With Spurs still yet to appoint a permanent manager, Cristian Stellini took charge of the Lilywhites once again at they welcomed Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton to North London. Spurs sat in fifth ahead of Saturday afternoon’s clash – and they would remain there regardless of the result, while Brighton had the opportunity to rise to sixth should they pick up just a point.
TOT: Lloris; Lenglet, Dier, Romero; Perišić, Skipp, Højbjerg, Porro; Son, Kulusevski, Kane
BHA: Steele; Estupiñán, Colwill, Dunk, Veltman; Caicedo, Groß; Mitoma, Mac Allister, March; Welbeck
Spurs had their deadly duo to thank, as they rescued an unlikely win against Brighton to keep up their assault on a top four spot in the Premier League. Son Heung-Min opened the scoring after ten minutes, bagging his 100th Premier League goal with an unbelievable strike – and Harry Kane’s late deflected winner saw Spurs steal all three points in a game overshadowed by VAR.
Roberto de Zerbi – who made no secret of wanting to get one over Spurs’ interim manager, Cristian Stellini – wasn’t happy with the officials after Kaoru Mitoma had a goal disallowed in the first half for a contentious handball, before what looked like a stonewall penalty wasn’t given in the second.
In truth, Brighton dominated large periods of the game, but spent a lot of it a goal down after Son Heung-Min, who hasn’t been at his fluent best this season, showed his pure class with a curling finish after ten minutes.
Lewis Dunk equalised for the visitors after half an hour as he nodded home unmarked at the back post, shortly after Mitoma’s questionable handball and both sides went into the break level at one apiece.
Brighton had the ball in the net for a second time shortly into the second half, but Danny Welbeck’s shot found the back of Lloris’ goal via the arm of Alexis Mac Allister before Mitoma was once again on the wrong end of a controversial decision.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s clumsy challenge looked to be a penalty but was waved away by the referee and then VAR before Kane once again provided the match-winning moment. Højbjerg’s low cross was met by the England captain on the edge of the box and it found its way past Jason Steele via a deflection to give the hosts all three points.
There was still time for both managers to be sent off in what was a fractious affair on the sidelines, ignited by Stellini’s pre-match comments that de Zerbi was “only benefitting off the back of [Graham] Potter’s good work”, with both managers now facing touchline bans.
It’s Spurs who leave with the three points however and while it’s been a chaotic couple of weeks off the pitch, Tottenham are still within three points of a Champions League spot – despite playing a game more than Manchester United in fourth. Brighton, who are still harbouring ambitions of a European spot themselves, drop to seventh but still have to face both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea in the run in.