Spurs crush Leeds United’s FA Cup dream
Leeds United 1 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
Leeds United’s dream FA cup run came to end tonight with a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road.
Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick to earn a fifth round trip to Bolton against a defiant Leeds site which once again showed quality above their League One status.
Spurs started the brighter side, as they did in the first leg of this fourth round tie, and could have had the game won within the first half hour as a series of chances went begging for the visitors.
Defender Sebastien Bassong found himself unmarked in the six yard box but fired his volley over the bar, while Defoe sent a shot whistling past the left-hand post and came out second best in a one-on-one situation with Casper Ankergren.
The Leeds keeper followed up this save with an even better effort off his own defender as Bale’s cross ricocheted off Lubomir Michalik forcing the Dane to save down to his right.
Defoe made the breakthrough on the 37th minute with the least clear cut chance of the night, catching David Bentley’s cross with his left ankle and sending the ball spinning into the top left-hand corner.
The goal seemed to fire the home side into action, however, and they responded with some pressure of their own, Michalik coming close with a glancing header which was tipped away by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.
With the visitors floundering, Leeds pounced on the stroke of half time, capitalising on Spurs’ inability to stay in possession of the ball.
Snodgrass’ wayward corner was hooked back towards the six-yard box by Jonathan Howson and Gomes was only able to fend off Jermain Beckford’s volley into the path of Luciano Becchio, who slotted home comfortably.
There was a question as to whether Becchio was offside but replays showed him moving back on while Beckford played the ball, at which point the Argentinean was not interfering with the play and had chance to dart back onside before pouncing on the loose ball in the goalmouth.
Spurs started the second half with some intent having let the lead slip away, with Bentley and Jenas linking up well to create chances for Defoe and Peter Crouch.
Defoe thought he had put the visitors ahead when he slotted Gareth Bale’s low cross past Ankergren but was correctly ruled offside.
He did not have long to wait to get his name on the score sheet a second time though. Jenas once again found Bentley who sent a teasing ball across the danger area for Defoe to steer into the net.
After failing to close out the game at White Hart Lane, Spurs looked much more composed in the final 20 minutes at Elland Road, while the home side appeared to be feeling the effects of the 40 matches they have played already this season.
Simon Grayson brought on fresh legs in the form of Jason Crowe and Mike Grella but they could not inspire a weary Leeds and Defoe wrapped up the game on the counter attack with a neat finish two minutes into injury time.