Spurs open spectacular stadium with much-needed win after Son grabs first goal in the new home
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Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 2 Crystal Palace 0
Tottenham Hotspur ensured an unforgettable evening ended with a positive result as they defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 to move back up to third in the Premier League on a night where they saw why the future could be very, very bright.
Heung-min Son had the honour of scoring the first Spurs goal in the new 62,062-seater venue, but everyone had to wait 55 minutes for the opener to arrive.
Once it did, it settled any lingering nerves and Christian Eriksen’s effort late on put the game to bed and secured Mauricio Pochettino’s men a much-needed win.
It ended the club’s poor run of form which had seen them go five league matches without a win, but that is a distant memory now with everyone walking away blown away by the facilities on show. It is a special stadium and already feels like home.
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Pochettino made two changes to the team which lost in agonisingly circumstances away to Liverpool on Sunday.
Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura both dropped to the bench and were replaced by Ben Davies and Son.
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Fans filed into the club’s new home hours before kick-off and the noise at times was deafening even before it was full.
Although the sun was shining brightly, hailstones arrived around 45 minutes before kick-off, which only added to the occasion.
It was cold, but that feeling on the back of your neck when the fans began to sing was even more spine-tingling.
The visitors Palace were eager not to just make up the numbers, but disappointingly former Tottenham player Andros Townsend was only among the replacements.
Yet the Eagles still boasted Michy Batshuayi and Wilfried Zaha in the attacking third of their line-up and Roy Hodgson’s men were out to spoil the party.
As the stadium got fuller, the decibels levelled increased with Spurs fans enjoying life back in N17.
Dele Alli had the honour of being the first real name to echo around the 62,062-seater venue with his song belted out 20 minutes before the start.
The opening ceremony then occurred, but only after Paul Coyte had proudly proclaimed: We are home!
A welcome home VT kicked off the ceremony with words from Daniel Levy and David Lammy, MP for Tottenham before Gladesmore Community School performed Everybody Dreams fronted by former student Lanya Matthews.
Both sets of players entered the pitch to a guard of honour from the club’s academy with ‘Oh when the Spurs go marching in being sang by the Tottenham Hotspur Marching Band.
Award-winning tenor and Spurs fan, Wynne Evans then entered the field to sing ‘Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur’ with Lanya Matthews and the big finale was fireworks firing out from the top of the stand.
Now the fireworks were over, it was down to the football and all about whether this Spurs side could handle the occasion of being the first to play in the stadium.
It was no surprise to see a frantic start to the encounter with Tottenham attacking from the off and forcing a corner which saw Alli test Vincente Guaita from Kieran Trippier’s follow up cross.
Moments later, in the third minute, a great opportunity was created by the visitors and they should have taken the lead and quieten the home crowd.
Jeffrey Schlupp managed to get in behind Trippier and raced through on goal, but put under pressure by Toby Alderweireld, he blazed over from 12-yards.
A delay occurred after when Trippier needed treatment for a blow to the face, though he was fine to continue and Eriksen scuffed a shot wide in the 10th minute after an exhilarating run by Son.
Eriksen was heavily involved in the opening exchanges and forced Guaita into action with 17 on the clock when Trippier cut back for him, but still the opening first-team goal in the stadium remained elusive.
Spurs created another chance with 26 played when Alli was brought down by Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic.
It handed Tottenham a free kick 25-yards-out and Harry Kane took it upon himself to try his luck and almost beat the wall, but his powerful drive deflected wide.
Alli received the first proper booking in the stadium minutes later for a late challenge on Milivojevic before the Palace fans began to enjoy their visit to the new venue with their full repertoire of songs coming out.
The best of the lot occurred midway through the half when they belted out ‘is this the Emirates’ after the home supporters began to lull.
Spurs probably should have been awarded a penalty in the 36th minute when Davies tried to get on the end of a loose ball, but was caught by the failing leg of Zaha.
Referee Andre Marriner waved away appeals, but on second inspection it did look a spot-kick for the hosts.
