Leeds United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup Fourth round: Final score 2-1, Leeds hold on to shock Spurs

Laurence Griffiths

Leeds United held onto their lead to put a strong Tottenham Hotspur side out of the FA Cup.

Tottenham named a strong side to face Leeds United, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon both in the starting lineup, yet they still suffered a shock 2-1 exit at the hands of Leeds United in the FA Cup.

Despite Tottenham's strong lineup and impressive start, it was the hosts who took the lead through Luke Varney, the striker racing onto the end of an attempted flick from El-Hadji Diouf to breach the Spurs defence and fire confidently past Brad Friedel.

Despite the shock, Tottenham still appeared confident and almost equalised soon afterwards, first after Jamie Ashdown saved from Clint Dempsey following Aaron Lennon's cross, and secondly after some skill from Tom Huddlestone saw him find space for a low shot which Ashton again did well to keep out.

As the first half drew to a close, it became apparent that a familiar problem was haunting the visitors, with a disciplined defence able to keep them from creating any clear chances. Spurs have often struggled against teams playing deep this season, and it looked likely to be another frustrating afternoon for Andre Villas-Boas' men.

Tottenham's confidence had appeared to manifest itself in arrogance at times, and a simple failure to effectively press cost them a second goal after the break, as El-Hadji Diouf once again was able to free a striker tthrough on goal, this time Ross McCormack, and the Scot made full use of his two-footedness to cut inside Steven Caulker and curl home a finish to delight the home fans further. 2-0 to Leeds and Tottenham were in real trouble.

Clint Dempsey was struggling in his role as a lone striker, and should have cancelled out McCormack's goal immediately but missed an absolute sitter from six yards after being picked out by Aaron Lennon. However, the American soon reduced the deficit with a finish worthy of any number 9, getting on the end of a Gareth Bale cross after the Welshman went on a good run down the left to plant a header into the back of the net.

Leeds were reliant on a moment of fortune to keep their lead afterwards as Benoit Assou-Ekotto seized on a mistake from Diouf to attack the Leeds area, only to be brought down by a Sam Byram body-check which the officials failed to award as a foul.

Spurs were incensed by the decision, and continued to attack, Gareth Bale putting on a fine display as the game drew on by gliding past Byram and sending in an excellent cross which the Leeds defence dealt with, before the home side almost secured the win by counter-attacking at speed, Brad Friedel keeping out Ross McCormack's finish from a tight angle.

If Tottenham hoped their goal would give them a boost and make the home side start to waver, they were wrong - if anything, Spurs looked worse after the goal and Leeds looked resilient even as they began to deploy time-wasting tactics. Tottenham were unable to create another chance for themselves, and the final whistle brought a frustrating afternoon to a close in which Leeds gained a deserved victory. For Tottenham, the familiar problems are beginning to look more problematic every week.

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