Chelsea freezes out Leeds as Villa ousted
LONDON - Two ice-cool finishes by Chelsea's Eidur Gudjohnsen condemned Leeds United to a 2-0 defeat in a stormy English League Cup fourth-round match at Elland Road last night.
The Icelander pounced after 59 and 80 minutes to clinch a quarter-final place for Chelsea against a Leeds side that looked shot-shy as they wait to complete the signing of Liverpool's Robbie Fowler tomorrow.
Aston Villa, like Leeds unbeaten in the league at home this season, suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, currently at the bottom of division one.
Leeds looked badly in need of some extra firepower up front as Claudio Ranieri's Chelsea earned a deserved victory to boost their morale before Saturday's premier league trip to Manchester United.
Graeme Le Saux and Mario Melchiot missed good chances for the visitors in the first half at Elland Road.
At the other end, Carlo Cudicini produced fine stops to deny Jason Wilcox and Robbie Keane, who also had a strong penalty appeal turned down.
Cudicini tipped wide an Ian Harte free kick conceded by Le Saux at the start of the second period. But Chelsea grabbed the lead on the hour mark when Gudjohnsen, who had just shaved the outside of a post, fired a Frank Lampard knock-down past England goalkeeper Nigel Martyn.
The Icelander drilled in Chelsea's second - his seventh goal of the season - from a pass by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink with 10 minutes left to settle a bad-tempered match.
Leeds's misery was intensified by injuries to Stephen McPhail, Dominic Matteo and Eirik Bakke, while Le Saux was also carried off after a clash with Leeds's Alan Smith.
Substitute Efan Ekoku beat Villa defender Alpay Ozalan and drove Wednesday into a shock lead at Villa Park five minutes before halftime, and the visitors withstood a second-half barrage to seal a superb victory.
In the night's other game, goals by Nils-Eric Johansson and Damien Johnson gave premier league Blackburn Rovers a 2-0 home success over Manchester City. The first division side had Christian Negouai sent off after 26 minutes.
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