Football: Kewell uses his head to make Spurs think again

Leeds United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
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The Independent Online
IF TOTTENHAM assumed Sunday's win over Bolton was a decisive break for Premiership safety, they may need to think again. This defeat left them five points clear of the relegation places but as they have played two games more than the bottom three the cushion is not as comfortable as it might seem.

There are also grounds for believing that any side that can fail to gain anything from a Leeds team that was understrength and distracted by Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Wolves is in serious trouble. Certainly Tottenham's defence last night rarely rose above being a shambles.

Leeds were dreadful for 45 minutes, wasted numerous chances in the second half and yet still won this match comfortably thanks to Harry Kewell's goal in pre-interval injury time. Not a moment too soon either, as this was only their second success in the League since 20 December.

It was goal amidst a wasteland of mediocrity. David Ginola, a treat to watch even on his bad days, strived for better football but was consistently dragged back by the inadequacies of his colleagues, not least Jurgen Klinsmann.

The German could not convert two chances created for him by Ginola in the first 22 minutes and squandered a ripe opportunity with three minutes to go when he could not make proper contact on Garry Brady's pass. His night rather summed up Tottenham's

In the last 20 minutes you would have expected the visitors to have pounded forward in search of something to take back to London, but they fizzled out lamely, capitulating almost every time Leeds struck back at them. "We had lots of chances," George Graham, the Leeds manager, said "and in the end should have won by three goals.''

Few would dispute the Leeds manager's analysis although, his Tottenham counterpart, Christian Gross did. "We had the better of the first half and over the 90 minutes we were unlucky not to get a draw," he said. As they say, football is a game of opinions.

At least no one could dispute the excellence of Leeds' goal. Rod Wallace played a one-two with Lee Bowyer that gave him space on the right flank and his cross went to the far post. Harry Kewell, running hard to get to the area, could easily have made a mess of the chance but he used his head in more ways than one, directing the ball low into the corner of the net.

Sadly, it was the only truly lucid moment of the night.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Maybury, Molenaar, Hiden, Harte; Halle, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell; Wallace (Matthews, 88), Hasselbaink (McPhail, 88). Substitutes not used: Jones, Jackson, Beeney (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Bardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Wilson (Fenn, 82); Fox, Howells (Saib, 59), Berti (Brady, 71), Nielsen; Klinsmann, Ginola. Substitutes not used: Calderwood, Grodas (gk).

Referee: P Alcock (Sevenoaks).