Viduka Stunner Seals Win
|FA Carling Premiership|
Dan Reynolds reporting
Former Leeds striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink endured a miserable return to Elland Road as super-sub Robbie Keane and Mark Viduka kept Leeds' Champions League dreams on course.
Republic of Ireland international Keane, who had only been on the pitch four minutes, struck with just five minutes left to end Chelsea's own Champions League hopes and stretch his side's unbeaten run to 13 matches - including six successive victories.
Former Celtic ace Viduka sealed the win three minutes later to move Champions League semi-finalists Leeds back up to third place in the Premiership after yet another ill-tempered battle between these two sides in which seven players were booked.
It was no more than David O'Leary's men deserved and will no doubt haunt Dutch international Hasselbaink - dubbed Jimmy Floyd Piggybank by Leeds supporters still seething at his exit.
The former Athletico Madrid hit-man branded Chelsea's season a total failure before the game and was forced to endure a gauntlet of hate from the Elland Road fans before his misery was compounded when he picked up a yellow card two minutes before Keane's strike.
Claudio Ranieri's men appeared to be fired up by Hasselbaink's stinging criticism and came close to taking the lead in the eighth minute after Republic of Ireland defender Ian Harte almost put through his own net after good work down the left wing by Graeme Le Saux.
The former Blackburn Rovers defender delivered a dangerous low cross that Harte inadvertently connected with, but England keeper Nigel Martyn was on hand to save his team-mate's blushes with a stunning save.
The home side recovered from the early scare with
Harte shooting straight at Mario Melchiot and French midfielder
Olivier Dacourt narrowly shooting over the bar with a 30-yard curling
Leeds captain Rio Ferdinand then struck a half-volley over the bar from close range, while Lee Bowyer wasted a half-chance from inside the box when he flashed Harte's cross wide of goal.
David O'Leary's side continued to pile on the pressure and thought they should have had a penalty when French ace Marcel Desailly appeared to handle in the box, but referee Steve Dunn waived their appeals away.
Italian midfielder Sam Dalla Bona briefly
threatened to give his side the lead after his powerful left-foot shot from the
edge of the area flashed inches wide of Martyn's post, before Harry Kewell's 18-yard
scorcher fizzed just over the bar.
Leeds continued to press in the second half and only a breathtaking save from Italian stopper Carlo Cudicini on 48 minutes denied Lee Bowyer from breaking the deadlock with a close-range header.
Australian international Viduka came desperately close seven minutes later when he combined brilliantly with strike partner Smith before firing inches wide of goal with a low, 20-yard drive.
But it was the visitors who came closest to
breaking the deadlock in the 68th minute when Gianfranco Zola, previously
anonymous, struck a sweet curler from 25 yards that had Martyn beaten only to
hit the outside of the post.
Hasselbaink then went into the book for elbowing Dacourt, before Leeds finally opened the scoring when substitute Keane, who had replaced Kewell four minutes before, ran onto Viduka's through ball and fired into an open net after Cudicini had initially saved the Irishman's effort.
It was Keane's 10th goal for Leeds and strike partner Viduka made sure of the points with three minutes remaining after capitalising on hesitation by Desailly before firing a stunning strike past Cudicini for his 21st goal of the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Olivier Dacourt (Leeds)
The French midfielder was dominant throughout and spurred his team-mates onto a vital victory that keeps them on course for third place in the Premiership and Champions League qualification.
Leeds: Martyn, Mills, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte, Bowyer (Bakke 75), Dacourt, Batty, Kewell (Keane 81), Viduka, Smith.
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Robinson, Wilcox.
Booked: Dacourt, Bakke.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Terry, Babayaro, Wise, Dalla Bona, Morris (Poyet 64), Le Saux (Gudjohnsen 88), Hasselbaink, Zola (Gronkjaer 77).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Jokanovic.
Booked: Morris, Babayaro, Dalla Bona, Hasselbaink, Desailly.
Ref: S Dunn (Bristol).