REPORT: Spurs 3-2 Saints

By SFC Media time Sun 23 Mar Club

Tottenham came from 2-0 down to inflict a 3-2 defeat on Saints at White Hart Lane.

Leading 2-1 at half-time, Southampton had been good value for a lead they put themselves into within the opening half an hour of the game as Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana each scored to put Mauricio Pochettino’s men in control.

Top scorer Rodriguez notched his 15th strike of the season and third goal in as many games on 19 minutes with a coolly taken strike which was followed up by Lallana’s stroked shot into the bottom left corner.

Spurs responded before the break when Christian Eriksen struck the first of his two goals in the match when he pounced on a slip by Nathaniel Clyne, to slide in a reply.

That goal gave Spurs a something to build upon, and within a minute of the restart the hosts drew level when Eriksen finished off Roberto Soldado’s low cross from close range for 2-2.

Tim Sherwood’s half-time substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson produced a winner for Tottenham just as the game entered stoppage time, as he pounced against the run of play as Saints’ late surge for a winner backfired. 

The defeat ended prevented a third straight win for Saints, who drop down a place to ninth ahead of next Saturday’s game against Newcastle in eighth.

Mauricio Pochettino restored Jack Cork to the starting line-up after the midfielder made an earlier than expected recovery from an ankle injury sustained in the win at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.

Cork replaced Morgan Schneiderlin in the middle, with the Frenchman sidelined having picked up a knock during training late in the week. Harrison Reed was named amongst the substitutes for the visitors.

Rickie Lambert made his 200th league appearance for the club, with Jose Fonte playing in his 175th match for Southampton. Nathaniel Clyne moved onto 50 league starts for the club.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham’s two goal hero from the reverse fixture, was absent for the home side, as Roberto Soldado led the line.

Spurs got the match underway with Soldado and Aaron Lennon taking the game’s first touches inside the centre circle on a bright, but chilly day in north London.

Saints in their red and white kit, made a competitive start to the contest, with both Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana seizing on loose passes from the home side within the opening couple of minutes of play.

Spurs created their first chance of the game on three minutes when Christian Eriksen’s corner was delivered into the middle of the area where the captain, Younes Kabou headed the ball straight at Artur Boruc from close range.

Aaron Lennon flashed a cross over from the right on five minutes which went harmlessly out to the other side, and from there, Saints launched a break which they ought to have done better from. Lallana’s dink over the top found Lambert, and the striker held onto the ball to the right of the Spurs area, before eventually playing the ball back to his skipper, but Lallana’s strike cleared the bar from 25 yards out. 

On nine minutes Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball into the net from Lambert’s pass, but the offside flag had long been raised against the Saints attack before Rodriguez had found a way past Hugo Lloris.#

The action moved swiftly from end-to-end in the opening quarter of an hour, and Spurs were looking to the flanks for their support to Soldado. A low fizzing cross from Nacer Chadli evaded everyone inside the Saints area shortly after Mousa Dembele had won a corner for the hosts, who were struggling to penetrate the visitors’ backline.

Saints punished the home side for their profligacy in the 19th minute with a third goal in as many games for Jay RODRIGUEZ. The striker pounced on an awkward bounce from a clearance up the field which caught the Spurs defence out, and Rodriguez kept his composure to slot the ball into the bottom right corner past the outstretched arm of Lloris for 1-0.

Pochettino’s men began to turn the screw on 23 minutes, with Lambert interchanging positions with Lallana to set the former up on the edge of the area, where a neat step-over from the skipper created the space for a shot which Lloris had to cover down to his left.

Luke Shaw was next to go close for the visitors as he collected Ward-Prowse’s pass on the back of another neat move, with the full-back’s shot taking a large deflection off Kyle Naughton before going out for a corner.

From the resulting set piece, Lambert headed the ball across the face of goal, with the ball dropping just wide of the far post as the Spurs defence breathed a sigh of relief.

But that sigh escalated to one of disappointment on 27 minutes when Saints doubled their lead. A mistake by Naughton on the edge of his own area presented the ball into Lambert who smartly rolled it into the path of LALLANA who stroked the ball in to the bottom left corner for 2-0.

The goal sparked Spurs boss Tim Sherwood into action as he moved down to the technical area to encourage his team from close-quarters. It almost paid instant dividends as Nabil Bentaleb smashed a low drive from range narrowly wide of Boruc’s right post.

But the game’s third goal arrived soon after, with Spurs getting themselves back into it on 31 minutes. A cross to the left post saw the ball slip frim under Clyne’s feet, where the ball landed to Christian ERIKSEN who made no mistake from close range to bring the hosts back into the game. 

Mousa Dembele struck a shot wide of the left post, before Saints asked further questions of the Spurs backline when Lallana hit a fierce strike from close range which Lloris got his body behind, with the hosts able to clear their lines before Steven Davis could finish in the follow-up.

Davis got a shot off on 40 minutes when he brought down Lambert’s raking pass to volley towards goal, but another deflection off Naughton presented Saints with a corner which they were able to clear with few problems.

Spurs had a good chance to level the scores when Soldado knocked down Chadli’s cross from the right, but Eriksen was denied a second by a fine outstretched block by Boruc.

