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The BBC's Bob Ballard
"Leeds had this game under control when harry Kewell scored"
 real 28k

Sunday, 5 March, 2000, 17:04 GMT
Kewell tears Coventry apart

Kewell (c) was in irrepressible form
Leeds 3-0 Coventry

Leeds closed the gap on leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premiership to just four points with a convincing 3-0 victory over Coventry.

Australian international Harry Kewell was chief architect of City's downfall, scoring a goal, making a second and terrorising the Sky Blue defence with his free-running.

Match facts
5 mins: Kewell fires Leeds ahead
42 mins: Kewell's through ball sets up Bridges for the second
85 mins: Jason Wilcox makes it three
David O'Leary's side had failed to score in their last three matches against United, Middlesbrough and in Thursday's Uefa Cup fourth-round tie with Roma.

Kewell was the last to find the net in a 1-0 win over Spurs three weeks ago, and it was the Australian international who finally broke his United side's personal deadlock.

Before the match Gordon Strachan identified Kewell as Leeds' most dangerous man.

And after just five minutes Strachan's worst fears materialised, the Australian star rifling a 20-yard left-foot drive past Magnus Hedman from Ian Harte's tapped free kick.


Bakke takes the ball clear from Gary McAllister
His goal also ended 342 minutes of goalless football for Leeds.

By half time Kewell had showed the full range of his abilities, winning the ball in midfield and teasing defenders with his running.

And three minutes before the interval he showed the vision of a true world class player, clipping a first time ball over his shoulder for striker Michael Bridges to run onto.

His deft touch made his marker, new signing Colin Hendry, look all his 34 years, and put Bridges a good five yards clear.

The young striker burst into the box and with a simple drop of the shoulder sent Hedman stumbling onto his backside before side-footing the ball into the empty net.

Kewell's quick-thinking pass was good but Bridges' cool finish was just as fine.


Bridges (l) took his goal well
Coventry on the other hand were clearly missing injured striker Robbie Keane.

The 6million Republic of Ireland international has been the instrumental figure in City's side since his move from Wolves.

His absence meant a slightly early-than-planned debut for new signing, Peruvian international Ysrael Zuniga.

He failed to make an impact and Coventry's only two real chances fell to Gary McAlister and Noel Whelan, who both missed the target.

The struggling Zuniga was substituted after an hour for Norwegian Runar Normann, making only his sixth appearance.

Strachan had also brought on Shaw for youngster Barry Quinn in an attempt to shore up the City defence but Kewell remained City's chief tormentor.

His licence to roam ensured he was a thorn in every part of City's side as he produced mesmerising runs - both on and off the ball - and deft flicks.

However, one of the few attacking moves in which he played little part produced Leeds' third goal.

Substitute Darren Huckerby crossed for Jason Wilcox to cut inside before slipping the ball under Hedman to continue Coventry's miserable six-month run without an away win.

Teams:

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke, McPhail, Wilcox, Bridges, Kewell. Subs: Haaland, Huckerby, Smith, Jones, Robinson.

Coventry: Hedman, Quinn, Breen, Hendry, Burrows, Chippo, Eustace, McAllister, Whelan, Roussel, Zuniga. Subs: Shaw, Konjic, Normann, Pead, Hyldgaard.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.