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The BBC's Ron Jones
"Coventry looked every bit as likely as United to get the draw"
 real 28k

Saturday, 5 February, 2000, 18:47 GMT
Man Utd cruise clear

Cole: has now scored 17 goals this season

Man Utd 3-2 Coventry

Manchester United made the most of their rivals' defeats with a 3-2 victory over Coventry.

Two goals from Andy Cole and one from Paul Scholes were enough to secure the win which gives the defending champions a six-point lead at the top of the Premiership.

Match facts
39 mins: Cole chips Hedman for United's first goal
55 mins: Cole heads his second
65 mins: Roussel pulls a goal back for Coventry
76 mins: Scholes knocks in United third
90 mins: Roussel gets a consolation second
Coventry worked hard but were without eight first-team players, including Moroccans Mustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo who failed to make if back in time from African Nations Cup duty in Nigeria.

Cole's goals were his first for United since Boxing Day and will serve as a timely reminder to Keegan before he picks his England squad for the Argentina friendly later this month.

He marked his return to the forward line at the expense of Dwight Yorke with a superb opening strike just before the stroke of half time.

Sheringham fed him the ball just inside the penalty box and, with one quick look up to see Hedman off his line, Cole chipped the Swedish international with an effort which ricocheted in off the underside of the bar.

Roy Keane (r) powers away from Steve Froggatt
And Cole further justified his selection ahead of 12.6million Yorke - who has found the target only five times in his last 18 games - ten minutes after the interval.

Unmarked in the six-yard box, he rose to head home a David Beckham free-kick for his 17th of the season.

But Coventry - still searching for their first away win in the Premiership this season - did not leave Old Trafford without a fight.

Cedric Rousell pulled a goal back just after the hour mark although the gap was not closed for long.

Scholes, also restored to the line-up after an absence, announced his return on 76 minutes, firing home a 25-yarder for his sixth of the season.

With United's two-goal lead restored, the three points were never in doubt.

Roussel scored a well-taken second goal in the final minute to make it 3-2 but injury-hit Coventry were well-beaten.


Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, P. Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Solskjaer, Cole, Sheringham. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Irwin, Yorke, Butt, Cruyff.

Coventry: Hedman, Telfer, Williams, Breen, Shaw, Gustafsson, Palmer, McAllister, Froggatt, Keane, Roussel. Subs: Ogrizovic, Konjic, Strachan, Eustace, Delorge.

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester Le Street)

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