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The BBC's Pat Murphy
"Peter Reid's not afraid to use some Anglo-Saxon phrases"
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Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 18:59 GMT
Sky Blues seal Highfield thriller

Keane Robbie Keane opened his account after 78 seconds

Coventry 3-2 Sunderland

A 3-0 half-time lead proved enough for Coventry at Highfield Road, despite a valiant second-half fightback from Sunderland.

With the visitors at sixes and sevens, Coventry cashed in some early suicidal defending, thanks to Robbie Keane, Mustapha Hadji and Cedric Roussel.

Match facts
2 mins: Keane opens Coventry's account
13mins: Hadji doubles the lead
18 mins: Roussel makes it 3-0
57mins: Phillips ulls one back
88mins: Rae reduces the deficit
Kevin Phillips opened Sunderland's account in the 57th minute and despite a late second from Alex Rae, the Sky Blues held on to take the points.

In an explosive start to the game, Gordon Strachan's side needed just 78 seconds to break the deadlock, thanks to a dreadful save from Thomas Sorensen.

Hadji struck a shot from 25 yards straight at Sorensen who allowed the ball to slip from his grasp. Keane was on hand to bury the rebound.

Minutes later, the home side suffered a set-back when wing-back Stephen Froggatt was substituted with an ankle injury after a late challenge from Nicky Summerbee.

It did not take them long to recover, however and in the 13th minute they doubled their lead.

sunderland Sunderland fought back but the 3-0 half-time deficit proved too much
McAllister saw his corner flicked on by Roussel at the near post and the on-rushing Hadji tucked the ball away from six yards.

Keane was threatening danger every time he received the ball and a great flick left Paul Butler for dead before Chris Makin eventually brought an end to a move also involving Roussel.

Coventry went 3-0 up in the 19th minute, with the Sunderland defence again all at sea.

Williams seemed unaware of the presence of Hadji as he allowed a long clearance to drift back towards Sorensen.

Hadji nipped in and saw his eventual shot ricochet into the path of Roussel who made no mistake from close range.

Sunderland pull back

Sunderland showed more purpose at the start of the second period, though Coventry still posed plenty of problems.

Chippo sent an effort over the bar after some tremendous skill and trickery by Keane and then the Irishman mis-hit his shot straight at Sorensen after a teasing cross from Chippo.

Hedman saved a glancing header from Quinn before Sunderland opened their account in the 57th minute with a typical piece of finishing by Kevin Phillips.

McCann sent over a cross from the left and Phillips reacted first to send a low volley past Hedman for his 23rd goal of the campaign.

Alex Rae gave Sunderland some late hope, but his 88th minute effort was not enough and Coventry hung on for all three points.

Coventry: Hedman, Gustafsson, Shaw, Breen, Froggatt, Chippo, Eustace, McAllister, Hadji, Roussel, Keane. Subs: Ogrizovic, Konjic, Normann, Strachan, Quinn.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Butler, Craddock, Williams, Summerbee, Schwarz, McCann, Kilbane, Quinn, Phillips. Subs: Marriott, Holloway, Rae, Roy, Reddy.

Referee: P Alcock (Halstead)

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.