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Adam Dent[25 AUG 99] COVENTRY CITY FC MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 1
Manchester United (0) 2
BY ADAM DENT

Coventry City again underlined Gordon Strachan’s assertions as they pushed Manchester United all the way at Highfield Road.

The Sky Blues manager has constantly praised his side’s commitment and stressed that they have to show complete effort to have a chance of turning over the biggest clubs in the land.

And so it was here. United, fresh from Sunday’s stirring comeback against Arsenal, displayed their customary incisive passing and wonderful movement but even after they had established a two goal lead they were pushed all the way by the battling Sky Blues.

A late goal from substitute striker John Aloisi raised hopes of salvaging a point, but it was not to be.

If there was a tactical fault it was, as Strachan pointed out, that the side lacked width inside the United half. The Scot felt that meant Robbie Keane was isolated and certainly the teenager had to fight a lone battle against Japp Stam and Henning Berg – an impossible task.

There was not doubt that United always had the capability to slice City apart and could well have gone in a goal up at half time.

Dwight Yorke, playing alongside Teddy Sheringham, hit a post after 15 minutes when he was allowed to progress unchecked and Ryan Giggs also fired just wide.

But it was by no means one-sided and Coventry probably enjoyed a greater share of the territorial advantage in the opening 45 minutes. Youssef Chippo showed fine touches on the ball and worked hard to stem United’s flow and did it effectively.

Steve Froggatt robbed Berg deep in United territory in the 20th minute but had to delay to wait for support. The winger also played a part in a move in the first half when he ran on to a perfectly weighted pass from Chippo but his dangerous low cross was cleared by Denis Irwin.

City lost Noel Whelan just after the half hour when he went down on the touchline and had to be stretchered off and was taken straight to hospital.

United began to make their individual superiority tell and City were forced back at the start of the second half. They started the second period brightly when Chippo left David Beckham and squared the ball to Robbie Keane, but his shot was blocked and rolled through to Raimond van der Gouw.

Still City probed from deep looking for the opening that was unforthcoming, and when United took the lead it was fortunate. Chippo had produced a wonderful tackle to deny sub Paul Scholes but when the ball was played back in, the England midfielder rifled in a shot off the unfortunate Gary Breen.

There was no doubt about the quality of United’s second. Scholes' 40 yard pass was plucked effortlessly out of the air by David Beckham and Yorke headed the resulting cross past Magnus Hedman.

But still City showed their grit. John Aloisi, on for the disappointing Moustapha Hadji, took a perceptive pass from Keane and turned a first time shot into the corner of the net. It was a true striker’s goal.

That pumped new energy into tired legs but never seriously threatened. Sunderland will not be easy, but City should, given the same effort, get more joy at The Stadium of Light. 

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COVENTRY:
Hedman, Breen (Konjic, 84 mins), Shaw, Williams, Edworthy, Chippo, Hadji (Aloisi, 70 mins), McAllister, Froggatt, Whelan (Tefler, 34 mins), Keane
Subs: Nuzzo (gk), Gavin Strachan

MANCHESTER UNITED:
Van der Gouw, P Neville (Curtis, 79 mins), Berg, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Butt (Scholes, 60 mins), Giggs, Sheringham (Solskjaer, 73 mins), Yorke
Subs: Culkin (gk), Cole

GOALS:
Coventry - Aloisi (80 mins)
Man Utd - Scholes (deflected shot, 62 mins), Yorke (header, 75mins)

REFEREE: Alan Wilkie (Chester-le-Street)

BOOKINGS:
Coventry – Froggatt (59 mins, foul)
Man Utd - Beckham (43 mins, foul)

ATTENDANCE: 22,024

COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Marc Edworthy
    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 25 Aug 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM