutes
Booked - 82 minutes Lee Bowyer   Mustapha Hadji Booked - 42 minutes
Jason Wilcox   John Eustace Booked - 54 minutes
Goal - 69 minutes Robbie Keane   David Thompson Booked - 26 minutes Subbed - 76 minutes
Booked - 59 minutes Mark Viduka   Craig Bellamy Booked - 35 minutes
Paul Robinson   Chris Kirkland
Dominic Matteo   Paul Telfer Sub - 53 minutes
Olivier Dacourt   Youssef Chippo Sub - 76 minutes
Jacob Burns   Laurent Delorge
Alan Smith   Jay Bothroyd Sub - 76 minutes
Match Reports
stotty Leeds vs Cov
BBC Keane sinks old club
The Guardian Keane's overhead magic lets Leeds forget reality
The Independent Keane's return proves costly for Coventry Keane cuts his old pals down
Soccernet Keane keeps his old pals on the skids
The Sporting Life Leeds 1 - 0 Coventry
The Electronic Telegraph Keane gives grateful Leeds the cutting edge
The Times Keane punishes fragile Coventry
Yorkshire Evening Post Keane strike lights up Elland Road

The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.

Leeds vs Cov - stotty

Football is essentially a simple game. Two teams of 11 try and get a ball in between rectangles at opposite sides of a pitch without using their hands( apart from 2 unfit, lazy fat blokes who are allowed to use their hands)

Leeds have won 3 games out of the last 4 league games. That's top of the table form (unless there is a rare run-a-way leader) but we havent really got out of 1st gear.

The best performance this year (2001) has been against Liverpool. We lost.

You need a mainframe computer the size of Uranus to try and understand life.

Read the rest...

Keane's overhead magic lets Leeds forget reality - David Hopps

Copy from Football Unlimited of 01/02/2001.

Despondency clung to west Yorkshire for much of the night as certainly as the freezing fog that enveloped much of the city. But never has Robbie Keane scored a goal to bring such palpable relief.

Keane's thrilling overhead kick against his old side after 69 minutes ended Leeds' uncertainty and delivered a victory their pressure merited. Here was an act of escapism that persuaded a troubled club that its football can prosper in the face what is sure to be a traumatic month.

Lee Bowyer selected; Jonathan Woodgate not even named among the substitutes - there was differing treatment of the two Leeds players on trial at Hull crown court, where they are denying charges of affray and grievous bodily harm.

Read the rest...

Keane's return proves costly for Coventry - Phil Andrews

Copy from The Independent of 31/01/2001.

Robbie Keane's route from Coventry to Leeds took him via Italy, and his spectacular goal against his old club in the 69th minute may yet offer his new one the chance of foreign travel again next season.

Leeds are still some way off the Uefa Cup places in the Premiership, and the manner of this ragged victory did not suggest that closing the gap will be easy. But after being removed from the FA Cup by Liverpool at the weekend, the Premiership – short of the even more unlikely eventuality of them winning the Champions' League – now offers the only chance of European football next season.

If they are finally to impose some pattern on their eccentric domestic season they must beat strugglers like Coventry, but they made heavy weather of it.

The Sky Blues came to defend and they did a remarkably good job, aided and abetted by a Leeds side at its least convincing. They can count themselves unlucky not to have salvaged a point to ease their own perennial struggle against relegation.

Once they had discovered that Leeds' reputation as fearsome young turks is somewhat exaggerated they gave as good as they got, and it took the one moment of pure skill in a turgid encounter to put them in their places.

Their goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman, made good stops from Rio Ferdinand and Ian Harte's 25-yard free-kick, but they squandered chances of their own, principally Paul William's free header and Marcus Hall's one-on-one with Nigel Martyn.

Then up popped Keane to make the mark strikers dream of when facing their old clubs. His attacking partner Mark Viduka had seen a shot cleared off the line by David Thompson before Danny Mills crossed the ball back towards Keane at the far post.

The Irishman had his back to goal but his scissors kick flew into the net from the angle of the six-yard box for his fifth Premiership goal in seven matches since he returned to Yorkshire from Internazionale.

"We have to sell them and if he was still with us it would have been a different result," said the Coventry manager, Gordon Strachan, of his former protégé. "But that's life. Special goal, special player. We don't score many goals so we had to keep it as tight as possible."

They almost succeeded. The Leeds manager, David O'Leary, played midfielder Lee Bowyer despite his court appearance, though his fellow defendant Jonathan Woodgate failed a fitness test and his place in central defence was taken by Lucas Radebe.

Bowyer's enthusiasm was undiminished and his midfield partner David Batty was as combative as ever, but Leeds made little impression against a Coventry rearguard whose wing-backs dropped deep at every attack to supplement their three central defenders.

