With two teams so evenly matched, a competitive encounter was always on the cards, but what unfolded after half-time will live in the memories of those who were there for a long time to come.
Almost inevitably David Ginola was the star turn. He scored one, which was spectacular enough, but could have had a sparkling hat-trick but for the woodwork and the fingertips of Nigel Martyn. As it was, even he was upstaged in the finishing stakes by Darren Anderton's first goal in open play for Spurs for almost three years.
But Leeds played their part in a great spectacle and were unlucky not to have pulled at least one goal back in the closing stages in equally eye- catching fashion. "Two wonderful strikes beat us," said David O'Leary, the beaten manager, "but I was proud of my team. They played some wonderful stuff."
As it is, though, Spurs will go on to meet Barnsley at Oakwell for a place in the last four, and the prospect of two Wembley finals in George Graham's first season as manager is becoming ever more realistic.
"It was a great game, wonderful entertainment," Graham said. "Leeds didn't come to defend and it took us a while to get going. But there's a great team spirit here now and there's a lot more quality to come. We're not going to be a pushover for anyone now."
If the first 45 minutes were unrelenting, it turned out to be little more than a scene-setter for the real show. Steffen Iversen came closest in the first half, seeing his powerful shot from a tight angle parried on to the post and away by Martyn. He also flashed a couple of headers inches over the bar, as did Sol Campbell, all from Anderton crosses. At the other end Harry Kewell went close with a stinging drive that passed just wide of Ian Walker's post.
Les Ferdinand and David Wetherall failed to make it to half time after a fearful clash of heads which left both players suffering from concussion and each was taken to hospital. Chris Armstrong and Gunnar Halle took their places.
Ginola had been a largely peripheral figure before the break, but he wasted little time in changing that as he lit up the match with a piece of individual brilliance even he can rarely have surpassed. Picking up the ball 30 yards from goal on the Spurs right, he ran across the face of the penalty area, past defender after defender, before unleashing a left-footed shot from an impossible-looking angle that Martyn somehow managed to tip on to the far post.
If Tottenham were wondering how to follow that they need not have worried, as just five minutes later Anderton came up trumps. The England international, receiving possession from a long cross-field pass, found himself with space to run into in the inside right channel but instead he struck a thunderous drive from nearly 35-yards which flew past Martyn and on to the post again - but this time the ball bounced the right way for Spurs.
Not wishing to be outdone, Ginola hit the post again with another rasping left-footer but, just as his frustration might have begun to get the better of him, at last his goal arrived in typically spectacular fashion. A Tim Sherwood cross bounced high into the air off Jonathan Woodgate's legs and there was Ginola to volley, right-footed, triumphantly past poor Martyn from 25 yards.
Even then, in the face of such an onslaught, Leeds had their chances to get back in to the game. First Kewell drew the best out of Walker in the Tottenham goal with a fine strike from distance and then Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink thumped a post with an equally powerful attempt 13 minutes from time.
For Leeds, though, it was simply not to be and, as Ginola walked slowly off the pitch, milking the applause having being substituted in the final minute, there was little doubt whose night it was.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Vega (Young, 78), Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton, Sherwood, Freund, Ginola (Sinton, 90); Iversen, Ferdinand (Armstrong, 25). Substitutes not used: Nielsen, Baardsen (gk).
Leeds United (5-3-2): Martyn; Wetherall (Halle, 25), Radebe, Harte, Woodgate, Haaland; Hopkin, Bowyer, Korsten (Smith, 70); Kewell, Hasselbaink. Substitutes not used: Granville, Jones, Robinson (gk).
Referee: N Barry (South Humberside).Reuse content