Swansea 0-2 Tottenham: Fernando Llorente heads in controversial opener against his former club
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 03/01/18 7:53am
Fernando Llorente scored a controversial header on his return to Swansea as Tottenham battled to a 2-0 win in difficult conditions at the Liberty Stadium.
With Harry Kane starting on the bench due to a cold, Llorente capitalised on his first Premier League start for Spurs when meeting Christian Eriksen's cross (12), albeit from an offside position.
Swansea improved after the break, with Mike van der Hoorn hitting the post, but Dele Alli killed the game off with a fortunate second late on (89).
Defeat leaves Swansea rooted to the bottom of the table, while Spurs are now four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand.
Swansea: Fabianski (6), Rangel (6), Van der Hoorn (7), Fernandez (6), Mawson (6), Olsson (6), Carroll (6), Clucas (5), Dyer (5), Sanches (5), Ayew (5)
Subs: Narsingh (7), McBurnie (6), Routledge (6)
Away Team: Lloris (6), Trippier (7), Vertonghen (6), Sanchez (5), Davies (7), Dier (7), Lamela (6), Alli (7), Eriksen (8), Son (6), Llorente (7)
Subs: Wanyama (6), Kane (7), Sissoko (6)
Man of the match: Christian Eriksen
A rain-soaked pitch proved to be problematic in south Wales, but Spurs soon found themselves ahead in contentious circumstances when Llorente headed in after 12 minutes.
Llorente almost followed up his first league goal for Spurs with a second just before the break, but he poked an effort over following another pin-point ball in from Eriksen.
Davinson Sanchez picked up a yellow for an off-the-ball foul on Martin Olsson in the first half, and he was lucky to escape a second booking when bringing down the same player after the break.
There were three Swansea changes with Mike van der Hoorn, Angel Rangel and Nathan Dyer coming in. Llorente was one of four Spurs changes - Danny Rose was out of the squad, while Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies and Erik Lamela were all named in the starting XI.
After Sanchez was hauled off by Mauricio Pochettino, and moments after Kane was introduced, Alli came within inches of scoring Spurs' second, but he could only head wide while under pressure from Van der Hoorn.
Spurs were living dangerously at 1-0, and they needed a last-ditch challenge from Ben Davies on Jordan Ayew and the fortune of seeing Van der Hoorn head against the post to preserve their lead.
However, after Heung-Min Son volleyed narrowly wide, Alli scored the all-important second when receiving a delightful ball from Kane out wide.
It fell kindly for the midfielder after Lukasz Fabianski saved the initial attempt, but after converting the rebound, all three points were secured on a tough evening for Spurs.
- This was Swansea's 11th defeat at the hands of Spurs in the Premier League (P14 W0 D3 L11); their most against any opponent in the competition.
- The Swans have won just one of their last 20 games against "top six" sides in the Premier League (D4 L15), with that win coming just under a year ago against Liverpool (3-2 at Anfield).
- Mauricio Pochettino's side have scored at least two goals in five of their last six Premier League games (18 overall - an average of three per game).
- Spurs have kept consecutive clean sheets away from home in the Premier League for the first time since September, in their first two of the 2017/18 campaign.
Man of the match - Christian Eriksen
While those around him struggled with the playing surface, Eriksen thrived at the Liberty Stadium.
The Dane proved he was still able to create on a wet and windy night when providing the assist for Llorente, while his delivery throughout was exemplary.
The pundit - Graeme Souness
"If you're the Swansea manager, you're looking at all those fortunate moments - they didn't get any tonight.
"The first goal is offside, the second is more of a deflection than anything else, and a sending off for Sanchez could have changed the game.
"All the big decisions went Tottenham's way tonight, but it would be hard to deny them the victory."
Carlos Carvalhal: "I will not talk about the referees. The linesman on the right side apologised. It's part of the game, I make mistakes also, so we understand.
"The coach of Tottenham also made a clever substitution to take their centre-half off, because everybody knows why.
"But let's talk about the game. We played against a strong team, they played very well with a lot of players between the line. With the problems we have, we played with three centre-halves to block the movement of their offensive players."
Mauricio Pochettino: "I think it was difficult for the team and for him [Llorente] to play in these conditions.
"I am happy for him to help the team to achieve three points. When a new player arrives in a team where the dynamic is so clear always it is a struggle to find the possibility to play.
"He's very professional and I'm so happy that he helped us achieve what the team wanted."
Swansea are in FA Cup action on Saturday at Wolves, while Spurs host West Ham on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.