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Report: Leeds 2-1 Spurs

Posted on 5 November 2001  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Individual errors at Elland Road left us with a sense of deja-vu against another of the Premiership's big guns.

Once again we gave as good as we got but once again the result was the same - defeat.

After Gus Poyet's magnificent strike to put us 1-0 up, Leeds' equaliser came from an Ian Harte effort that Neil Sullivan would save 99 times out of a 100 and then disaster as Sullivan and Chris Perry left a nothing ball to each other to allow Harry Kewell to tap home the winner.

But the facts are there. Look at games against Chelsea (dodgy penalty, last-minute goal, lost 3-2), Manchester United (3-0 up at half-time) and Liverpool (even game, outpassed them, one moment of Litmanen magic and lost 1-0) and, in all three, you could argue our performance deserved some reward.

To the action and any thoughts that Leeds might have a hangover from their UEFA Cup exploits against Troyes on Thursday night were quickly dispelled with an inventive, attacking first half display full of good movement from midfield and up front.

Lee Bowyer, a constant threat from midfield, had the first opening after five minutes as, initially looking offside, he turned inside Ledley King only to fire a weak shot at Neil Sullivan.

We broke straight up the other end and a move involving Christian Ziege, Teddy Sheringham and Gus Poyet ended with Sheringham releasing Poyet but the Uruguayan snatched his shot over.

Robbie Keane often pulled out wide to the right in the early exchanges and his trickery caused problems. In the 11th minute he made room out of nothing for a cross that landed at the feet of Harry Kewell and only a brave block from Mauricio Taricco denied him.

Three minutes later and the best chance of the half. Poyet was crowded out in midfield, Olivier Dacourt threaded the ball through to Bowyer, through on goal, but he could only scuff his shot wide of the target.

Kewell soon latched onto Rio Ferdinand's raking pass but his attempt from wide of the area didn't really trouble Neil Sullivan.

Our best chance of the first half came with 23 minutes on the clock. Darren Anderton seemed surrounded but managed to wriggle free of three defenders and his low, driven cross went through Les Ferdinand's legs at the far post.

Bowyer again asked the questions after 26 minutes, his movement across the 18-yard line taking him away from King and Richards and his first-time shot back across goal was saved at full stretch by Sullivan.

Bakke then headed Harte's dangerous corner wide when he might have done better.

Our passing remained crisp but it was only threatening in patches with, often, the final ball going astray and crosses blocked.

Nevertheless, despite their possession, the home side only threatened once in the final 20 minutes when Kewell volleyed into the ground and over after more Keane magic.

We came out as more of an attacking force at the start of the second half as a couple of decent moves ended with Ziege and then Anderton shooting over.

Poyet then found the target to devastating effect. With 52 minutes on the clock Sheringham fed Ziege out wide, the German wing-back immediately drilled a low pass and Poyet controlled, switched to his left foot and curled a cracker beyond Nigel Martyn into the top corner.

We now had our best spell and Sheringham scooped a shot over the bar after Ferdinand and Ziege combined down the left.

But Leeds soon hit back. Viduka had a goal disallowed after 57 minutes and it was level three minutes later. After a spell of possession we failed to clear a cross from the right, Kewell slid the ball back to Ian Harte and the Irish star's right-foot shot somehow squirmed through Sullivan's hands and in off the post.

Sullivan soon redemed himself with a fine one-on-one save from Keane, another Dacourt pass and Anderton's volley from a poorly cleared corner flashed inches wide.

Another Ziege corner caused more problems after 76 minutes, this time Taricco clipped back the clearance and the loose ball fell to Ledley King, whose shot looked goalbound until it struck Ferdinand.

But then disaster. Mills' throw was headed back towards Sullivan by Richards but Perry and the goalkeeper left it for each other and Kewell joyfully popped the winner home.

Ironically enough, this reporter suggested in a pre-match interview with Christian Ziege that it might be better for us to play poorly and win - let's hope something along those lines the next time we play a top five club, Arsenal, in two weeks time.