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The BBC's Ian Brown
"Leicester showed all those renowned characteristics"
 real 28k

Sunday, 26 March, 2000, 16:45 GMT
Leeds fall to sucker punch

Collymore scored his fourth goal since joining Leicester
Leicester 2-1 Leeds

Steve Guppy dealt a potential knock-out blow to Leeds' title hopes, with a surprise second-half winner for Leicester at Filbert Street.



It was important we won today to close the gap, but we gave two bad goals away.

Leeds boss David O'Leary
David O'Leary's second-placed team needed to win the game to cut Manchester United's Premiership lead to four points.

But Leeds, lacking the spark that has epitomised their play this season, produced an insipid display and Leicester were good value for the victory.



David O'Leary watches his title hopes disappear
Stan Collymore put City ahead with a fine strike, before another of the Premiership's crowd-pullers, Harry Kewell, levelled with his sixth goal in six games.

But Guppy stunned Leeds after the break and Leicester remained on top throughout.

The demoralising defeat for Leeds leaves Manchester United in complete control of the title race and could prove decisive at the end of the season.

Stan's starring role

Leicester nearly opened the scoring with a double chance after just two minutes. Collymore's fierce drive from a free-kick was saved by Nigel Martyn and Darren Eadie scuffed the rebound wide of the target.


Top of the table
1: Man Utd P 30 G+34 67Pts
2: Leeds P30 G+16 60Pts
3: Liverpool P30 G+20 56Pts
The home side were encouraged by this early foray and they took the lead in the 14th minute.

Muzzy Izzet took on the Leeds defence with a surging run and then slipped the ball into the penalty area, where Collymore turned and in one swift movement fired a rising first-time drive past Martyn.

Leeds' in-form Australian Kewell almost levelled the scores five minutes later, but he struck the inside of Tim Flowers' near post after Alfie Haaland's ball over the top had caught the Leicester defence flat-footed.



City keeper Flowers has a quiet word with Bridges
Kewell always looked like being the player to bring Leeds back into the game and he did just that with a fine solo goal seven minutes before half-time.

He beat Gerry Taggart for pace in the inside-left position, then dummied Matt Elliott before beating Flowers from a tight angle.

Kewell's sixth goal in successive games takes him a step closer to the club record held by Peter Lorimer, who scored in seven straight United matches.


Match facts
14: Collymore blasts Leicester into the lead
38: Kewell levels for Leeds
48: Guppy wins the game
Leicester were unfazed by the equaliser and they almost went back in front on the stroke of half-time, but an audacious flick from central defender Taggart of all players, drifted just past the far post.

Leeds seemed not to have heeded the warning and City did indeed go back in front at the start of the second half, with a soft goal that will not have pleased O'Leary.



Eadie (right) linked well with Collymore up front
A long free-kick from Stefan Oakes looked to pose little threat, but the ball deflected off a Leeds defender to Steve Guppy, who found himself completed unmarked at the back post and finished with ease.

Leicester continued to make all the running and substitute Tony Cottee was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from Lucas Radebe, while Oakes sent a snap-shot just wide and Izzett sliced over following Collymore's cross.

Leeds huffed and puffed and Ian Harte tried his luck with a long range strike, but there was no way back.



I think that's a body blow to Leeds. But they've had a terrific season and are still battling on two fronts, so it's not all bad for them.

Leicester boss Martin O'Neill
Manager O'Leary conceded that the result could spell the end of his side's Premiership challenge - but insisted Leeds would not be throwing in the towel just yet.

"We'll keep going and if we can't win then we want second place and the Champions League," he said.

"We'll try and win every game and hope Manchester United slip up - but they're a great side and that's why they're top of the league."

Teams:

Leicester: Flowers, Sinclair, Taggart, Guppy, Savage, Elliott, Izzet, Lennon, Oakes, Eadie, Collymore.
Subs: Gilchrist, Marshall, Arphexad, Impey, Cottee.

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte, Wilcox, Haaland, McPhail, Bakke, Bridges, Kewell.
Subs: Huckerby, Robinson, Mills, Duberry, Maybury.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)

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