Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Brighton. Son Heung-min scored his 100th Premier League goal and Harry Kane a second-half winner as Tottenham rode their luck to beat Brighton.
The visitors dominated large periods and had two goals ruled out for handball, but the strikes from Spurs’ esteemed pair eased their recent struggles.
Son curled a superb 25-yard strike inside the far post after 10 minutes while Kane’s shot in the 79th minute deflected past Brighton keeper Jason Steele.
Lewis Dunk had earlier levelled in the first half for Brighton – heading in Solly March’s corner unchallenged at the back post – shortly after Kaoru Mitoma was judged to have controlled with his upper arm before converting.
The Seagulls had the ball in the net again in the second half but Danny Welbeck’s shot flicked Alexis Mac Allister’s arm on the way in and the goal was disallowed by the video assistant referee.
VAR also turned down strong penalty appeals from Brighton with the score 1-1 when Mitoma went down under a challenge from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The match became increasingly fractious and both managers – Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi and Spurs interim Cristian Stellini – were sent off in the second half after a melee between the two benches.
The win keeps Spurs within three points of the top four, although they have played a game more than fourth-placed Manchester United, while Brighton drop to seventh.
Son’s stunner was reminiscent of the South Korea international at his best and makes him the first Asian player to score 100 Premier League goals.
He cut inside from the left wing, nudged the ball out of his feet and whipped a right-footed shot perfectly inside the right-hand post.
“This was something that I dreamed for,” he said.
“I hope all the Asian players – especially in South Korea – look at this achievement and believe they can do it as well.
“I take a big responsibility to be a good example to help the young guys. I want them to believe an Asian player can do amazing things in the Premier League.”
With Kane also on the scoresheet with his 25th goal of the season you could be forgiven for thinking this was Spurs of old. In reality, it was anything but.
Brighton had more possession, the better chances – their expected goals total was 1.28 to Spurs’ 0.82 – and should have had a penalty.
When Stellini was sent off, seemingly a bystander in the tussle which resulted in him being dismissed, the home crowd were singing the name of former manager Mauricio Pochettino.
But however ugly Spurs’ second win in seven games in all competitions came, it will prove crucial if they are able to scrape into the Champions League again this season.
With Manchester United and Newcastle taking three points on Saturday, the north London club were at risk of being cut adrift. Instead, they remain in touch.
In contrast, this result will likely end Brighton’s hopes of a remarkable top-four finish. They are 10 points behind fourth, albeit with a game in hand, and have been overtaken by Aston Villa.
While Spurs’ attack was laboured, the Seagulls were bright again going forward, without creating a host of opportunities.
The two handball decisions were tough to take but probably correct.
Mitoma’s first contact seemed to be with his bicep as he controlled a chipped pass and volleyed in, while Mac Allister’s intervention on Welbeck’s shot clearly helped the ball squirm under Hugo Lloris, however unintentional.
More surprising was the decision not to give a penalty for Hojbjerg’s challenge on Mitoma, minutes before Kane’s winner.
As Mitoma controlled the ball in the box, Hojbjerg’s foot landed on top of the Japan international’s boot but referee Stuart Attwell was not asked to view the incident again by VAR, despite a review.
De Zerbi had already been dismissed by this stage. Given his arguments with the Spurs bench began before kick-off, it will have done little to lighten his mood.
source – BBC Sport