Leeds United 0-0 Chelsea  (Sky Sports)

Leeds Held By Brave Blues As O'Leary Sees Red

David O'Leary
O'Leary: furious with tackle.




FA Barclaycard Premiership


Dan Reynolds reporting

Leeds returned to the top of the Premiership after an explosive goalless draw with Chelsea in which David O'Leary was sent off following an horrific foul by Graeme Le Saux on Danny Mills.

The Leeds boss, who is certain to face a Football Association rap, saw red for lambasting Paul Durkin after the Portland official failed to send off Chelsea captain Le Saux for a shocking two-footed lunge on Mills on the stroke of half-time.

And O'Leary's misery was compounded six minutes from time when substitute Alan Smith's goal-bound effort after a fumble by Mark Bosnich was cleared off the line by England Under-21 international John Terry.

Le Saux leaves Mills in agony
Le Saux leaves Mills in agony.

But in truth it was no more than Claudio Ranieri's unbeaten men deserved after a battling performance and the visitors almost snatched victory at the death when Emmanuel Petit's superb 20-yard free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Leeds stopper Nigel Martyn.

Chelsea had the better of the early exchanges with livewire striker Eidur Gudjohnsen testing former Crystal Palace stopper Martyn with an 18-yard effort after just 45 seconds.

With 66 bookings and four dismissals in the last 10 meetings between the two sides, it took just 13 minutes for referee Durkin to issue the first yellow card of the game. Petit showed there was no love lost between himself and fellow Frenchman Olivier Dacourt as the Chelsea midfielder chopped down his compatriot.

But while Chelsea enjoyed the better of the opening period, Leeds should have been in front when 18million defender Rio Ferdinand turned Petit and Le Saux inside out before shooting straight at Bosnich from eight yards.


Gallas' sensational clearance
Gallas' sensational clearance.

Mark Viduka, with three goals in his last three matches, almost showed his defensive team-mate how to dot it seconds later with a spectacular 25-yard half-volley which flashed agonisingly wide of Bosnich's left-hand post.

And the Australian international will be wondering how he failed to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark after he capitalised on some indecision in the Blues box before flicking a close-range effort goal-bound, but French defender William Gallas produced a stunning overhead clearance off the line.

The game erupted in controversy just before the break when Mills was left with stud marks down his left thigh and in need of treatment following Le Saux's dreadful lunge.

But the former England international somehow escaped a red card - much to the annoyance of the fuming O'Leary, who confronted Durkin during a half-time bust-up before being banished to the stands.


Mark Bosnich
Bosnich: silenced his critics with superb display.

The second half was strangely muted after the hullabaloo that surrounded Le Saux's tackle, but that enabled Chelsea's forgotten man Bosnich - starting his first league match for 18 months - to take centre stage.

In the closing 20 minutes, Bosnich denied Viduka and then Harry Kewell with a stunning save after the Australian struck a thunderous volley from Lee Bowyer's exquisite cross.

But Bosnich looked to have been finally beaten when Smith tricked his way past the Australian and shot towards goal, but Terry made a dramatic clearance off the line to maintain Chelsea's unbeaten start to the Premiership.

Bosnich, though, did not have it all his own way as opposite number Martyn brilliantly saved from former Elland Road star Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, while in injury time he tipped a Petit free-kick onto the bar, ensuring Leeds have yet to concede a league goal at Elland Road this season.

Leeds: Martyn, Mills, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke, Dacourt, Kewell, Keane (Smith 76), Viduka.
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Kelly, Woodgate, Johnson.
Booked: Bakke, Dacourt.

Chelsea: Bosnich, Babayaro (Zenden 62), Terry, Melchiot, Le Saux, Gallas, Lampard, Petit, Dalla Bona, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen (Forssell 87).
Subs Not Used: Evans, Ferrer, Zola.
Booked: Petit, Dalla Bona, Le Saux.

Att: 40,171
Ref: P Durkin (Dorset).

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