Defeat at Elland Road - match report and debrief
Leeds United 3-1 Spurs
Sat 08 May 2021, 14:29|Tottenham Hotspur
Our outside hopes of finishing in the top four suffered a potentially fatal blow at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon as we went down 3-1 to Leeds United.
In what was an open and entertaining contest, Heung-Min Son scored to cancel out Stuart Dallas’ opener for Leeds before Patrick Bamford put the home side back in front before half-time. Rodrigo’s late goal on the counter-attack as we chased an equaliser sealed our fate and kept us in sixth place, six points off Chelsea in fourth and with just three games left to play.
Despite the teeming rain in West Yorkshire, the game started in frenetic fashion with both sides enjoying good possession in attacking positions, with Leeds drawing first blood. There were 13 minutes on the clock when Sergio Reguilon stuck out a leg to Jack Harrison’s dangerous cross forcing Hugo Lloris to dive across his goal and push the ball out, but only as far as Dallas who slammed into the roof of the net.
We were level 12 minutes later following a swift counter, Dele Alli threading a delightful ball in behind the Leeds defence for Son and he coolly slotted past Illan Meslier. Then, after Lloris had superbly tipped Harrison’s powerful shot over the bar, we had the ball in the net as Harry Kane rounded off an excellent move, only for the flag to go up for offside. It was checked by VAR and the decision upheld, but Kane appeared literally millimetres off, if that.
Instead it was our hosts who struck next, Bamford reacting quickest of all to Ezgjan Alioski’s ball into the six-yard box and he tapped home to ensure Leeds led at the break.
There was no change to the pattern of the game after the interval, both sides continuing to create chances. Kane had the ball in the net again but was well offside this time, Son fired into the side-netting and Lloris produced another fine save to deny Mateusz Klich at the other end. Then it was the Leeds goalkeeper’s turn to shine, palming away Serge Aurier’s angled deflected drive before keeping out substitute Erik Lamela with his legs, in between which Kane clipped the top of the crossbar with a 20-yard free-kick.
As the game entered the closing stages, we were pushing forwards in search of an equaliser but got caught with a sucker-punch for the home side’s third. Raphinha was sent clear down the left in acres of space as we appealed for offside and he moved into the area, squaring for Rodrigo who slammed past Lloris. Despite a VAR check, the goal stood and any hopes of a Spurs victory were extinguished.
Euro hopes dented in open affair
With victory in our previous two league matches and lifted by Leicester City’s defeat to Newcastle United on Friday night, we went into the game knowing another win could have kept us very much in the fight for the top four. It was always going to be a tricky contest against a Leeds side which hadn’t lost at home to any of other ‘big six’ clubs this season and, despite having our chances, it proved to be exactly that.
The hosts started brightly, Lloris getting down quickly to push away Bamford’s left-foot drive and moments later, Pascal Strujik blazed over after Harrison had sent Dallas’ deep corner back into the danger zone. Harrison was causing all sorts of problems with his deliveries from the flanks and it was his cross which led to the opener, Dallas on hand to score after Lloris had kept out Reguilon’s prod goalwards. Shortly after, Gareth Bale’s flicked header from a corner was blocked before we levelled with a great goal, Dele’s lovely assist finished off by Son. It was almost 2-1 after Kane applied an excellent finish from Dele’s cross only to be adjudged offside by the smallest of margins, but three minutes before the break it was 2-1 to Leeds as Bamford put them back in front.
Early in the second period Son possibly should have done better after being put away by Giovani Lo Celso but fired into the side-netting, while Aurier did well down the right flank to skip past a challenge and let fly, the deflection off Alioski making it an even better save from Meslier to deny him.
Klich had earlier seen Lloris produce an excellent save to keep out his effort and was later denied by Toby Alderweireld’s last-ditch block, while we kept working hard to carve out an equaliser but just couldn’t find that elusive golden opportunity, although Lamela went close and was thwarted by Meslier. The fourth goal of the game instead came at the other end through Rodrigo, who had only been on the pitch for five minutes and it was the hosts with the better of the last few minutes as we ran out of steam.
Milestone for Dier
Interim Head Coach Ryan Mason named an unchanged squad of 18 after last week's 4-0 win against Sheffield United, including the same starting XI, which meant a 200th Premier League appearance for Eric Dier, who became the 15th player to reach that milestone for us.
On the touchline, there was an age difference of 35 years and 327 days between 29-year-old Mason and 65-year-old Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, the second biggest age gap between two managers meeting in the history of the Premier League after Bobby Robson and Chris Coleman (37 years, 112 days) met in April, 2003, when Robson’s Newcastle took on Fulham at Craven Cottage.
We have now scored at least once in each of our last 12 Premier League games, the longest current run in the competition. Indeed, only Manchester City (31) have scored in more different Premier League games this season than us (29).
Reaction on Spurs TV
'They started better'
Ryan told Spurs TV after the game at Elland Road: "We’re disappointed to lose. They started better than us, they were bright, got the lead and we responded well, scored a good goal ourselves and at 1-1, there was an offside decision, and it’s amazing what things like that can do in terms of the momentum of the game.
"We went in 2-1 down at half-time, disappointing, but I thought in the second half we came out and created some openings, we had some big moments and in games like this when it’s tight, you need to take them."
Leeds United 3-1 Spurs
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier, Ayling (c), Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Koch, Dallas, Roberts (Raphinha 58), Klich (Phillips 90), Harrison, Bamford (Rodrigo 79). Substitutes (not used): Casilla, Poveda-Ocampo, Hernandez, Davis, Beradi, Shackleton.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Lo Celso (Ndombele 80), Bale (Lucas 67), Dele (Lamela 67), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Doherty, Sanchez, Winks, Sissoko, Bergwijn.
Goals: Leeds – Dallas 13, Bamford 42, Rodrigo 84; Spurs – Son 25.
Yellow cards: Leeds – Koch; Spurs – Reguilon, Lucas.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
Weather: Persistant rain, moderate breeze, 12 degrees.