In the closing stages of the half, Steven Davis went to ground as he made a challenge on Danny Rose which saw the Saints man come off worse, though he was fine to continue playing. Eriksen directed the free-kick on target from the left, with Boruc having to make a fingertip save to deny the hosts once more.

The resulting corner saw Younes Kaboul smash a low shot wide, as Saints held onto their lead heading into the interval.

HALF-TIME: TOTTENHAM 1-2 SOUTHAMPTON

There was a change for both teams at the break with Spurs introducing Gylfi Sigurdsson for Mousa Dembele whilst Saints brought on Calum Chambers in place of Nathaniel Clyne.

And, within a minute of the restart, Spurs were level. Soldado got to the byline down the right flank to tee up ERIKSEN for a tap-in from a yard out for 2-2.

The game’s fourth goal arrived with many supporters still getting back to their seats from the half-time break, as Saints were left reeling by the early setback.

That was added to by an injury sustained by Dejan Lovren, who required a couple of minutes’ worth of treatment before re-entering the action, though the stoppage in play did halt Spurs’ momentum, much to the home crowd’s frustration.

When play restarted, Lambert collected Fonte’s long ball into the area, but the striker was robbed of the ball before he could pull the trigger from the left side.

Some good awareness from Fonte twice prevented Spurs as the game opened out further, before Boruc was alert to push Nacer Chadli’s low drive in at the near post, out for a corner.

Spurs provided another warning strike when Eriksen blasted a shot into the side-netting after collecting Sigurdsson pass on the right on 58 minutes.

A shaky few minutes for the visitors were added to by a booking for Lovren, though there was minimal contact in the challenge on Soldado by the right touchline.

Pochettino responded with a second substitution for the visitors as Gaston Ramirez came on for Rodriguez with 63 minutes on the watch to try and inject a fresh spark to Saints’ creative play.

The Uruguayan’s first involvement came from a free-kick on the right which Lovren almost connected to with a diving header inside the area.

A sublime diagonal pass from Chambers set Lambert away down the left side moments later, but the cross into the Spurs box had too much height on it for Fonte to divert it goalwards.

Effective passing into the final third then became a target for both teams with Cork releasing Lambert in one move which didn’t quite come off, before Eriksen latched onto a ball over the top, but he couldn’t put his shot on target.

With 20 minutes or so remaining, Spurs brought on Andros Townsend for Aaron Lennon in a like-for-like change, giving Luke Shaw a fresh challenge to deal with in the remainder of the contest.

It was from the other flank where Spurs posed their next question of Saints however when Chambers was caught in an advanced position. Rose dispossessed the youngster to find Eriksen in the space vacated by the right back, but the final delivery into the box missed everybody.

Bentaleb was cautioned for a pull of Ward-Prowse’s shirt as the Saints man led a break through the middle, with Saints growing back into the game.

On 79 Cork and Ramirez combined to find Lallana on the right, with the skipper standing a cross up to the far post where Lambert had a header picked off him by a last ditch challenge to put the ball out for a corner as the contest entered the final ten minutes.

Ramirez jinked his way through the Spurs defence, but his cutback to Lallana didn’t quite come off, as the ball stuck in the skipper’s feet as he tried to steer it back to Chambers on the right side of the area.

Steven Davis thundered a header back at Boruc from a cross into the area which had Saints worried, with the keeper remaining alert to ensure the midfielder wasn’t embarrassed.

Soldado tried to catch Boruc out soon after with a snapshot from distance, but his dipping strike went wide of the left post, leaving the score level heading into the last five minutes of play.

With two minutes remaining, Ramirez had a shot blocked before the ball broke back to Lambert, whose strike on the turn flashed narrowly wide of the right post, with Saints applying late pressure in search of what would surely be a winning goal.

That was Lambert’s last touch of the contest as he was replaced by Sam Gallagher shortly before four minutes of stoppage time were allocated.

After Ramirez had been fouled on the right flank inside the Spurs half, Spurs sealed the points with a goal against the run of play as half-time substitute Gylfi SIGURDSSON collected the ball on the edge of the area, to rifle home a shot into the bottom left corner for 3-2.

Deep into added on time Ward-Prowse made a vital interception to deny another effort on goal before the whistle brought the game to a close.

FULL-TIME: TOTTENHAM 3-2 SOUTHAMPTON

Tottenham team: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton, Younes Kaboul (c), Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Aaron Lennon (Andros Townsend 71), Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (Gylfi Sigurdsson 46), Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado

Unused substitutes: Brad Friedel, Michael Dawson, Zeki Fryers, Paulinho, Harry Kane

Goals: Eriksen, 31 & 46; Sigurdsson, 90

Southampton team: Artur Boruc, Nathaniel Clyne (Calum Chambers 46), Jose Fonte, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Steven Davis, Jack Cork, James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana (c), Jay Rodriguez (Gaston Ramirez 63), Rickie Lambert (Sam Gallagher 89)

Unused substitutes: Paulo Gazzaniga, Maya Yoshida, Jos Hooiveld, Harrison Reed

Goals: Rodriguez, 19; Lallana, 27

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 35,460

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