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The BBC's Mike Ingham
"Chelsea had half their Champions League team missing"
 real 28k

Saturday, 1 April, 2000, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Harley scores as Leeds crash
Chelsea
Chelsea scuppered Leeds' plans
Leeds 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea's Jon Harley overshadowed the young guns of Leeds United, who suffered a potentially crucial defeat in the race for the Premiership title.

As Leeds went down to Harley's goal midway through the second half, Manchester United were winning 7-1 at Old Trafford to make the gap at the top of the table a massive 10 points.


Key moments
9 mins: Weah hits side netting
31: Smith stabs towards goal but De Goey just keeps it out
62: Harley's goal
85: Bowyer heads wide from six yards
With Barcelona in the Champions League on the horizon Chelsea's Gianluca Vialli decided to rest experienced Frenchman Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps.

The jetlagged Gustavo Poyet also missed out after a long trip to South American on international duty.

Leeds had Lee Bowyer returning after injury but top-scorer Michael Bridges was absent with an ankle problem.

With all eyes on discipline following fiery recent meetings between these clubs and this week's 150,000 fine for Leeds, the game started with an immediate injury.



Albert Ferrer also did well against Kewell's trickery
However there was no ill-intent involved as Jon Harley and Gary Kelly clashed heads, with the Leeds man requiring lengthy treatment.

Nor was there when Lucas Radebe came off worse in a similar collision with George Weah.

The visitors began brightly, controlling the midfield and pressing Leeds back into their own half.

In the 10th minute Weah got the better of Radebe before slamming a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.



It was a silly goal on our part today and overall it was a scrappy game. But what we mustn't lose sight off is that we are still in second place with seven games left.

David O'Leary
But Leeds enjoyed the better of a dull first half, with Ian Harte, Eirik Bakke and Jason Wilcox all going close with headers.

A Bowyer shot from distance was flashed just wide while Alan Smith had a close range shot pushed away by Ed de Goey.

Chelsea's main threat was unquestionably Weah but he lost his footing on more than one occasion and failed to link up effectively with strike partner Chris Sutton.

On the one occasion the Liberian did get clear, receiving Dennis Wise's intelligent pass, he shot straight at Nigel Martyn.

One card

And it took 38 minutes for a yellow card to appear, with Chelsea's Jody Morris penalised for a late tackle in the congested midfield.

As in the opening period, Chelsea came out after the break on top.

Weah had a powerful drive palmed over by Martyn and then planted a header over the bar from 10 yards after a clever reverse ball by Harley.

But again the home side weathered 10 minutes of pressure and began to push the visitors back.

Ian Harte's free kick was their best effort, his left-footed effort from over 25 yards curling just wide of De Goey's right-hand post.

There was a desperate need for some inspiration and Chelsea took the lead thanks in part to some clever play and a mistake from Kelly.

Goal

Sutton received the ball in the inside left position, and spotted Harley's overlapping run from the wing.

The much-maligned 10m striker chipped the ball into the area where the young left-back controlled the ball with his thigh as Kelly missed his tackle and fell over.

Harley slammed his shot under Martyn to hand the visitors the lead.



I would say Manchester United are now uncatchable which is a shame as there are seven games left to play. It is now exhibition matches for them.

Gianluca Vialli
Leeds had appeared nervous all afternoon, and news of countless goals for title rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford did not help the Elland Road mood.

Kewell never looked his normal dangerous self and put one good headed chance over while Harte volleyed wildly over as the frustration mounted for the home side.

But it was Bowyer who missed the clearest chance, planting a diving header wide from six yards after Kewell had delightfully found him unmarked at the far post.

And after an afternoon of good behaviour Bowyer and Alan Smith went into the book - the midfielder for dissent after the striker led with his elbow when jumping with Frank Leboeuf.

There was also a late booking for Sutton after he challenged Bowyer while Harte crashed a free kick over.

Teams:

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

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Leboeuf, Thome, Harley, Morris, Di Matteo, Wise, Babayaro, Weah, Sutton. Subs: Hogh, Lambourde, Della Bona, Zola, Cudicini.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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See also:

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