Tottenham second best against vibrant Leeds in serious blow to Champions League hopes

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Leeds' climbed into the top half with an impressive performance - GETTY IMAGES
Leeds' climbed into the top half with an impressive performance - GETTY IMAGES
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  • Patrick Bamford pushes England credentials with another goal for Leeds

  • Visitors suffer frustrating day with Harry Kane denied by Var and the crossbar

  • Spurs are five points off fourth spot with both teams immediately above them having games in hand

The green, green grass of home proved to be anything but for punch-drunk Tottenham, as they were battered into submission by the latest exhilarating instalment of fantasy football from Leeds.

Patrick Bamford underlined his England credentials with a 15th goal of the season, while Eric Dier, his 200th top flight appearance one he will wish to quickly forget, appeared to try his best to play his way out of the summer plans of watching England boss Gareth Southgate. Even worse was the defensive horror show from the visitors which caused potentially fatal damage to their fading Champions League hopes.

The hosts took full advantage on a pristine playing surface they paid their Premier League rivals £300,000 to transport lock stock and barrel up north earlier this year. On this evidence, it was money very well spent.

"Considering the quality of the opponents and the way we attacked them, it's one of the best performances of the season," reflected Marcelo Bielsa, following a display from the same eleven players which was the polar opposite to their abject efforts in last week's defeat at Brighton.

But for Hugo Lloris, Leeds could have scored six or seven. That South coast no-show was clearly the exception rather than the rule, and Bielsa added: "I was confident we'd bounce back, and this was more like us.

"A two-goal winning margin is an adequate reflection of the game. It's fair to say we could have scored more but we also could have conceded more." It was that kind of game, one in which Tottenham fully played their part going forward. Harry Kane sent a free-kick against the bar, and had two efforts ruled out after review by Var, one by the narrowest of margins. But the visitors' at times impressive attacking efforts - with Dele Alli to the fore - were undermined by a listless display at the back.

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Asked if a first defeat in four league games had finally extinguished their attempts to finish in the Champions League places, stand-in Spurs head coach Ryan Mason said: "I don't know, but this is a disappointing result.

"On the touchline I thought the first one Harry had chalked off was onside. I've watched it three or four times and I've not changed my mind so it was disappointing not to get the decision because goals change the momentum of a game. We created enough chances to get a second goal but the disappointing thing was that we took a bit of time to get going."

That lacklustre start saw Dier inexplicably allow Jack Harrison's centre to run across the six yard box as Leeds took a 13th minute lead. It was not to be the only moment to forget for the England defender in front of Southgate, but in mitigation, his culpability in the opening goal was matched by Sergio Reguilon.

The full-back's botched clearance from Harrison's centre forced a fine point-blank save from Lloris, but the goalkeeper stood no chance from the rebound as Stuart Dallas thrashed his eighth goal of the season into an unguarded net from a couple of yards.

Parity was restored 12 minutes later thanks to some similarly lax defending. Alli, making consecutive league starts for the first time in 14 months, was allowed to carry the ball forward from halfway. When the midfielder was belatedly engaged by Diego Llorente, he had been given time to weigh-up a deft pass beyond the Spaniard and Luke Ayling into the area, which Son Heung-min swept first-time beyond Illan Meslier from a dozen yards for his 22nd goal of the season.

Harry Kane had two goals chalked off by Var - GETTY IMAGES
Harry Kane had two goals chalked off by Var - GETTY IMAGES

Leeds restored their lead three minutes before the interval. Ezgjan Alioski partly atoned for his role in Tottenham's equaliser with an intelligent overlapping run down the left which was found by Harrison in a move started by Dallas, continued by Tyler Roberts and featuring a good advantage played by referee Michael Oliver.

Alioski's cross should have been cut out, but a statuesque Dier was beaten to the ball by Bamford who stabbed home from close range to become only the fourth Englishman to score 15 or more times in a single Premier League campaign for the Yorkshire club, and no doubt provide plenty more food for thought for Southgate on the drive back to Harrogate.

The second-half was equally as open as the first, though it was one where the hosts exerted a growing dominance after Son fired wastefully into the side netting soon after the re-start.

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Lloris saved brilliantly from Mateusz Klich, the midfielder having been teed-up by the ubiquitous Harrison, while at the other end, Meslier beat out a deflected Serge Aurier drive. The only surprise was that it took until six minutes from the end for the fourth goal, one which sealed a fully-deserved victory for the home team.

Tottenham were caught short of numbers at the back as they sought an equaliser, allowing Rodrigo to round-off a fluid 60-yard counter-attack by firing home an inviting square pass from fellow substitute Raphinha. Lloris bravely prevented Dallas from making it four as the visitors were kept firmly under the cosh right until the final whistle.

