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FA Cup: Leeds United 2 Tottenham 1

Leeds United have progressed to the FA Cup fifth round after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Tottenham at Elland Road on Sunday.

Neil Warnock’s side took the lead in the first half thanks to a goal from Luke Varney after poor defending from Spurs and they doubled their lead just into the second half.

Ross McCormack got the goal in spectacular fashion in the 51st minute, and although Spurs pulled one back through Clint Dempsey seven minutes later, the hosts held on for a famous win.

The hosts started well as they pressed and hassled Spurs in midfield, but it was the visitors who should have opened the scoring in the first few minutes as Gylfi Sigurdsson headed Jan Vertonghen’s cross straight into the arms of Jamie Ashdown.

If Spurs did not already regret that miss, they did a few minutes later as Kyle Naughton and Steven Caulker both failed to clear Michael Brown’s hit-and-hope pass, allowing Varney to march towards goal and place the ball in the bottom far corner of the net.

The visitors were struggling to create chances throughout the first half but Gareth Bale should have done better when he got in behind Aidan White and shot at Jamie Ashdown, with the opportunity to chip the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper presenting itself on a plate.

Goal-scorer Varney soon had another chance as he linked up well with El-Hadji Diouf down the left and then cut inside to shoot, but his effort sailed well over as Leeds took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

Things started familiarly in the second half as Spurs looked the more likely to score the next goal, but Leeds soon caught their visitors on the counterattack as Diouf and McCormack linked up well, with the Scot latching on to a ball over the defence before cutting inside Caulker and placing a marvellous shot into the top far corner of the goal.

Leeds’ two-goal lead lasted no more than seven minutes as the quiet Bale burst to life down the left, keeping the ball from Paul Green and Sam Bryam before crossing, and Dempsey glanced the ball into the far side of the goal with an excellent header.

A few minutes later, the hosts really should have re-opened the two-goal lead as Diouf and McCormack combined again and a slip from Vertonghen saw the Scot break free again, but when one-on-one with Brad Friedel, the goalkeeper palmed the shot round the far post.

A fantastic long-ball from Benoit Assou-Ekotto played substitute Jordan Obika through in the dying minutes, but the youngster under pressure from Lees and Peltier put his shot well over from a great position and Leeds held on for the win.

Sun 27 January, 2013
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