Leeds dent Tottenham’s top four hopes

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Leeds thrash Tottenham 3-1
Leeds thrash Tottenham 3-1

Patrick Bamford scored for Leeds United in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate to help dent Tottenham‘s European chances.

In an absorbing game at Elland Road, Stuart Dallas put Leeds ahead with his eighth league goal of the season, the Northern Ireland midfielder pouncing from close range after Hugo Lloris’ terrific reaction save to prevent Sergio Reguilon putting through his own net.

The lead lasted 12 minutes, Son Heung-min equalising with a clinical finish after Dele Alli was allowed to run unchallenged before threading a clever pass into the South Korea forward’s path.

But Leeds responded through Bamford, who tapped in Ezgjan Alioski’s cross before substitute Rodrigo confirmed Spurs’ first league defeat in three games under interim manager Ryan Mason.

Deal of the day

On a frustrating day for Spurs, Harry Kane had two goals ruled out for offside and hit the bar from a free-kick, while Illan Meslier produced an excellent save to keep out Serge Aurier’s deflected attempt.

With three matches left, sixth-placed Spurs are five points off fourth spot with both teams immediately above them – West Ham and Chelsea – having games in hand.

Leeds, who started the weekend in 11th spot, climbed above Aston Villa and Arsenal – who both play on Sunday – into ninth.

Southgate, who will this month name his squad for this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 Championship, was at Elland Road to see Bamford score his 15th Premier League goal of the season.

At 1-1, Lloris produced a one-handed save to keep out Jack Harrison and the Spurs keeper later denied Mateusz Klich at 2-1, before Moreno’s goal, after a superb run and pass by the returning Raphinha, settled it.

The result means Leeds will finish this season unbeaten at home in the league against the so-called big six.

This was Tottenham’s second defeat since sacking Jose Mourinho last month. Not only is 2020-21 their 13th season without a major trophy after they lost to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, they are now in danger of missing out on a place in Europe.

While Mourinho has since resurfaced in Italy at Roma, Spurs’ search for a permanent manager looks set to extend into the close season.

Question marks remain over the future of England captain Kane while Gareth Bale has just three games before he is due to return to Real Madrid.

Tottenham’s next manager will be the 10th permanent appointment made during Daniel Levy’s 20 years as chairman. He really needs to get the next one right.

Having beaten Southampton and relegated Sheffield United at home under Mason, this was a careless performance against Leeds.

The hosts were much more energetic and took the lead after Aurier failed to cut out a cross, while Eric Dier’s poor headed clearance sparked the move that led to Bamford scoring Leeds’ second goal.

Fourth place looks an unlikely prospect now for Spurs, while sixth place will become seventh if Liverpool beat Southampton at Anfield in the day’s late kick-off.