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The BBC's Ron Jones
"Their best possible Christmas present"
 real 28k

Sunday, 19 December, 1999, 18:18 GMT
Leeds back on top

Lebouef Leboeuf got his marching orders from referee Jeff Winter

Chelsea 0-2 Leeds

Leeds replaced Manchester United at the top of the Premiership after a highly charged victory at Stamford Bridge.

After 66 minutes of Chelsea dominance, Leeds stole a breakaway goal when Stephen McPhail slotted in a Lee Bowyer cross.

Match facts
66 mins: Stephen McPhail opens the scoring
76 mins: Leboeuf sent off for second bookable offence
87 mins: McPhail adds his second three minutes from time
Shortly after, Frank Leboeuf was sent-off for two bookable offences, the second of which was a terrible tackle on Harry Kewell.

Leboeuf stayed to argue his case but eventually walked off only to compound his sin by trying to argue with the Leeds bench before eventually disappearing down the tunnel.

Chelsea fought on, but the clash was killed off when McPhail secured his second minutes from time.

There was little love lost between the sides and after so much Chelsea pressure, Leeds manager David O'Leary will be delighted that his young side could steal the points.

Home dominance

Chelsea started positively and within minutes Bowyer was booked for a half-hearted challenge on Dennis Wise.

The TV replay appeared to show that Bowyer had done little to deserve the yellow card, but Chelsea were determined to make the most of it and almost grabbed the opener from the resulting free-kick.

Bakke Eirik got Chelsea's backs' up
Wise floated in a long cross and Chris Sutton headed on. No-one connected, but Nigel Martyn was caught short and watched anxiously as the ball bounced inches wide of the bottom corner.

It was a furious star from the home side and on 15 minutes Chelsea should have gone ahead.

Wise played wide to De Matteo, who returned the ball beautifully inside the Leeds box. The Chelsea captain rose and connected well, only for the ball to drift just over the bar.

Leeds absorbed the early pressure, but struggled to gain any real possession.

Midway though the half, Wise created more space on the right, but Woodgate managed to head away to bring an end to yet another Chelsea attack.

Desailly suffered a heavy fall after a challenge with Bowyer minutes before the break and Bakke then left the field temporarily after a clash with Deschamps, before the whistle blew for half-time.

Desailly off

Hogh replaced Desailly after the break and within minutes Jason Wilcox came on for Bridges who looked to be limping badly.

There was little love lost between both sides at the start of the second period. Late tackles began to fly in and Ian Harte was booked for a bad challenge on Poyet.

Darren Huckerby missed Leeds' best chance 10 minutes into the half.

A well timed challenge on Dennis Wise saw the ball bounce through, but Huckerby's first touch let him down with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Gianfranco Zola came on for Tore Andre Flo in an attempt to salvage something from a game that looked to be heading for a draw.

Di Matteo then intercepted a poor pass from Harte, outside the Leeds box, but the shot skimmed across the face of the goal much to the frustration of the home fans.

The pressure began to mount on Leeds as Chelsea stepped up their attack.

But Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli was then forced into another change after Hogh pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury.

Seconds later and against the run of the play Leeds took the advantage.

Bowyer met a long pass on the right and found McPhail in space, who rocketed the ball past De Goey and into the bottom left hand corner.

The home side then committed suicide, Leboeuf receiving a second yellow card after an obviously late tackle on Kewell.

Vialli looked stunned. His side had dominated the game, but had conceded a goal and lost a player in a matter of minutes.

The impact was less than immediate, however. Despite being down to 10-men Chelsea continued to push forward in the hunt for an equaliser.

It failed to arrived and with just three minutes remaining, McPhail added a second after his free-kick sailed through the wall and into the net, untouched by any player.


Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf, Harley, Wise, Deschamps, Di Matteo, Poyet, Sutton, Flo. Subs: Petrescu, Hogh, Morris, Cudicini, Zola.

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke, McPhail, Kewell, Huckerby, Bridges. Subs: Robinson, Wilcox, Mills, Jones, Duberry. Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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