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01:24 PM

FT: Leeds 3 Tottenham 1

What an excellent performance from Leeds. They highlighted Spurs' weakness down their right flank and kept chipping away at it through Harrison in the first period, and some of their one-touch play and rotations were a joy to watch.

Spurs had a few flashes of quality, particularly through Dele Alli in the first half, but they looked very loose and a little brittle. Playing all four blue-chip attackers left them a little top heavy.

01:20 PM

Leeds' third

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01:20 PM

92 minutes

Good driving run from Lamela but he completely scuff the shot at the end of it.

01:19 PM

Four minutes of added time

Lloris has produced another good save to deny Stuart Dallas' side-foot shot.

01:18 PM

89 minutes

Tottenham enjoying some possession but it does not look to be going anywhere.

01:15 PM

87 minutes

Lamela goes for a crossfield rabona and it flies out for a Leeds throw. Sums up Tottenham's day. Bar a few moments of quality they have been second best.

01:13 PM

GOOOOAAAALLL! Leeds look to have wrapped it up

Was Raphinha offside in the build up? He could well be, but the flag stayed down. He got in behind the Spurs defence down the left and squared for Rodrigo who slammed past Lloris.

Var checking now...he's onside! When the camera is level with play he is marginally behind Dier. Goes to show how the eye can deceive in real time. Should be game over.

01:11 PM

82 minutes

Spurs just about still in this, after Klich bends a shot from distance just wide of the far post with Lloris rooted. Time running out for Spurs.

01:09 PM

80 minutes

Mason has made his final change as Ndombele replaces Lo Celso. Dier whipped in a dangerous cross but Alioski hammered clear. Leeds break but Reguilon does well to nod back to Lloris after Raphinha's cross.

01:06 PM

77 minutes

A comical passage of football with Lamela producing a terrible pass and Lo Celso falling over, but Spurs kept it. Kane with a moment of class to slip Lamela in on the overlap down the left but Meslier rushed out to save his low shot. May have been better off pulling it back. Pressure still on with a Spurs corner.

01:03 PM

75 minutes

The Tottenham pressure is starting to grow. Lo Celso gets into a good position down the left and his cross is headed behind for a corner. Dier gets a glance to it but it runs all the way through.

Then Leeds produce some lovely one-touch play around the edge of the box but Harrison shoots over.

01:01 PM

73 minutes

Cracking effort from Kane but it skims off the bar! Good strike, but it was Meslier's side. The Leeds goalkeeper may have got fingertips to it anyway.

Then Leeds are sprinting clear on the attack after a poor Aurier header but Alderweireld makes a great block to deny Klich. The Harrison scoops a shot horribly over.

12:59 PM

71 minutes

Excellent goalkeeping from Meslier to keep Leeds ahead! It was a strange effort as Aurier's cross deflected off Alioski and flew towards the roof of the net but Meslier changed direction to rtp it over. Then Harrison brings down Reguilon at the edge of the area. Free-kick in a really dangerous position. 23 yards out, left of centre. Kane over it.

12:57 PM

68 minutes

Looked like Alioski brought down Lucas Moura, but Michael Oliver spotted that the Spurs man caught him first with an arm. Then Lucas does get a free-kick on halfway after Struijk brings him down. Leeds intent on not letting him build up a head of steam.

12:54 PM

66 minutes

Bamford was back in his own box to glance the free-kick away. Alli was fortunate not to be penalised for pushing a Leeds player off the pitch. Lucas and Lamela are coming on: Alli and Bale coming off. Bale has had very little influence today and Leeds have exploited the same behind him.

12:53 PM

64 minutes

For once, Leeds' delivery from a set-piece is not up to snuff. A couple of changes on the way for Tottenham: Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura are about to come on.

Lo Celso wastes a good counter-attacking situation with a stray pass. He was too reluctant to use his right foot. Spurs do have a free-kick in a crossing position wide left.

12:51 PM

62 minutes

Alderweireld defends strongly when Leeds threatening, but they come again and Lloris makes his third BIG save of the day from Klich's bending shot across goal with his right foot. Spurs looked really ragged there.

12:48 PM

60 minutes

Spurs just starting to get into the final third with more regularity. Son pulls off the Leeds defence to shoot from the edge of the D but Struijk got a block in and it deflects behind for a corner. Leeds clear, and Reguilon brings down Raphinha.

12:45 PM

57 minutes

Leeds with a positive substitution: Roberts is coming off to be replaced by Raphinha. A decisive change from Bielsa relatively early in the second half.

12:43 PM

55 minutes

Spurs' runners create some space from Kane to drive inside and shoot from distance but he dragged it wide. Leeds a little too slow to close him down there with the ball on his right foot.

Then Son finds himself in oceans of room after a mis-placed pass from Struijk but he blasts the ball into the side netting with his left foot.

