Tottenham Hotspur vs Leeds United. Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur StadiumAttendance61,667.
Report and free match highlights as Spurs produce another second-half salvo to snatch victory over Leeds; Jesse Marsch's team led three times in the match but Spurs rallied to go into the World Cup break on a high
Saturday 12 November 2022 21:55, UK
Rodrigo Bentancur scored twice in the final 10 minutes to snatch a pulsating 4-3 victory for Tottenham over Leeds United.
Jesse Marsch's team led three times in a richly exciting encounter but Spurs defied their relentless fixture schedule by rallying to snatch the points.
Crysencio Summerville set the tone for a bonkers game by opening the scoring on 10 minutes - his fourth goal in four games - but Harry Kane hammered home a leveller. Rodrigo then restored Leeds' advantage before Ben Davies struck just after the break. Leeds came again and thought they had won it with 14 minutes left when Rodrigo's crisp finish found the far corner.
However, Spurs had one last push in them and Bentancur, who scored the winner at Bournemouth two weeks ago, was on hand to score twice in a mesmerising two minutes to send Spurs third and into the World Cup break on a massive high. Leeds, who had Tyler Adams sent off in the closing stages for a second booking, had no answer.
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Lenglet (7), Dier (6), Davies (7), Royal (5), Hojbjerg (7), Bentancur (8), Perisic (7), Richarlison (7), Kulusevski (9), Kane (7)
Subs: Doherty (7), Bissouma (7)
Leeds: Meslier (5), Kristensen (7), Koch (7), Cooper (6), Struijk (7), Adams (7), Roca (7), Gnonto (6), Aaronson (8), Summerville (8), Rodrigo (8)
Subs: Greenwood (6), Gelhardt (6), Joseph (6), Ayling (6)
Player of the match: Dejan Kulusevski
Leeds played as expected with good energy and spark in the early stages and Spurs conceded the first goal in a game for the eight time in a row when Summerville scampered behind Eric Dier to finish past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs always carried a threat though, mostly through the returning Dejan Kulusevski, and it was Kane that skilfully hammered them level to score on his 350th appearance for the club.
Marsch's team kept charging forward at every opportunity though with Brenden Aaronson a driving force in behind Rodrigo. They went into the break in front when a recycled corner dropped to Rodrigo, who half volleyed a finish through Lloris.
Second-half salvos have been a regular theme in Tottenham's season and they staged another one when Davies was on hand to smash home from the edge of the area after Kane's effort had been blocked away. Yet again though, Leeds regained control of the match, pinning Tottenham back and Rodrigo sent the away end into delirium on 78 minutes. Bentancur wanted a foul in midfield but Leeds played on and worked in the Spanish striker, who produced a brilliant finish into the far corner.
Spurs looked to be heading into the season break having lost four of their last five Premier League games but they produced one last push to steal the points. Bentancur made it 3-3 when firing home via a deflection off Luke Ayling before the noise of the crowd roared Spurs straight back onto the attack from kick off.
A fantastic run from Kulusevski caused chaos in the Leeds defence and he found the perfect final ball to Bentancur to slide home from close range. Comeback completed. Leeds floored.
Antonio Conte speaking about goalscorer Kane's current fitness levels after a hefty recent workload: "He's arriving at the World Cup in the best physical and mental condition. I think he feels a lot of responsibility as he is the captain of England. I consider England one of the best teams in the world and one of the candidates to have an important tournament. I wish the best for Harry and England. As Italy aren't playing, I can be a supporter of England."
Conte on Tottenham's ability to turn games around: "Maybe in a lot of games we were losing and then we came back. For this reason, I think the positive things are that we showed great character, great desire and great will not to give up and to believe, to believe in the win. I try every day to transfer this concept that we have to start the game and then until the end we need to fight and see what happened. Never give up, this is our mantra. This is the positive side.
"Negative side, to concede three goals is never good. A team that wants to be competitive, to concede three goals is never positive. For this reason, if you want to reach a good result you need to find stability."
Leeds boss Jesse Marsch: "I'd say we've encapsulated our 16-game season in one match.
"Moments that were really good and really on top of things and in control. And then moments where we're vulnerable and make easy mistakes that at this level you can't make because you get punished. So obviously, I always try to look at the positives and and I really like a lot of the things that that we're able to accomplish and certainly the men in the team. But it's just a lot of moments when we're in control of matches, we can't seem to stay on top of the match."
Tottenham have long been regarded, perhaps lazily, as a one-man team. When Harry Kane's out, they have no chance, is the common perception.
That is no longer the case.
Well, perhaps Spurs are still a one-man team but that man is no longer specifically Kane. It's Dejan Kulusevski.
He has now started seven Premier League games this season, Spurs are unbeaten in those matches, winning five and scoring on average 2.9 goals per 90 minutes. Without him in the starting XI, Spurs have lost four of those matches and the average goals per 90 drops to 1.4.
The flying Swede missed 10 games across all competitions after suffering a hamstring issue whilst on international duty in September. And Spurs really missed him. He took just two minutes off the bench during his comeback to supply an assist for Kane in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend - a game Spurs were unfortunate to lose. But he was fit to start against Leeds.
And boy did he deliver in what was a whacky 4-3 game involving two teams who had little stability in key areas of the pitch. Spurs carry such a greater sense of danger and directness with Kulusevski on the pitch. He only has one thought in his mind: go forward at pace and create, create, create. Against Leeds, he made 12 total dribbles over the 90 minutes - that's a phenomenal number. No player has made more in a single game this season. From those dribbles he created four chances for his teammates - no player on the pitch created more and of course there was the all-important assist for the winning goal, scored by Rodrigo Bentancur.
That's 13 assists since joining on January 31. And when assessing his assists per-game ratio, his return is the best in the Premier League at an assist every 62 minutes - a ratio better than assist king Kevin De Bruyne's. He's that good.
Manchester City visit Leeds on Wednesday December 28 at 8pm after the World Cup break while Brentford host Tottenham on Boxing Day at 12.30pm.