Guaita was forced into action moments later and would have breathed a big sigh of relief when Son’s snapshot rolled wide after he had failed to keep hold of the effort.
Pochettino’s men had found a second wind now and had another great opening in the 42nd minute which they failed to make the most of.
Moussa Sissoko won the ball excellently on the right and found Son, who sent Rose through on goal, but instead of taking on the chance himself, he tried to square for Kane and Martin Kelly intercepted.
Two minutes later and the same England duo were involved again with Rose’s corner finding Kane, but he could only nod wide from 12-yards.
At the end of the 45 two minutes of stoppage time was added on, but it went by with little to note as the opening half of Premier League football at the new venue finished goalless.
Palace created the first opportunity of the half when Batshuayi was found in space and cut inside before he curled wide of Hugo Lloris’ goal in the 51st minute.
It was a warning for Tottenham and one they would heed as four minutes later the first goal at the new stadium was scored.
Eriksen won the ball back well inside the Palace half and found Son on the right, who dribbled inside in trademark fashion and tried his luck from 18-yards and got the luck his endeavour deserved.
Away captain Milivojevic slide in and deflected the ball into the bottom corner and beyond Guaita, but Son’s original shot was on target and surely the South Korean had written his name into the history books with the first league goal at the new venue.
Tottenham almost made it 2-0 11 minutes later when Alli intercepted a pass and Kane was sent through.
Bearing down on Guaita’s goal, the Spurs number 10 looked odds-on to find the net, but curled over from 16-yards and was left to reflect on what might have been.
Pochettino made his first change with 69 on the clock as Rose left the field to a standing ovation and was replaced by academy graduate and boyhood fan Harry Winks.
Son tried his luck again soon after, but fired straight down the throat of Guaita as the game remained open with the score only 1-0.
Hodgson made his first throw of the dice with 79 played when Townsend was brought on to face his old club and the narrative was already in the minds of most even though the one-time Tottenham academy graduate received warm applause when he came on.
Fortunately for Spurs supporters they didn’t need to worry about an old boy coming back to haunt them as they put the game to bed with eight minutes left.
It occurred in bizarre circumstances with Kane racing into the area and going down and calling for a penalty.
Nothing was given and the ball rolled free and Eriksen was alive to the opening and turned well to fire home from close range, but it took everyone a moment to realise it was an actual goal and hadn’t been ruled out.
The Dane saw the funny side and celebrated being the second Spurs goalscorer in the Premier League inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A host of substitutions were made after with Alli replaced by Moura before Christian Benteke came on for the ineffective Batshuayi.
Palace then enjoyed a purple patch and Lloris was called into action for the first time on the night in the 85th minute.
Patrick van Aanhold got forward well and appeared to try and cross towards Zaha, but got his centre wrong and it looked to be heading in until Tottenham’s captain clawed the ball away from danger.
Less than a minute later and the deficit should have been reduced when James McArthur’s cross found Benteke and although he was on the stretch, he should have done better than to head wide at the far post.
Finally Hogson’s team were alive and Zaha tested Lloris again with 87 on the clock, yet again the Frenchman was equal to the task.
Spurs fans were afforded the chance to enjoy themselves now with the crowd in good voice, but to their credit the Palace faithful didn’t let up and continued to urge their side on with constant noise.
The icing on the cake almost arrived in the three minutes of stoppage time when Moura was brilliantly denied by Guaita, but it didn’t matter much as the full time whistle followed seconds later.
Over the tannoy ‘Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur’ belted out and Spurs will hope the return to N17 and the move into this magnificent stadium can be the boost they need this season to help them go on and achieve success in the near future.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Trippier, Sissoko, Alli (Moura 82), Rose (Winks 69); Eriksen; Son (Wanyama 90), Kane.
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Walker-Peters, Foyth.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Tomkins, van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, Kouyate (Townsend 79); Zaha, Batshuayi (Benteke 81), Schlupp.
Unused substitutes: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Meyer, Ayew.