12:41 PM

53 minutes

Leeds had space to run through Spurs' central midfield there but the move broke down after a silly shot from Roberts. Spurs a bit more competitive in the challenges this half but not a great deal of quality.

12:40 PM

51 minutes

Koch brings down Son on the halfway line when Tottenham were threatening to counter at speed. The Leeds man picks up a booking for his troubles. Alderweireld tries to find Alli with a diagonal cross but his header is collected easily by Meslier.

12:37 PM

49 minutes

Leeds probing down their right through Ayling but they lose possession and Bale can bring Spurs forward. Lo Celso took too long to play the pass through to Kane and he was a few yards offside by the time it arrived.

12:36 PM

47 minutes

No changes from either side, Mason has kept his Fab Four up top together. Son does well to keep the ball in play down the left but his cross is straight at Meslier.

12:33 PM

Back under way!

Leeds straight on to the front foot through Alisoki again.

12:33 PM

What does Ryan Mason do now?

He needs a goal, but is team are getting roasted down their right? Does he take Bale off to try and solidify or leave him on in search of goals. Has the feel of a game that could end 4-1 or 2-4.

12:18 PM

HT: Leeds 2 Tottenham 1

Dele Alli heads away another threatening free-kick just before the break. Leeds the better side, but Spurs were oh so close to having two goals themselves thanks to their class in the final third.

12:16 PM

One minuted of added time to play

Leeds on the ball again, and entering the Spurs half.

12:15 PM

44 minutes

No doubt that Leeds deserve that lead for their general play, even though Spurs have flashed a few moments of genuine quality. Lo Celso concedes a foul in midfield.

12:13 PM

GOOOOAAALLL! Leeds back in front

That was a picture-book goal by Leeds, training ground stuff. Bamford knocks the ball down for Dallas, and they work the ball out to the ever-threatening Harrison on the left.

He waits for Alioski on the overlap who keeps his head to pick out Bamford in the six-yard box who scored a tap in. A bit too easy from a Spurs perspective.

12:11 PM

40 minutes

Spurs had space on the counter down the right but Bale could not quite make up his mind with the final ball and Leeds got back to get a block in. Harrison with another clipped cross, but it just evaded Bamford.

12:10 PM

38 minutes

The game has settled into a slight lull. Dallas whips another cross in from the right but Aurier heads away. Questions have been asked of him, but Lloris is in a rich vein of former.

12:06 PM

35 minutes

The game is really opening up now, both teams trading blows. Reguilon's cross is too heavy and flies over everyone. We talk a lot about Leeds' pressing and their passing patterns, but they put SO many crosses into the opposition box.

12:05 PM

The offside decision

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12:04 PM

33 minutes

Another superb cross from Roberts into the Spurs box that Aurier just about deals with after getting himself in a tangle. Spurs just about deal with the corner before Alioski passes the ball straight out of play.

12:03 PM

Var check: Offside given

Kane and Spurs unfortunate there, it was one of those that came down to the end of his boot. Leeds breathe a sight of relief, that was closer than it looked in real time.

12:02 PM

31 minutes

Spurs have the ball in the net after another brilliant final ball from Alli that Kane dinked over the goalkeeper. The flag went up but it was REALLY tight. Var checking....there are millimetres in it.

12:01 PM

That Dele Alli assist

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12:00 PM

29 minutes

Leeds peppering the Spurs box with crosses, Lloris flaps at one slightly before Alli is caught in possession at the edge of the box. Rasping shot from distance from Koch deflects behind for another corner. Spurs survive for the time being.

11:58 AM

27 minutes

A lot of judges predicted goals, and the game has not disappointed so far. Leeds getting forward through Harrison again who is giving Aurier a torrid, cuts inside onto his right and Lloris does well to tip over the bar. Corner Leeds.

11:56 AM

GOOOOAAALLL! Spurs equalise

They are yet to click into gear, but that is an exquisite assist from Dele Alli. He was running at the Leeds back four, Kane made one run to drag defenders away and he poked a perfectly weighted pass through to Son who kept his cool and fired past Meslier. Great vision from Alli.

11:54 AM

23 minutes

Kane wins a flick on to Son and Spurs set up camp in the Leeds half, but the home team do well to force them all the way back to Dier.

He picks out Reguilon with a good diagonal but Leeds push Son down a blind alley and win the ball back.

11:53 AM

The opening goal

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11:52 AM

21 minutes

Harrison plays a ball forward but Dier reads it and clears. Spurs have some space to run into on the break but Koch does well to win a sliding challenge on Kane after he was found by a cute Lo Celso pass. Good game.

11:49 AM

17 minutes

Harrison with another good delivery but Spurs deal with it. Leeds are first to everything so far and are exposing Tottenham's back four in one against one situations.

That was better from Spurs, good combination play with Bale feeding Son who found the run of Alli with a flick around the corner but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked.

