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Spurs crush Leeds to keep Premier League top-four hopes alive


Leeds (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Tottenham hammered Leeds 4-0 on Saturday to put a smile back on the face of Antonio Conte and plunge Marcelo Bielsa’s team deeper into trouble towards the foot of the Premier League.

The visitors, who had lost four of their previous five league matches, were 3-0 up at half-time after goals from Matt Doherty, new recruit Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane.

A late strike from Son Heung-min following a pinpoint pass from Kane completed the rout at Elland Road.

The win lifts Tottenham to seventh in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with a game in hand as they bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

It also brightened the mood of Spurs boss Conte, who insisted on Friday he was committed to his job after comments following their midweek loss at Burnley had cast doubt on his future at the club.

Leeds enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first half and had an early chance to take the lead but Pascal Struijk’s header flew just wide.

Spurs took the lead in the 10th minute with a breakaway goal.

Harry Winks set Ryan Sessegnon free on the left and his centre was perfect for Doherty to arrive at the far post and slam home.

Five minutes later it was 2-0. Kulusevski did not appear to pose a danger when he had a ball by the corner flag but he wriggled free, exchanged passes with Doherty and beat Illan Meslier at his near post.

The home side went agonisingly close when defender Robin Koch hit the post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.

But Spurs, looking sharp on the break, were 3-0 up in the 27th when Kane passed the ball into the net from a tight angle following a delightful ball over the top from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

– Kane and Son –

Tottenham were again more dangerous side after the break and went close to extending their lead on multiple occasions.

Leeds should have pulled one back with about 15 minutes to go when Hugo Lloris flew out of his goal but fluffed his clearance.

Stuart Dallas dribbled towards an open goal but took far too long and his eventual shot was blocked. 

Son made it 4-0 in the 85th minute, finishing smartly after a pin-point pass from Kane.

It meant Kane and Son have combined for a Premier League goal for the 37th time, overtaking Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the pair who have assisted one another for the most goals in the competition’s history.

Leeds, in their second season back in the Premier League, remain three points above the relegation zone but have played more games than all but one of the teams below them.

Argentine manager Bielsa is stubbornly sticking to his attacking gameplan but time is running out for his team, who have conceded 60 goals in the league this season.

Leeds have also been hit by costly injuries.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips and centre-back Liam Cooper have both been sidelined for long periods, while forward Patrick Bamford has only played one game since September.

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