Tottenham left to rue missed chances in Southampton defeat
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Premier League: Southampton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Southampton scored twice in five second-half minutes to boost their Premier League survival hopes with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, whose grip on the top-four positions loosened even further.
Harry Kane’s 200th career goal for club and country was reward for a dominant first-half display, but Saints turned it around after the break and won it through quickfire goals from Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse.
It was a vital and deserved comeback from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men, who stayed two points clear of the relegation zone.
For Spurs, it was a head-scratching loss given the way they dominated the first half. A fortnight ago they were in the title race but now they are in a fight to for the Champions League places after a fourth league game without a win.
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Mauricio Pochettino, who was condemned to a seat in the stands following his touchline ban, will be furious with what he had to watch in the second half, but he could not have imagined it panning out that way.
Spurs took immediate control and two Kane efforts in the opening five minutes - both off target from distance - were a warning to the holes they were finding in the Saints’ defence.
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Southampton were on the ropes and needed the woodwork to save them twice in the space of two minutes as Spurs ramped up the pressure.
First, Maya Yoshida got lucky as he diverted Kane’s cross into the post and then Christian Eriksen saw a 25-yard free-kick crash into the crossbar.
The breakthrough eventually came in the 26th minute as Spurs punished their hosts on the break.
Kane found his England team-mate Dele Alli, then peeled off to the backpost where he got the ball back before firing in a low finish.
It was his eighth goal in nine games against the Saints as he found the net for the fourth successive game at St Mary’s.
Spurs had chances to extend their lead as Alli squandered a great chance on the break while Eriksen stung Angus Gunn’s palms with a rasping drive from distance.
The only positive for Southampton was that it was only 1-0 at the half-time break and after Hasenhuttl brought Shane Long and Josh Sims on for the restart, they were much more dangerous as they threatened with pace and running they had not shown before.
After an initial Saints bluster, Kane reminded the hosts of his threat as he did brilliantly to squeeze through two defenders before seeing a curling effort superbly tipped around the post by Gunn.
But then, with the assistance of some sloppy Spurs play, Southampton penned their visitors back and had chances to level the game.
Nathan Redmond had two of them as he first skewed wide at the far post from Shane Long’s pass and then could not direct Valery’s cross while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fizzed an effort just over.
Spurs had to get their act together in order not to throw the game away and had a golden chance to kill it, but Kane suffered a rare lapse in front of goal in the 68th minute.
A brilliant reverse pass from Eriksen found the England striker but he scooped the ball over the top when he would normally have found the net.
And that proved costly as Southampton levelled in the 76th minute and it is not a moment Danny Rose will care to remember.
Stuart Armstrong got in down the left and rolled in a cross which Rose inexplicably let through his legs, allowing Valery to finish at the far post.
Five minutes later the turnaround was complete as Southampton took the lead in fine style.
After Armstrong was brought down by Kyle Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse curled a delightful free-kick over the wall and into the corner.
Spurs had nothing by way of a response and Southampton held on for an important three points.