Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) 8th May 2021 at Elland Road

Spurs 8th May 2021

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Having made my first return to Elland Road for ages to pick up our crowdies, I can honestly say that it tugged at the heart strings and I felt very emotional. As we are now in the ballot for the last game of the season against West Bromwich Albion, hopefully it will not be my last visit this season.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Bamford, Harrison, Roberts, Koch, Dallas and Klich. Subs: Raphinha for Roberts (58), Rodrigo for Bamford (79) and Phillips for Klich (90). Subs not used: Casilla, Berardi, Shackleton, Poveda, Hernandez and Davies. Leeds won the game 3-1 with goals from Dallas (13), Bamford (42) and Rodrigo (84). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Michael Oliver. Booked: Koch.

With lots of heavy rain for hours prior to the game we will see how the “Spurs” pitch holds up to the weather. As Phillips and Raphinha make the bench today after their recent injuries, Leeds have a strong bench today which was good to see.

Spurs won their first corner after five minutes then we saw some strong defending from both Llorente and Struijk at opposite sides of the pitch. The keeper was forced to save Bamford’s shot after a great pass from Harrison and from a second corner Struijk’s shot went over the bar. A good run from Roberts saw his shot ricochet off their player making it easy for their keeper to collect the ball. Leeds took the lead on 13 minutes after a great cross from Harrison was nearly put into the goal from their player. This brought a save from their keeper, but Dallas blasted the rebound into the net for Leeds. Meslier was then called into action to make a save after a corner. Alioski was brought down with Leeds awarded a free kick, but the look on their player’s face indicated he had done nothing wrong. Leeds didn’t have everything their own way as first Koch blocked a shot then some good play from Struijk got the ball away. There had been quite a few tackles from behind from the Spurs players, but they had avoided any bookings so far. Leeds were then caught out when Spurs equalised about 10 minutes later as they went straight through us with just Meslier to beat. The ball ran for them as they got between two of our players with Alioski too far back to help.

A great run from Harrison ended with his shot saved by the keeper but our couple of corners didn’t come to anything. My heart sank then they put the ball into our net which would have put Spurs into the lead, but the flag had gone up for offside thank goodness. When lines were put up on the TV and VAR looked at it, I knew it was going to be a tight decision as we have had fingernails go against us already this season, but consistency meant it was disallowed. We wasted a short corner before Harrison was pulled up when attacking the ball. Their player was already going down as Harrison put his arm across him to cross the ball. Their keeper got the ball anyway but there was nothing wrong with the challenge. A fantastic build up just before half time between Dallas, Roberts, Harrison and then Alioski saw the latter cross the ball from the byline for Bamford to score to put us back into the lead with a well-timed goal.  This saw Leeds go in at half time in the lead in what had been a great entertaining game.

It was good to see that the pitch had stood up well as Leeds were straight on the attack at the start of the second half. As Spurs were miles offside the linesman waited until Bale put the ball into our net before putting the flag up. Another great cross from Harrison saw Leeds win another corner before Koch took one for the team to bring Son down and earn a booking. Spurs had another chance after a ball from Struijk was picked up by them, but their final shot hit the side netting. Bielsa then decided to make an early change and brought Raphinha on for Roberts moving Dallas into midfield alongside Klich. Prior to this Roberts had done some good work but was not quite clinical enough with his passes. Struijk made a good block which won a corner for Spurs. Raphinha had straight away started to have an impact and was brought down which earned the Spurs player a booking. Leeds then started to pile pressure on Spurs, and I was screaming for us to take a shot after we were in so many great positions, but had to contend with passing the ball between us. Eventually Klich hit a fantastic shot that was saved by their keeper. A free kick was awarded against Harrison which saw a good clearance from Alioski. Alioski was then brought down off the ball which gave us a free kick and their player a booking. Replays showed a deliberate arm from their player who wasn’t even looking at the ball. Their player went down after being outfought by Struijk, but Spurs were awarded a free kick. Alioski defending well, deflected the ball which brought a fantastic save from Meslier. Harrison was penalised for a foul just outside the box as he was running out from defence and their resulting shot hit the top of the bar. A good chance for Leeds was finally hit over the top by Harrison before a second chance for him shortly afterwards was blasted over the bar. He was playing really well but just couldn’t keep those final shots down.

As Spurs came forward again Alioski was on hand to put the ball out for a corner. Meslier made another brilliant save to keep Spurs out before Rodrigo came on to replace Bamford. Alioski was playing really well as we saw more good defending from him. Klich was so close to scoring with another good chance. A great run from Raphinha saw him pass to Rodrigo in loads of space to crack the ball into the net and straight away he acknowledged the cross from Raphinha. As Raphinha received the pass I immediately thought he was offside but then thought no, their player at the far side was playing him on and VAR agreed with this decision. With a 3-1 lead now, Leeds were determined to win the game as Ayling made a great block that sent the ball out for a throw. Phillips replaced Klich as Harrison was awarded man of the match by the commentators. Their keeper made a save from Dallas after he had a good layoff from Rodrigo after an Alioski cross. Spurs got through our defence, but their final shot was well wide when it looked like a good chance as four minutes time was added on. Struijk blocked the ball as we battled until the end and the final whistle blew. That was a fantastic team performance, we had played very well, battled, got a great win and three points giving us 50 points in total. It was great to see another of the “top six” teams finding out that we are up to the challenge. Well done, Leeds, as always, I am proud of you. LUFC – Marching on Together!