Harry Kane strikes late as Tottenham slip past Brighton
Harry Kane was the hero once again, scoring the late winner to hand Tottenham a 2-1 victory over free-flowing Brighton in north London on Saturday.
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The victory keeps Tottenham (53 points - 5th place) just three points behind Newcastle and Manchester United in the Premier League’s top-four race, though both the 3rd- and 4th-place sides have a game in hand at this point. Brighton (46 points), meanwhile, have slipped down to 7th place (and out of the Europa League spots), but they are the side with two games in hand on 6th-place Aston Villa.
Brighton controlled play, possession and the majority of scoring chances throughout the first half, but Tottenham were first on the scoreboard courtesy of Son Heung-min’s 100th Premier League goal (7th of the season). And, what a goal it was. The South Korean superstar cut in from the left wing and went past Joel Veltman before uncorking a curler outside — and then back inside — of the far post.
Eventually, Brighton were rewarded for their endeavors, with the equalizer coming from Lewis Dunk (on his 200th PL appearance) in the 34th minute. No one in a white shirt so much as looked at the big, burly center back, let alone marked him, as he raced around the back side of Spurs’ defense to get on the end of Solly March’s corner kick and head it home for 1-1.
Danny Welbeck put Brighton ahead with a deflected strike in the 55th minute, but video revealed that the ball came off the arm of Alexis Mac Allister as it made its way toward goal.
Five minutes later, Cristian Stellini and Roberto De Zerbi were both sent off after coaches and substitutes congregated between the managers’ boxes. Stellini and De Zerbi appeared to be at odds with one another before the game kicked off, and the fiery interactions were hardly stifled once the action got underway.
[ MORE: Stellini, De Zerbi react to red cards ]
Late on, there were, for all intents and purposes, just over 10 minutes left in Tottenham’s top-four chase, when Kane got on the end of a cut-back ball from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and hammered it through a sea of neon orange shirts and shorts. With his 23rd PL goal of the season, Kane is now five behind Erling Haaland atop the Golden Boot chart.
Late drama finally favors Tottenham
Spurs managed to drop a combined four points against Southampton and Everton in their last two games, despite holding leads going into the 92nd and 90th minutes, respectively. Kane’s winner came a bit earlier than the late goals Tottenham have shipped in recent weeks, but it was met with a giant exhale and sense of relief nonetheless, as another game they looked like giving away, finally took a sharp, late turn in their favor.
Stars of the show
De Zerbi reaction (Comments from both bosses here)
“I’m used to always respecting everyone inside of the pitch and outside of the pitch and I don’t like when the people don’t respect me,” De Zerbi said, also from football.london. “I always respect everyone, especially the coaches. I can answer for me. Not for him. Yes [I feel he didn’t respect me]. It was a personal situation and I told him my idea. Not bad words, just my idea.
Spurs’ uphill chase for Champions League qualification will continue next Saturday (10 am ET), when they host relegating-threatened Bournemouth. Brighton, at the same time, will head to Stamford Bridge to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
How to watch Tottenham vs Brighton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10 am ET, SaturdayOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & star players
Cristian Stellini remains in charge of Tottenham on an interim basis following Antonio Conte’s departure, and his return to the top seat couldn’t have gone much worse than it did on Monday. Up a goal and a man with just two minutes of regular time (plus stoppage) remaining, Lucas Moura was sent off on 88 minutes and Michael Keane sent a laser past Hugo Lloris two minutes later to give relegation-fighting Everton a 1-1 draw. Harry Kane’s 22 goals are second to only Erling Haaland (28) in the Golden Boot race, but it will be another trophy-less season — and increasingly likely, a Champions League-less one to follow — for Kane, who will turn 30 this summer and whose contract has just has just two years remaining.
With a win on Saturday, Brighton would move within three points of overtaking Spurs for 5th, while still having the pair of games in hand to play. As things stand, Roberto De Zerbi’s side holds all the cards, currently two points above 7th-place Aston Villa, who have also played two more games the Brighton thus far. Wingers Koaru Mitoma and Solly March (7 goals each) have emerged as breakout stars since Leandro Trossard departed for Arsenal in January, and now 18-year-old Evan Ferguson is making a name for himself with four goals in his last seven appearances (all competitions) and four goals in the PL this season, including the winner against Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Rodrigo Bentancur (torn ACL - out for season), Yves Bissouma (foot), Emerson Royal (knee), Ben Davies (hamstring), Lucas Moura (suspension), Ryan Sessegnon (thigh)
Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Tariq Lamptey (knee), Jeremy Sarmiento (ankle), Adam Lallana (thigh - out for season), Jakub Moder (knee)