Leeds United's best recent visit to Tottenham Hotspur was not so sweet for Lord Sugar

Mark Viduka found himself inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame this week.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 4:45 pm

The striker was one of Leeds United’s modern-day greats, scoring 72 times in 166 appearances during a four-year stay at Elland Road.

One of those outings came in United’s last victory at tomorrow’s hosts, Tottenham Hotspur, Viduka dazzling as David O’Leary’s side left with a 2-1 win back on Saturday, February 24 2001, ending Tottenham’s unbeaten home record in chairman Sir Alan Sugar’s last game at the helm.

The contest presented Whites manager O’Leary against his former boss at Arsenal in George Graham, whom O’Leary then followed to Elland Road as Graham’s assistant manager before Graham left for Spurs in October 1998.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

DECISIVE STRIKE: Lee Bowyer, centre, is lifted aloft after firing home what proved the winning goal for Leeds United in the 2-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur of February 2001. Picture by John Stillwell/PA Wire.

Nearly three and a half years later O’Leary’s Whites had just booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, heading to Spurs on the back of a 4-1 win at Anderlecht.

Spurs lined up unbeaten in their last nine games – but having failed to net in seven of them.

Les Ferdinand and Serhiy Rebrov began upfront against Leeds as Steffen Iversen returned from four months out with a knee injury as a substitute.

O’Leary was forced into making two changes due to captain Lucas Rabebe and Alan Smith both being suspended, meaning Bowyer and Robbie Keane came into the side, Inter Milan loanee Keane having been ineligible to face Anderlecht.

The clash marked a last game in charge of Spurs for chairman Sugar, whose side were fortunate not to concede an early penalty after Sol Campbell chopped down Viduka.

Leeds impressed from the start. After Les Ferdinand had fired wide for Spurs Viduka’s sublime flick then played in Keane, whose low shot was tipped wide by a future Whites keeper in Neil Sullivan.

Viduka then flicked a header wide from an Ian Harte cross and Danny Mills was the next Whites player to go close, Sullivan tipping his shot from range over the bar.

But it was Spurs who went ahead in the 33rd minute when a poor clearance from Rio Ferdinand fell to Rebrov. He played in Les Ferdinand, the striker rounding Nigel Martyn before slotting home his eighth goal of the campaign.

The Spurs striker had earlier sent a header just wide, and Ferdinand then sent a powerful dipping volley just wide from nearly 30 yards out.

Back came Leeds, Keane squandering a good chance when firing straight at Sullivan after being played through by Bowyer.

But Bowyer was causing chaos and the Whites midfielder was nudged over by Gary Doherty on the stroke of half time for a Leeds penalty, Harte slamming the spot kick into the bottom right corner to draw Leeds level by the break.

O’Leary then brought on Harry Kewell for Eirik Bakke during the interval, Kewell having had trouble with his Achilles and calf.

Soon after his introduction, Kewell supplied a pull-back from the left byline which picked out Viduka, his shot being somehow scrambled away by Sullivan. Bowyer then saw two follow-up attempts cleared off the line by Stephen Clemence.

In a thrilling game, Spurs went close again as Rebrov fired just wide from 30 yards out.

But it was Leeds who bagged the winning goal when Bowyer played a short corner before working his way to the edge of the box – from where the midfielder sent in a bobbling, low shot which Viduka let run through his legs en route to beating Sullivan.

Spurs threw everything at Leeds in search of an equaliser, a firm challenge from Dom Matteo helping to keep out Luke Young and Tim Sherwood sending a header from a corner over the bar.

Graham then threw on Iversen and a young Matthew Etherington but Leeds held firm under pressure and almost bagged a third goal on the counter when the superb Viduka’s rising shot was tipped over by Sullivan.

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins