Football: Kewell sends Graham packing

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Leeds United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0

YOUR PAST frequently trips you up and George Graham was sent flying last night when his former team comfortably defeated his present side, ending a 16-game unbeaten run in he process. The result, you can say without risk of contradiction, was thoroughly enjoyed by the Elland Road crowd.

"Judas, Judas what's the score?" the home supporters jeered, a question that needed no answer, Alan Smith, with his seventh goal of the season, and Harry Kewell embellishing an impressive performance that had strong undercurrents of revenge.

Not just because Graham deserted Elland Road to become manager at White Hart Lane last autumn but because Tottenham also removed Leeds from the FA Cup last month. The result reinforces Leeds' fourth place in the Premiership and encourages hopes that David O'Leary's first season as manager will climax with Uefa Cup qualification.

Tottenham, for whom David Ginola was the main source of attacking intent, had chances, particularly in the first half, but could not argue with the outcome because the home team were consistently superior. "We got our just rewards," Graham said. "Leeds looked sharper and hungrier."

Graham, inevitably, was the focus of attention but another old face was present, David Batty, who was making his second appearance in a Leeds shirt since his pounds 4.4m move from Newcastle and, true to form, he made his mark by being cautioned after 14 minutes.

If that was predictable what followed a minute later was not and Sherwood was fortunate not to be sent off. The former Blackburn captain made a clumsy challenge on Lee Bowyer inches short of the penalty area and then stepped on his stricken opponent when he could have avoided him. The referee had noted the first flying foot but not the second and flourished a yellow card when a red would have been more appropriate.

Ginola provided an inch-perfect cross from the right after 32 minutes. Chris Armstrong lost his marker, rose impressively seven yards out - and missed the ball.

Sherwood also failed to make the most of another Ginola pass heading too close to Martyn just before half-time but by then Leeds had taken the lead. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink flicked on to Kewell whose shot was blocked by Ian Walker and rose in an inviting arc to Smith who volleyed acrobatically into the net.

The second half saw Graham move from the stands to the touchline and allowed Leeds supporters an opportunity to hurl abuse at him. His reaction? He beamed a huge smile and waved at the source of the invective. Clearly rattled then.

Whether his expression survived the next 10 minutes is debatable because Tottenham's defence evaporated twice and if Hasselbaink's control had been better and Alf Inge Haaland had not pulled his shot wide Leeds would have increased their lead.

It merely delayed the inevitable because Leeds got their second after 68 minutes when Smith won a tackle and space for Haaland on the right and his cross was headed by Kewell under Walker's dive.

Leeds United (4-3-1-2): Martyn; Woodgate Wetherall, Radebe, Harte; Bowyer, Batty, Haaland; Kewell; Smith, Hasselbaink. Substitutes not used: Wijnhard, Halle, McPhail, Jones, Robinson (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Young, Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton (Neilsen 75), Sherwood, Freund, Ginola (Sinton, 75); Iverson (Ferdinand, 75), Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Vega, Baardsen (gk).

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe; S Lodge, 85).

Comments