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The BBC's Ian Brown
"Whether a point for them is enough halfway through the season is up for debate"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 4 January, 2000, 21:55 GMT
Flo double denies Coventry

Tore Andre Flo took both chances smartly


Coventry 2-2 Chelsea

Two madcap periods in the second half ensured that honours were even in an entertaining Premiership clash at Highfield Road.

Twice Coventry took a deserved lead, but on both occasions unimpressive Chelsea's Tore Andre Flo went straight up the other end and equalised.


Match facts
15 mins: Hadji close with first chance
54 mins: Opportunist Roussel takes lead
52 seconds later: Flo catches Coventry cold
81 mins: Keane restores lead
14 seconds this time: Flo equalises again
The home side's young strike pair of Cedric Roussel and Robbie Keane made the crucial breakthroughs in the 54th and 81st minutes.

Flo's replies - both set up by Gianfranco Zola - came in the 55th and 82nd, to leave Coventry boss Gordon Strachan a frustrated figure on the touchline.

Zola and the three goalscorers all enlivened an open encounter, as did Coventry's excellent Moroccan international Mustapha Hadji.

Yet it took a while to get fired up, aside from some early antogonism between combative midfield captains Gary McAllister and Dennis Wise.

The first chance took 15 minutes to arrive, with Hadji shooting across goal after Roussel's back-header.



The emotion now is nearly physically sick.......it was 30 seconds of madness
Gordon Strachan
Throughout the game, it was the home side who played the more adventurous football, with Ed de Goey smartly off his line on 24 minutes to deny Keane.

Chelsea had plenty of ideas in attack, but passes were misplaced as Coventry worked tirelessly to deny the visitors space.

Emerson Thome came to the Londoners' rescue after 33 minutes when putting Keane's cross behind with Roussel threatening.


Paul Telfer fends off Chelsea's Zola
But seven minutes from half-time Flo should have put Chelsea ahead, when he headed over from close range after Zola had won and taken a left wing free kick.

The most spectacular effort of the half came from Hadji four minutes later when the Moroccan fired just wide from outside the box, while Chelsea had at least three shots from a corner before the break.

Straight after half-time Keane's dipping long range shot went wide after he was given acres of space by a lethargic away defence.

And after Wise had thrashed a fierce volley straight into Magnus Hedman's arms, the home side took a deserved, if short-lived lead.



We should play that way before we go behind
Gianluca Vialli
Hadji's shot from distance hit Roussel, who was smart enough to control the ball and make himself a yard of space to put the ball past De Goey from six yards.

Within seconds of the restart Chelsea were level when Zola went on a twisting run down the left, beating two defenders before finding Flo in space inside the area.

The Norwegian's control was immaculate, as was the finish into the middle of the goal and low to Hedman's left.

After 66 minutes both sides came close to a 2-1 lead, with Roberto Di Matteo wasting a glorious chance amid confusion in the Coventry ranks.


Robbie Keane was a tough opponent for Albert Ferrer
Hadji then ran straight at the visitors' defence and De Goey palmed away the Moroccan's effort.

Coventry took the lead for a second time thanks to more good work from Roussel, who headed Telfer's right-wing cross back to an unmarked Keane.

The Irishman had time to place his header into the net between the desperate Albert Ferrer and De Goey's right hand.

Yet the Midlanders had not learnt the lesson of the first goal, and Zola swept forward from the restart.

The Italian delayed until Flo was level with the home defence, and his ball gave the Norwegian the chance to cooly chip Hedman and restore parity.

Youssef Chippo had a chance to win it in the last minute of normal time, when perhaps even Chelsea would not have had time to come back, but he flashed his cross/shot wide.

Teams:

Coventry: Hedman, Telfer, Williams, Breen, Froggatt, Chippo, McAllister, Palmer, Hadji, Roussel, Keane. Subs: Ogrizovic, Whelan, Normann, Eustace, Gustafsson.

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Desailly, Thome, Babayaro, Poyet, Deschamps, Wise, Di Matteo, Flo, Zola. Subs: Cudicini, Petrescu, Sutton, Morris, Lambourde.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

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See also:
04 Jan 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Chelsea look to regain ground
29 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
'Boro v Coventry frozen off
26 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Coventry shock Gunners
29 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Wise weaves Chelsea spell
26 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Flo upstages Tiss return
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.