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Spurs v Leicester, 03.10.99

FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 3RD OCTOBER, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (2) LEICESTER CITY 3 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Iversen (2), 25, 34

Leicester scorers:-
Izzet (2, 1 pen ), 24 (pen), 68
Taggart, 76

Referee:- G. Barber

Attendance:- 35,591

Teams:-

Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Young ( sub Vega, 72 ), Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood ( capt. ), Ginola ( sub Nielsen, 70 ); Armstrong, Iversen

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Edinburgh, Clemence

Booked:- Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Nielsen

Leicester ( 3-5-2 ):- Flowers; Elliott ( capt. ), Taggart, Gilchrist ( sub, Marshall, 67 ); Impey, Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Guppy; Heskey, Cottee

Subs not used:- Arphexad (GK); Zagorakis, Oakes, Fenton

Booked:- Lennon

It was a bad day at the office for Spurs, as their league hoodoo against Leicester continues. The last time Spurs beat them in the league was March 1995, when Tottenham were challenging for Europe on the back of a fine win in the FA Cup at Anfield. As a result of this defeat, Spurs have slipped back to mid-table anonymity in tenth place, and they will have to play far better than this, if they are to achieve George Graham's target of a top six placing. Neutrals, and the Leicester support will have enjoyed this game, which became very open after a tight start, but by the end of the game the Spurs support was baying for Alan Sugar to "get your cheque-book out", as they could see that towards the end Leicester looked more likely to add to their total, rather than concede.

Spurs played some attractive football at times, with an inspired Ginola at the helm in the first half. I have to say that I was worried every time the ball came into our area though, as the defence looked unconvincing against the strength of Heskey, and the penetrating runs from midfield by the likes of Izzet and Lennon. Referee Graham Barber will come in for some stick as he awarded a penalty against Luke Young, when a) it was debatable whether he had in fact fouled Heskey, b) if it was a foul, it was outside the area, and c) Mr Barber was on the other side of the filed when he gave a decision that the linesman did not spot. The referee also obstructed Tim Sherwood in the passage of play that led to Leicester's equaliser.

Steffen Freund took a heavy knock from the kick-off, but soon re-emerged, and lasted the game. Ginola was very impactive over the first quarter of an hour, and he fired in an early cross into no-man's land, which Armstrong just failed to reach. Ginola and Taricco then combined for a fine cross field shot, which bounced out to Sherwood on the edge of the box. Sherwood lifted a fine curled shot high towards the corner of the goal, but Tim Flowers made the first of several great saves to force a corner.

A Leonhardsen shot was deflected just wide, and from the resulting corner, Steffen Freund had a powerful shot kicked over the bar by a defender. The other Steffen - Iversen got in on the action with a header just going wide after a Carr cross.

Having failed to score from these early efforts, Spurs then let the Leicester midfield take control, and a Heskey "goal" headed home from a corner was disallowed due to Tony Cottee impeding Walker on the line. Walker was soon under pressure again from Heskey, as he struggled to clear another cross off "Bruno's" head. The Spurs goalie was in action again, as he held a powerful low Elliott free kick mid-way through the first half.

Then came the penalty decision. Heskey powered towards the right side of the area, and Luke Young tackled. Referee Barber showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and the Spurs protests were in vain. Freund even graphically pointed to the spot a yard outside the area, where he adjudged the infringement took place, but to no avail. Izzet made no mistake from the spot, firing the ball low to Walker's right.

Spurs' depression was short-lived however, as they equalised straight from the kick-off. Leonhardsen forced his way into the box, and shot low to Flowers' right. Though he parried, Iversen was on hand to capitalise with an easy finish.

Spurs took the lead after 34 minutes. A superb cross from Ginola from the left was met by an Armstrong flying header. Again, Flowers did well to save, but again Iversen picked up the left-overs for an even easier task to score his fifth goal of the season.

A Ginola cross-shot missed attack and defence, and went for a throw, then after a good build up, a Freund cracker was magnificently saved by Flowers. At the other end, Lennon put Cottee through, and Ian Walker did well to save at the veteran striker's feet.

Having been booked for an earlier contretemps with Leonhardsen, Lennon might consider himself lucky not to be sent off for a very late foul on the same player just before half time. From the resulting free kick, taken by Ginola, Perry headed just wide.

After making Spurs second goal, Ginola seemed to aggravate his calf strain, and it was debatable whether he would appear after the interval, but he did return. Spurs started this period strongly, with some fine one-touch midfield passing. Taricco was defending well at the other end, as he headed over a Taggart header that was goalward bound.

Leonhardsen and Armstrong combined well on the right, for Armstrong to put a dangerous cross just in front of Sherwood. Spurs had chance to seal the game after 64 minutes, when Armstrong put Iversen through. Steff placed his shot carefully, but with half power. Flowers, at full stretch, just got a touch on the ball, which took ages to roll past the post.

Leicester reverted to 4-4-2, when they replaced Gilchrist with attacker Marshall, but it was little Muzzy Izzet who equalised after 68 minutes, when he ghosted in at the far post to meet a Guppy cross. This was the build up that followed the "obstruction" by the referee. Whilst they were obviously caught on the hop, Spurs allowed Lennon too much room in the middle, and it was probably this goal that led to Graham replacing Ginola with Nielsen, much to the disdain of the home crowd, who regularly chanted Ginola's name for the rest of the game.

The crowd was incensed ( including me ! ), when it appeared that Ramon Vega was being sent on for Stephen Carr. Carr obediently made his way towards the touch line, at which point Stewart Houston realised that the electronic board was not showing the 1 that should have beckoned Luke Young off the field. All was rectified, and Vega got a rapturous welcome for his first appearance since the Wembley victory in March this year.

Stephen Carr did not seem to get forward as much in the second half, as the first, but he showed brilliant determination to win the ball, in providing a cross for Iversen that was just a touch too high.

The game was won for Leicester after 76 minutes. the ball seemed to ping-pong around the Spurs area, and the loose ball reached an unmarked Taggart on the left. His low shot beat Walker as it squeezed inside the post. Another Carr cross reached Nielsen in the six-yard box, but somehow, the ball was cleared, and Spurs' last chance was thwarted.

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