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Adam Dent[12 FEB 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (3) 3
Sunderland (0) 2
BY ADAM DENT

The Sky Blues returned to winning ways - but at a cost and after putting their supporters through more heart-stopping moments at Highfield Road.

Gordon Strachan’s side, on the back of two successive defeats, turned on the style to score three goals inside the opening 20 minutes against Peter Reid’s men but still had to endure three minutes of agony as they allowed the visitors back into a game that should have been long dead.

And, to make matters worse, Steve Froggatt could miss out on an England call-up on Wednesday after a challenge from Nicky Summerbee left him needing x-rays on a leg injury.

Strachan was clearly – and rightly – incensed by referee Paul Alcock’s failure to punish a string of over-physical challenges from Sunderland in a nasty first half performance.

The City manager was, on the other hand, left enthusing about the style in which his side established their lead.

The catalyst was the return of Moroccans Moustapha Hadji, who had arguably his best game for the club, and Youssef Chippo.

The Sky Blues made the perfect start when Robbie Keane, looking back to near his best form, put them ahead after less that two minutes. But the goal owed much to Hadji – his shot was spilled by Thomas Sorensen allowing Keane to follow in for his 11th of the season.

City were rocked by yet another injury when Froggatt hobbled off in the fifth minute and had to be replaced by Barry Quinn.

City stretched their lead in the 13th minute when Gary Breen headed on a Gary McAllister corner leaving Hadji to convert from just a yard.

Once again Sunderland’s response was physical and Stefan Schwarz took out Tomas Gustafsson with a crude challenge which saw no yellow card. If Sunderland's robust style was a policy then it failed to work for five minutes later Cedric Roussel bagged his fifth goal in a fortnight.

He and Hadji were left in space inside the Sunderland area and the young Belgian gratefully swept the ball home.

Coventry could have had more – Roussel hooked a volley just wide and Niall Quinn superbly headed off his own line from compatriot Gary Breen.

Sunderland had given precious little service to Quinn and Kevin Phillips who were making little or no impression.

They responded to Reid’s half time onslaught but still there looked no hint of a tight finish when Phillips rattled in his 23rd goal of the season just short of the hour.

Hadji went close with two long-range efforts, Keane continued to cause problems while Roussel won more than his fair share of ball in the air.

But, which just two minutes of normal time remaining, sub Alex Rae bundled home a knock back from Niall Quinn to give the visitors hope. That looked to have been realised when Kevin Kilbane tried his luck from 25 yards only for Hedman to tip his effort onto a post and out for a corner.

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COVENTRY:
Hedman; Gustafsson, Shaw, Breen, Froggattt (Quinn, 9 mins); Chippo (Normann, 85 mins), McAllister, Eustace, Hadji; Keane, Roussel
Subs: Ogrizovic, Gavin Strachan, Konjic

SUNDERLAND:
Sorensen; Williams (Holloway, 63 mins), Butler, Craddock, Makin; Summerbee (Rae, 78 mins) Schwarz, McCann (Roy, 66 mins), Kilbane; Phillips, Quinn
Subs: Reddy, Marriott

GOALS:
Coventry - Keane (2 mins), Hadji (13 mins), Roussel (18 mins)
Sunderland - Phillips (58 mins), Rae (88 mins)

REFEREE: Paul Alcock (Kent)

BOOKINGS:
Coventry – Eustace (80 mins)
Sunderland – Makin (38 mins), Schwarz (51 mins), McCann (54 mins)

ATTENDANCE: 22,101

COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Hadji – had a hand in every City goal
    

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SUNDERLAND



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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 12 Feb 00

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