By Martyn Herman
LONDON -Sergio Reguilon’s first goal for Tottenham Hotspur earned his side a 2-1 victory over Leeds United in manager Antonio Conte’s first home Premier League game in charge on Sunday.
The Spanish left back tucked home a rebound in the 69th minute to seal a comeback win for Tottenham who were abysmal in the first half and trailed to Daniel James’s opener.
Tottenham were booed off at halftime but whatever words of wisdom Conte offered inspired quite a transformation with the hosts vastly improved after the interval.
After Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both denied equalisers by the woodwork, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalised with a left-footed finish from the edge of the area in the 58th minute as the hosts began to dominate.
Reguilon then sealed Tottenham’s first win in four league games to lift them above Manchester United into seventh place with 19 points from 12 games.
An injury-hit Leeds team ran out of steam in the second half and defeat left them one place and two points above the relegation zone with 11 points.
Tottenham’s last Premier League home game was a 3-0 defeat by Manchester United after which they were booed off and Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked after 17 matches at the helm.
The contrast could not have been more striking after the final whistle on Sunday with a fired-up Conte hugging every one of his players and fist pumping to the home fans who he had demanded more volume from in the final stages.
A Spurs victory had not looked likely in a lacklustre first half in which they offered nothing.
The atmosphere went flat as Leeds bossed the opening stages, going within a whisker of an early goal when Stuart Dallas thumped a drive just wide.
There was little goalmouth action to warm the fans on a chilly afternoon with Leeds again going close as Adam Forshaw fired wide.
The visitors deservedly took the lead with a goal that would have angered Conte. Right back Emerson Royal was shrugged off too easily by Jack Harrison whose low cross was met by former Manchester United winger James to tuck in his first Leeds goal.
Tottenham were unrecognisable in the second half.
Showing more passion they were almost level when Kane’s shot was parried against the post by Leeds keeper Illan Meslier before Son’s deflected volley struck the crossbar.
Tottenham were rewarded just before the hour when Lucas Moura did well to keep the ball alive under pressure from Meslier and picked out Hojbjerg to sweep a shot into the corner with the keeper out of position.
It was largely one-way traffic after that and the winner came when Eric Dier’s free kick deflected off the Leeds wall against the post and Reguilon was alert to stroke home.
“The first half was bad for us, also Leeds started really good,” Reguilon said. “At halftime the gaffer said we have to go with everything. We had a great mentality to win the match.”