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Coventry City (1) 3
Burnley (0) 0

Youssef Chippo grabbed two great goals and but for Robbie Keane’s desperate attempt to get his own name on the score sheet would have scored a Cup hat-trick against the Second Division side.

Noel Whelan added the third with his second touch of the ball two minutes after being sent on as substitute for Cedric Roussel, who was clearly exhausted after his two mighty performances against Arsenal and Chelsea.

Mitchell Thomas, who played for Tottenham when they lost the 1987 FA Cup Final against the Sky Blues at Wembley, had a storming game against the Belgian and was the pick of the hard working Burnley side.

But the men who warmed the fans on a raw afternoon were the Moroccans Chippo and Moustapha Hadji.

They sent the temperatures soaring with a highly skilled brand of football which had Coventry’s fans wondering just how they will cope without them during the African Nations Cup.

There can be no better wide players in the Premiership at this stage of the season, but somehow Coventry’s manager Gordon Strachan has to find a way of compensating for their absence.

They were due to fly off to Africa after this match, but they prevailed on the Moroccan football authorities to allow them to fly back for next Saturday’s Premiership match against Wimbledon at Highfield Road.

They must then rejoin their Moroccan team mates for the Nations Cup and could be away for five crucial weeks. Certainly will have to play the fifth round of the FA Cup without them.

Chippo caught the eye in this match as early as the 11th minute when he knocked a short pass to his captain Gary McAllister. He picked up the return and scored a goal of stunning quality when he pulled the trigger to fire a shot into the top corner of the net from 25 yards.

The stage looked set for a big score, but then, to Strachan’s obvious chagrin, the Premiership men began to over-elaborate and it was almost their undoing.

They had a lot of the ball and played some good approach work, but the final pass often went astray, and they often attempted to shoot from too far out. Fortunately Burnley were unable to create any clear cut chances.

Strachan read the Riot Act to his players at half-time and they emerged with a renewed urgency.

Chippo skipped through two tackles to knock the ball sideways to his fellow countryman, but Hadji’s shot came back off the post. Roussel struck the rebound, but somehow Burnley’s centre back Steve Davis got his head in the way and the ball cannoned off for a corner kick.

The second goal was not long coming however. Carlton Palmer won a midfield challenge in the 70th minute and fed Chippo who coolly rifled a left foot shot across the goal into the far corner.

Three minutes later Roussel was substituted by Whelan and two minutes after that the game was wrapped up in style. Whelan’s first touch of the match appeared to take him too wide of the target, but his second touch was perfect – a fierce shot into the far corner.

So the Sky Blues reached the fifth round for the fourth successive year and Wembley is still in their sights, providing they can get past their next opponents without the help of Hadji and Chippo.

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COVENTRY (4-4-2):
Hedman; Telfer (Gustafsson, 83 mins), Breen, Williams, Froggatt; Chippo, Palmer (Eustace, 89 mins), McAllister, Hadji; Roussel (Whelan, 73 mins)
Subs: Ogrizovic, Normann

Crichton; West (Branch, 75 mins), Davis, Thomas, Armstrong; Mullin, Cook, Mellon, Little; Payton , Cooke
Subs: Johnrose, Jepson, Smith, Weller

Coventry City - Chippo (12 mins, 20 yard blast; 70 mins, curling shot), Whelan (75 mins, low finish)

REFEREE: S Lodge (Barnsley)

Coventry – Palmer (foul, 52 mins), Telfer (foul, 57 mins)


COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Chippo – excellent throughout

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 8 Jan 00

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