Hojbjerg and Reguilon secure win over Leeds - match report and reaction
Spurs 2-1 Leeds United
Sun 21 November 2021, 18:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Sergio Reguilon’s first Spurs goal gave us victory over Leeds United after a stirring second-half fightback at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Trailing to a Dan James goal on the stroke of half-time, we turned it around after the interval with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg levelling it up before Reguilon’s close range finish on his 50th Spurs appearance completed the comeback.
The visitors got their reward for a dominant first half with the opening goal just before the break, James tucking home Jack Harrison’s cross from close range.
It hadn’t been a great first 45 minutes for us, but there was a much better intensity to our football after the interval and we equalised during an end-to-end period of the game, Lucas Moura laying the ball back for Hojbjerg to find the target from 15 yards out. It was our first goal in four Premier League games and gave everyone in the stadium a massive lift as the momentum of the game changed and we grabbed the lead on 69 minutes, Reguilon poking home from the rebound after Eric Dier’s deflected free-kick had hit the post.
That took the sting out of Leeds and they were unable to maintain the tempo to their play which had seen them in charge earlier in the contest. And that in turn enabled us to see out the closing stages without any real danger of giving up our lead, Hugo Lloris saving a couple of efforts from James to see us home with the points.
A game of two halves
There was little indication of the drama to come at half-time, as our below-par display had seen us once again fail to have a shot on target and we trailed to James’ goal. But it was a different story in the second period as we came out fighting and produced the desired response to turn the game on its head.
The visitors opened up the match full of energy, pressed us high up the pitch and didn’t give us any time to settle in possession, keeping that style up for most of the first half. It meant they dominated the first 15 minutes and had the game’s first shot on target on two minutes, Kalvin Phillips’ 25-yard free-kick saved easily by Lloris, low down to his right. Stuart Dallas then fizzed a right-foot effort just wide with Lloris at full stretch.
We weren’t able to make much happen in the final third, our first half-chance coming on 22 minutes after Heung-Min Son countered down the right, leaving Diego Llorente in his wake before cutting the ball back into the area but Harry Kane couldn’t get it under control and Leeds cleared their lines.
It was all ‘nearly’ stuff from us – Liam Cooper getting the merest of touches to prevent Reguilon’s cross from falling perfectly for Kane, while the Spanish international did well later on to cut in off the left flank but for some reason failed to spot the unmarked Emerson Royal in space in the area and Leeds snuffed out the threat.
The opening goal came in the final minute of the half – shortly after Adam Forshaw had let fly with a 25-yard drive which was a yard wide. Harrison was the creator, beating Royal down the Leeds left and delivering a perfect ball into the six-yard box which James tucked home.
Needing a second-half response, we showed our intent with an effort on goal just 32 seconds after the break, Lucas finding Kane in the left channel of the area with just Illan Meslier to beat but the keeper got enough of the ball to stop it going in. Suddenly, it was end-to-end stuff as both sides were showing much more attacking prowess. First, Lloris denied James with a good save to his right, before we were denied by the woodwork on 51 minutes. Lucas clipped a pass in to Son, who controlled on his chest and shot on the turn, with the ball flicking off Llorente and hitting the crossbar.
At the other end, Joe Gelhardt’s powerful shot was pushed away by Lloris, before we drew level just before the hour mark, Hojbjerg’s shot finding its way into the bottom corner after being set up by Lucas. And we were ahead on 69 minutes after Dier’s set-piece flicked off Pascal Struijk in the Leeds goal, wrong-footing Meslier and hitting the post but Reguilon was there in a flash to poke home.
There was a brief moment of concern when VAR looked into a potential penalty after Gelhardt’s shot on the turn struck Kane’s hand at close range, but the officials decided against awarding the spot-kick.
We had a good measure of control for the rest of the game, dealing with any Leeds pressure while having a number of counter-attacks of our own without being able to trouble Meslier, but the third goal wasn’t needed as we held out for a vital win in Antonio Conte’s first home Premier League game in charge.
It was somewhat fitting for Sergio Reguilon to open up his Spurs account on Sunday, as it marked his 50th appearance in our colours. He becomes the fourth Spaniard to score in the Premier League for us after Nayim, Roberto Soldado and Fernando Llorente.
This was the 100th fixture between Spurs and Leeds in all competitions. We have now won 38 of those games, with Leeds victorious in 33 along with 29 draws.
Antonio made two changes from the last game at Everton before the international break, with Japhet Tanganga coming in for the injured Cristian Romero and Harry Winks replacing the suspended Oliver Skipp. Ryan Sessegnon came off the bench with 11 minutes remaining for his first league appearance in our colours since January, 2020, after spending the majority of the start of the current season out injured.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'We found the right way'
Antonio told Spurs TV at full-time: "The game wasn’t easy, but we knew this. I read the stats from Leeds, they are fast, intensity in their running, but I have seen a lot of positive things, especially because in the first half, we struggled, we struggled a lot in the tactical aspect, but in the second half, we changed it. We changed plan. I asked the players to go to press with intensity and the game changed totally. We must be pleased. To have this kind of answer is important. I was a player, and I know very well that the moment is not good for us, and to finish 1-0 down, our fans not satisfied with our performance, you can go down. Instead, in the second half, we found the right way, and this is very important, because I know we have a lot of room for improvement."
Spurs 2-1 Leeds United
Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Tanganga (Sanchez 68), Dier, Davies, Royal, Hojbjerg, Winks, Reguilon (Sessegnon 79), Lucas, Son (Dele 88), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Doherty, Rodon, Bryan, Bergwijn, Ndombele.
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier, Dallas, Llorente, Cooper (c), Struijk, Phillips, James, Forshaw (Roberts 72), Klich (Firpo 59), Harrison, Gelhardt (McKinstry 87). Substitutes (not used): Klaesson, Drameh, Cresswell, McCarron, Jenkins, Greenwood.
Goals: Spurs – Hojbjerg 58, Reguilon 69; Leeds – James 44.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Royal; Leeds – Gelhardt, Forshaw, Cooper, Phillips.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Partly cloudy, gentle breeze, seven degrees.