Leeds United 1 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur. Leeds United were relegated from the Premier League as they lost their final game of the season to Tottenham Hotspur.
The Whites’ fans turned on both their team and the club’s owners as the West Yorkshire side’s three-year top-flight stay came to a meek and pitiful end at Elland Road.
Needing to win to stand any chance of preserving their Premier League status, Leeds trailed inside the opening two minutes through Harry Kane’s excellent finish.
Pedro Porro then doubled Tottenham’s lead when he fired in from a tight angle early in the second half.
Jack Harrison made it 2-1 to give Leeds brief hope of pulling off an unlikely escape, but Kane’s 30th league goal of the season restored Spurs’ two-goal advantage.
Lucas Moura marked his farewell appearance by scoring a fine solo goal in injury time, although Tottenham’s first top-flight win outside London since October was not enough to prevent them missing out on European qualification for the first time since they finished eighth in 2008-09.
For Leeds, however, the damage is far worse.
Chairman and majority owner Andrea Radrizzani was not at the game but was told in no uncertain terms to sell the club by the Leeds supporters, who chanted “sack the board” during the latter stages.
And, after a pitch invader had been hauled away by half a dozen stewards 15 minutes from time, they chanted “he’s got more fight than you” in a damning assessment of their team – with further songs in support of Marcelo Bielsa, the beloved coach who returned Leeds to the top flight in 2020 but was sacked last season.
With uncertainty over a proposed takeover by the San Francisco 49ers owners, who already have a 44% stake in the club, and Radrizzani’s holding company buying a stake in Sampdoria, who have just been relegated from Serie A, there is a lack of clarity at the club that needs to be dealt with.
The last time Leeds went down, in 2004, it took 16 years before they came back. The time before that, in 1982, it was eight. They can only hope nothing similar awaits them on this occasion.
As it turned out, results elsewhere meant Leeds could not have changed their starting position of second-bottom no matter what they did in this game.
However, that does not excuse some inept play – with one particular moment, with eight minutes remaining of the first half, summing up a thoroughly depressing season.
Despite conceding so early, the home fans had remained behind their team, albeit with a sense of humour around the position Leeds were in.
They had built up a head of steam and forced a corner on their right.
A side containing six defenders, including Robin Koch, who was playing in central midfield, loaded the penalty area. Leeds opted to go short, the initial pass was not accurate enough, the intended recipient slipped as he tried to reach it, a Tottenham player intervened and the visitors headed to the other end of the field on a dangerous counter.
“That’s why we’re going down” was the initial response from the Leeds supporters, followed by “Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again” – the song opponents of the West Yorkshire side like to bait them with.
It was not for the first time, or the last, Whites boss Sam Allardyce had his head in his hands.
It was all so avoidable but those basic mistakes have scarred the latter part of the season and explain why Leeds are heading for the second tier just 12 months after they thought a last-day escape at Brentford would serve as the trigger for significant improvement, on and off the pitch.
Harrison did provide some hope with his second-half goal but he is one of the players whose future is now in doubt.
There is air of toxicity around Elland Road. And, when striker Georginio Rutter, who has started once since his £36m move to the club in January, threw his shirt into the crowd as the players slowly made their way around the pitch at the end, it was thrown straight back.
Yet another astonishing season for Kane has not been given the credit it deserves because of Erling Haaland’s exploits for Manchester City.
However, unlike Tottenham, the England skipper has ended the campaign in phenomenal form.
Since Spurs’ Champions League exit to AC Milan in March, Kane has played 14 times for club and country and scored 14 goals.
Sunday’s brace was delivered with its usual clinical efficiency.
The first came after Leeds inexplicably left him unmarked as they swarmed towards Son Heung-min on the edge of the area.
Then, after Kane had set Porro up for his low drive into the corner to double the visitors’ lead, he kept his nerve to drive home Spurs’ third from a narrow angle.
It took him on to 30 for the season, equalling his best return. On only seven occasions, including this season, has the eventual Golden Boot winner scored more.
The 29-year-old is about to enter the final season of the six-year contract that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has, so far, refused to consider letting him get out of, no matter what fee is offered.
The big question now is whether Levy, or indeed Kane – realising he can leave for nothing next summer – decides now is the time to sever ties.
source – BBC