Tottenham 2-0 Brighton: Two fortunate goals send Spurs fourth
By Pete Hall at Wembley
Last Updated: 13/12/17 11:55pm
Two fortunate goals helped Tottenham earn their third home win in a week as they laboured to a 2-0 victory over Brighton at Wembley.
Tottenham dominated the first half but the goal that gave them the lead was a lucky one, as Serge Aurier's cross evaded everyone and found the net in the 40th minute - his first goal in English football.
Brighton improved in the second half and could have levelled through Tomer Hemed, but he fired straight at Hugo Lloris, and that miss proved costly, as Heung-Min Son flicked home in the 87th minute via a deflection to make sure of the win.
And with Liverpool drawing 0-0 with West Brom, the three points take Spurs back into the top four on goal difference. Brighton stay 13th.
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Rose (5), Vertonghen (6), Aurier (5), Dier (6), Sissoko (6), Son (7), Winks (6), Eriksen (6), Lamela (6), Kane (6).
Subs: Dembele (6), Alli (6), Davies (N/A)
Brighton: Ryan (6), Dunk (7), Bong (6), Stephens (6), Duffy (6), Kayal (6), Izquierdo (6), Schelotto (6), Knockaert (6), Propper (6), Hemed (6).
Subs: : Gross (6), Murray (6), March (6).
Man of the match: Heung-Min Son
Spurs started the match on the front foot, and were almost in front after the lively Son darted past his man, fired for goal, but was denied by a brave block from Shane Duffy.
It was one-way traffic for the majority of the first half, with Brighton blocking everything that Spurs threw at them. Duffy was a particular thorn in Spurs' side, with his best block reserved from a drilled Kane strike from the angle.
Son fired over from close range before, just after the half-hour mark, Erik Lamela, making his first start in 14 months after a troublesome hip injury, turned sharply in the box, but could not keep his shot down.
However, as the groans of frustration were becoming more audible around the ground, Spurs did take the lead in the most fortuitous circumstances. Aurier had time to line up the cross, but overhit it, Kane could not get near the high ball, but neither could Mat Ryan in the Brighton goal, as the ball looped over his hand and into the net.
After the break, Spurs continued to press, but couldn't find that vital second to calm their nerves. Ryan denied Kane with his legs, but otherwise was not tested as often as he would have been expecting.
Brighton's big moment came in the 69th minute, as Hemed swivelled and shot for goal from a good position, but fired straight at Lloris.
Then, moments after Kane had hit the post from a free-kick, Son calmed the nerves around Wembley, flicking Eriksen's free-kick into the net, via the leg of Brighton's Davy Propper. It was not overly convincing, but is that the end of Spurs' Wembley hoodoo once and for all?
Mauricio Pochettino: "It's not easy when the opponent [Brighton] only plays to defend," Pochettino said. "But I think the team created a lot of chances. I am very pleased for the victory and the effort of the players.
"Anyone can play in a way they want. For us it was difficult, but I am not going to complain about how another team [Brighton] play. I just focus on how my players play."
Chris Hughton: "We conceded two poor goals. The second one we didn't need to give a free-kick away in the first place, and the first was an incredibly fortuitous one.
"We had good periods of the game, especially in the second half, with the chance that feel to [Tomer] Hemed. You are not going to get many good chances here, and that was as good as any that they did have."
The pundit - Phil Thompson
"What a fluke. Serge Aurier out on the right wing, and as he goes past the defender, the referee could have actually blown for a free-kick. As Izquierdo makes the challenge he knocks him into the ball and it's an awful cross. But it sails and sails and it goes over Matt Ryan's head and right into the far corner. I don't think he's got any chance because of the trajectory of the ball."
"It was probably quite laboured. Spurs hit the post twice. And there were a couple of chances for Brighton."
After failing to win any of their first three Premier League home games this season, Spurs have won five of their last six at Wembley (D1).
Heung-Min Son has scored in three consecutive Premier League games for only the second time, following a run of four back in April.
Serge Aurier became the first Ivorian to score a Premier League goal for Spurs - they've now had players from nine different African nations score for them, the joint-most in the competition (level with Sunderland).
Indeed, Spurs have now had players of 41 different nationalities score in the Premier League for them - a joint-high with Manchester City.
Man of the match - Heung-Min Son
In a match where Spurs were below par on the whole, Son's movement and constant threat really troubled Brighton at Wembley. His form is the main reason Dele Alli was left on the bench, as Mauricio Pochettino just could not leave Son out, due to his recent form.
His goal was fortunate in the way it found the net, but the desire to get there brought about the match clincher.
A huge clash is up next on Saturday, with Tottenham travelling north to take on runaway league leaders Manchester City, while Brighton host in-form Burnley.