TUESDAY 17th APRIL, 2018
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Gross (pen), 50
Referee:- Kevin Friend
Assistants:- Matthew Wilkes & Mark Scholes
Fourth official:- Lee Probert
Brighton (4-2-3-1):- Ryan; Bruno (Capt.), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Stephens, Kayal; Knockaert, Gross, Izquierdo (sub March, 77); Murray (sub Ulloa, 74)
Subs not used:- Krul; Schelotto, Locadia, Goldson, Baldock
Booked:- Dunk (foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko (sub Dembele, 74), Wanyama; Lucas Moura (sub Lamela, 74), Eriksen, Son; Kane (sub Llorente, 85)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Foyth; Dier
Brighton gain precious point against under par Spurs side.
Chris Hughton's Brighton side won a precious point with a penalty scored within two minutes of Harry Kane's 26th Premier League goal of the season. With their run-in it may be the last point Brighton get this season, but as they are now 8 points ahead of the bottom three, that could well be enough.
The point should be enough to ensure Brighton have another season of Premier League football, and that would be a terrific achievement for them. However, I will have to think very, very carefully before committing myself to another visit to what is a superb stadium (with nice soft cushioned seats if only Spurs fans would use them) due to the horrendous queues and journeys to and from the stadium which is situated out of town. Despite the attempts to facilitate fans' travel, it is not an ordeal I would happily contemplate again.
Mauricio Pochettino seems to have picked a team with Saturday's FA Cup semi-final in mind with Sanchez and Dele rested completely, and Trippier and Dier unused on the bench. All four will surely play against Manchester United. Trippier will be much preferable to Serge Aurier who rashly conceded another penalty within seconds really of the re-start after Kane had given us the lead.
Dier will come in for Wanyama, who is below par in my view, nowhere near the form we saw from him in his first season. Mousa Dembele played the last 20 minutes, including added time.
All credit to Brighton who battled hard for the ball everywhere on the pitch, frustrating Spurs' desire to play attractive football. On the counter, they had the pace of Izquierdo and Knockaert to give us problems, which is exactly what happened with the penalty conceded for a foul on Izquierdo.
Over 30,000 packed into the AMEX stadium, which Spurs last visited for the official opening in July 2011 for a friendly.
There was an early delay as Knockaert needed on-field treatment. Lucas Moura got the start that we all craved after his substitute appearance against Man City on Saturday. He played on the right in the first half, and switched with Son in the second. Unfortunately, Lucas did not take full advantage of his opportunity. He was fouled early on by Lewis Dunk who got the only booking of the game from referee Kevin Friend. Eriksen's free kick was blocked.
Brighton had a corner from the right after 17 minutes, and Dunk's header was held by Lloris at the second attempt. Jan Vertonghen got forward for Spurs and had a pop at goal which was blocked leading to a rapid counter by the home side. Knockaert had a shot which took a deflection making Lloris's job harder, but the Spurs keeper managed to push the ball out for a corner.
Davies received the ball out on the left but his cross/shot passed wide back across the goal. Eriksen, Kane and Son combined well with Son hitting the final shot which Ryan held. Lloris had to save another deflected shot, this one by left back Bong, after Kayal's pass. Gross did well on Brighton's right flank, hitting a cross which was met by Stephens, whose shot was held by Lloris.
Spurs had been dominating possession, but my perception was that Lloris was the busier and most tested of the two keepers.
Lucas Moura gave one ball to Harry Kane who was jeered when he fired high, before Lucas himself came in from the right and hit a good rising shot which Ryan pushed over for a corner with a good save.
Izquierdo offered a dangerous ball to Gross in the middle, but Spurs defended this well. Both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were solid all night.
As we ended the 45 minutes Harry Kane was fouled just outside the box, but nothing came of the kick. There was some Spurs pressure though with both Kane and Son having shots saved before the break.
Within three minutes of the re-start, Spurs had the lead. It followed excellent work by Son running the ball along the goal-line despite opposition, passing to Kane who fired home with his shot going in off Bruno. It was undoubtedly Kane's goal though.
Our joy was short-lived though after that penalty concession by Aurier. I can't remember a penalty save by Lloris, and I gave him no chance against Gross. Hugo did go the right way but was still beaten to his right. The home crowd roared their approval.
There was skill from Harry Kane as he ran the ball from left to right outside the area. He passed to Eriksen who gave Lucas a chance, which he put wide of the keeper's right post. Eriksen had a free kick and Ben Davies' follow-up was also blocked. Sissoko crossed for Kane but Harry's header was not enough of a test for goalkeeper Ryan.
Spurs had the Brighton defence under some pressure after 72 minutes. Aurier crossed but Eriksen's shot took a deflection off Duffy for a corner, going just wide of the post. From the corner, Toby Alderweireld met the ball at the near post, but hit the side netting.
Now it was time for substitutions which included Lamela for Lucas Moura and Dembele for Sissoko.
Brighton attacked through Knockaert and Izquierdo with the latter hitting a cross held by Lloris. Jan Vertonghen led a Spurs attack with a ball to Lamela. Son passed to Eriksen but nothing came of his opportunity. Davies passed across the field to Kane who optimistically tried a shot from some 30 yards. Unsurprisingly the ball passed wide.
Spurs' only other real chance followed a corner with Eriksen's ball to Llorente (who had replaced Kane). Llorente fed Lamela, and Ryan saved his shot. Brighton saw out time to secure that point, earning mighty acclaim from their fans. We all joined the lengthy queues to get a train back to town.
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