"We were disappointing up front tonight" said O'Leary. "But I thought we controlled the game and there was only going to be one winner."

The report used to be available online here.

Keane strike lights up Elland Road - Phil Rostron

Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 01/02/2001.

OUT of the deepening gloom, a dazzling light appeared.

For over an hour in which blind men poking around in the dark have been known to make more headway there had been nothing but aimlessness, bumping and collision.

Then, laser-like, Robbie Keane beamed in to light up proceedings with an extraordinary moment of opportunism which, while illuminating the way forward for Leeds, plunged the club he left behind into a deep, black morass.

Coventry set out their stall to pick up a point with no more intent than to keep the ball in harmless places, see a few seconds off the clock at each and every opportunity, frustrate, negate and nullify.

For all their deployment, United keeper Nigel Martyn and Coventry striker Moustapha Hadji could have spent the evening together in the Bricklayers Arms and not been missed.

Patience was the key for United, but even that was running out both on the field and in the stands before Keane's inspired act.

Lee Bowyer retained his place in midfield despite his off-the-field distractions and proceeded to run miles, become a dreadful nuisance to Coventry and emerge, as usual, with a wink and a grin.

But Jonathan Woodgate was out of contention with a sore heel and was replaced at the heart of defence by Lucas Radebe.

Danny Mills came in for the sidelined Gary Kelly at right back and Dominic Matteo made way for Jason Wilcox on the left of midfield as United chased their first home Premiership win since mid-December against the perennial top-flight strugglers.

Ferdinand raced forward for United's first effort on goal after eight minutes, taking Bakke's reverse pass in his stride and forcing Hedman to go full stretch to keep out his left-foot shot.

A sumptuous crossfield ball from Harte to Mills resulted in a tenth minute corner as Leeds picked up the pace, but when Bakke sent Keane sprinting clear there was no-one on the end of his whipped-in cross.

Bowyer needlessly chopped Hadji in a dangerous position and when Thompson's free kick was delivered Breen was a whisker away from getting a telling touch with his head.

And Bowyer, who was rarely away from the fulcrum, was well wide with his volley on 28 minutes as Coventry continued to stand their ground.

Bakke's downward header from Bowyer's 35th minute corner looked threatening but Hedman snatched it with authority.

A minute later Bellamy was booked for time-wasting which, so early in the game, said much about Coventry's ambition.

Yet the onus was firmly on United to find routes round and through and, with Wilcox starved of the ball on the left and little happening down the right, creativity was at a premium.

It took Batty to wriggle through for a toe-poke at goal from the edge of the box five minutes before the break but it was Coventry who threatened next, Hall powering in an angled shot from Bellamy's tee-up for Martyn to collect.

Then Thompson opened up the defence and gave a glorious heading chance to the unmarked Williams, who totally mistimed it and contrived what would have been a decent clearance.

At the other end Bowyer set up a terrific chance for Keane but, from five yards, his shot cannoned off Hedman's legs to safety.

Ten minutes into the second half United boss David O'Leary threw up his arms in frustration as what should have been another easy pass, this time from Bakke, went straight to the opposition and United were looking a real ragbag assortment.

The hapless Viduka was booked for a foul on the hour, giving O'Leary the excuse if he needed it to replace him with Smith.

It did not happen and there was even an ironic cheer from the crowd when the big Aussie went on to win a heading duel.

Harte's thunderous free kick on 62 minutes blazed over the wall on target, but Hedman produced a fine save to further frustrate Leeds.

Hedman was at it again three minutes later, turning aside the thrusting Bowyer's shot.

But Leeds finally broke the deadlock after 69 minutes. Viduka's shot was cleared off the line by Thompson but Mills fed it back from the rebound and Keane produced a stunning overhead kick from six yards which nestled inside Hedman's near post.

With 12 minutes left Mills was desperately unlucky to see his stunning left-foot volley from distance smash against a post and soon after he tried his luck again only for his shot to go a long way wide.

Viduka was guilty of an appalling miss two minutes from time, dragging his shot wide from Keane's sliderule pass.

It was a final act of misdirection on an occasion when things going bump in the night had the colliding effect of three precious points for a Leeds side whose European ambitions could even yet be realised.

Said O'Leary: "I thought we controlled the game and that there could be only one winner, but we were disappointing up front.

"The main thing was that we kept plugging away having missed a few decent chances.

"As long as we kept things right at the back we were always in with a chance and that is what we did.

"Coventry were slowing things down and wasting time right from the first kick and I said to Rio Ferdinand at half time that we did not want to suffer what happened here against Middlesbrough in similar circumstances and go a goal down.

"This game was all about getting three points and we achieved that."

The report used to be available online here.

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