11:47 AM

15 minutes

Spurs threaten a speedy equaliser after Bale won a near-post flick on from a corner. Almost fell for Alli a few yards out but not quite. Hojberg fouls Alioski at the other end and Leeds have a free-kick in a crossing position wide left.

11:45 AM

GOOOOAAAALLL! Leeds in front

That is thoroughly deserved. Leeds work to the ball out to the left and Harrison beats Aurier on the outside and feeds a wicked ball across the six-yard box. Reguilon stuck out a leg and nearly scored an own goal, Lloris saved, but Dallas was there to slam into the roof of the net. Another big goal for Dallas.

11:43 AM

13 minutes

Nice link up play between Bamford and Roberts again but it does no lead to a clear cut chance. Kane wins a free-kick in midfield but Spurs give the ball away cheaply again when trying to find Bale wide right.

11:42 AM

11 minutes

Leeds winning most of the second balls so far and playing the game in the Tottenham half. Spurs are leaving their lavishly talented front four quite high up the pitch, leaving the back six quite a bit to do.

11:39 AM

8 minutes

First chance of the game falls to Leeds and it's an excellent save from Lloris! Incisive football from Leeds to feed Bamford in the left channel, and he shot across goal with his left peg and the Spurs goalkeeper got down well to tip around the post. Spurs cut open a little too easily there.

From the second of two corners, the ball gets hooked back across goal by Harrison and Struijk volleyed over the bar.

11:37 AM

6 minutes

Kane looks to find Son with a chipped cross and Llorente heads behind for a corner. Bale flicked the scuffed corner on at the near post but Koch was there to clear. Spurs win a throw in the Leeds half and get to sustain the pressure. Leeds win it back and keep the ball well.

11:35 AM

4 minutes

Alderweireld's long ball is charged down then Alioski sticks tight to Bale. Meslier shows good composure to sweep up behind his defence and pick a pass out to Dallas. Decent start from the home team.

11:33 AM

2 minutes

Leeds trying to press high in characteristic fashion, they are seeing most of the ball in the early minutes. Son and Bale have started really high and wide right and left. Kane will look to drop deep and create space for Alli to run beyond. The pitch is playing ok thankfully.

11:31 AM

KICK OFF!

Leeds get us started.

11:30 AM

No Phillips for Leeds in the holding midfield role

Dele Alli may well have been detailed to give Koch problems who is deputising in that position. We know how hard his runs can be to track.

11:27 AM

The players are on their way out

The rain is pouring down at Elland Road. Will be interesting to see how a slightly claggy pitch holds up.

11:22 AM

Leeds have a lot of top knots in their team

Luke Ayling - Reuters
Luke Ayling - Reuters

11:01 AM

Bielsa on facing a coach 36 years his junior

"I've said all along it's not about me against anyone. It's about Tottenham against Leeds."

10:52 AM

Ryan Mason speaks

"Winning matches breeds confidence. We are ready and hopefully we can put in a big performance."I've said all along the next game is the most important thing. The group has trained well this week and we felt right to keep the team as it is."

10:49 AM

Who do you fancy in the top four race?

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10:32 AM

Tottenham team and subs: Super attacking side

Kane, Son, Bale and Dele Alli all start!

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10:31 AM

Leeds team and subs: Raphinha and Phillips fit enough for the bench

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10:22 AM

Tottenham still alive in the Champions League race

Despite the turmoil of the last few weeks, Tottenham still have a puncher's chance of finishing in the top four, especially after Leicester's surprise defeat against Newcastle on Friday night.

There is further potential for rivals to drop points later today when Chelsea face Manchester City at the Etihad, while Spurs face Leicester on the final day of the season.

They could move within two points of Chelsea and four of Leicester this lunchtime, but they will have to overcome a dangerous Leeds United team at Elland Road.

Marcelo Bielsa's side are pushing for a top half finish themselves, but are waiting to see if key players Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha will be fit. Leeds were well beaten 3-0 when the teams met in north London over Christmas, and have conceded plenty of goals against the traditional 'Big Six' on their travels. They have been stronger at home though, drawing with Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United at Elland Road, conceding just two goals across those fixtures.

Ryan Mason is aiming to become the first manager or coach to win his opening three Premier League matches in charge of Tottenham. He has a fully fit squad to choose from today.

"I think energy is important and it’s important that it’s a good energy," said Spurs' interim head coach. "Mauricio (Pochettino) opened my eyes to a lot of things, him and his coaching team opened my eyes to a lot as a player and as a person as well. It’s important.

"If you’re doing something, you need to feel good, you need to be mentally in the right place to work and to compete. Yeah, it’s so important that we try and transmit this kind of feeling to each other, to our players, to the groundsmen, to the cleaners, everyone.

Full team news on the way shortly.

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