Leeds United 0-1 Chelsea

By Darren Steward

A 59th-minute Jon Harley goal gave Chelsea a precious win over Leeds United, avenging the early season defeat at Stamford Bridge, and condemning the home side to a second successive Premiership defeat.

Both teams attacked from the off, showing the ferocious tackling typical of this fixture.

After 10 minutes George Weah had the visitors' first chance. He burst through from Chris Sutton's direct ball, but blasted into the side netting from the angle.

Leeds hit back and forced three corners - however heroic Chelsea defending (it will need to be against Barcelona on Wednesday) kept the white shirts at bay.

David O'Leary's men had a good chance when the combative Alan Smith knocked Harry Kewell's cross goalwards, but Dutchman Ed De Goey pushed it out.

Just before the end of a safety-first half, Dennis Wise found Weah with an astute through ball but his effort didn't trouble Nigel Martyn in the Leeds goal.

Chelsea stirred in the second-half and Harley's curling effort would have found the corner of the goal after 54 minutes but for Martyn's brilliant fingertip save.

The Yorkshire side almost broke the deadlock after 58 minutes, but Ian Harte's deft free-kick was inches wide, and a minute later the Londoners scored.

Man-of-the-match Harley, looking every bit as good as Irish international Harte on the opposite side, accepted a lob from Sutton and finished with a cheeky nutmeg of the England No 2 shot-stopper.

Only in the closing stages did the normally physical nature of encounters like this show as Smith was lucky to only be booked for a rash challenge and a thuggish elbow on Frank Leboeuf, which led to Sutton then taking a grip on Stephen McPhail as the players converged. All thoughts of this week's FA fine for a similar brawl against Tottenham was forgotten by Leeds' players, who seemingly wanted to endure their chairman another visit to Lancaster Gate.

The sight of Smith, face contorted in a volley of abuse at referees and players, is becoming an all-too-familiar and unwelcome sight in Premier games.

This once angelic, former Lilleshall-bred player seems to have metamorphosised into a whinger, concentrating more on getting opposing players sent off than improving his goals per game record.

Ultimately, that will not worry Gianluca Vialli, and his team - unbeaten in the Premiership this year - as their bid for another Champions league place gathers ground.

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke, McPhail, Wilcox (Huckerby 74), Smith, Kewell.
Subs Not Used: Haaland, Mills, Jones, Robinson.
Booked: Bowyer, Smith.

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Babayaro, Leboeuf, Thome, Harley (Lambourde 88), Morris, Di Matteo, Wise, Weah, Sutton.
Subs Not Used: Hogh, Della Bona, Zola, Cudicini.
Booked: Morris, Sutton.
Goals: Harley 62.
Att: 40,162
Ref: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).