SATURDAY 10TH FEBRUARY, 2024
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0) BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1(1)
Gross (pen), 17
Referee:- Sam Barrott
Assistants:- Neil Davies, Wade Smith
Fourth official:- Keith Stroud
VAR:- Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR:- Richard West
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero (Capt.), Van de Ven, Udogie (sub Hojbjerg, 80); Sarr (sub Davies, 80), Bentancur (sub Son, 62); Maddison; Kulusevski (sub Bissouma, 63), Richarlison, Werner (sub Johnson, 62)
(Son took the armband)
Subs not used:- Forster; Dragusin, Emerson Royal; Skipp
Booked:- Maddison (foul on Lamptey), Sarr (over-celebration)
Brighton (4-2-3-1):- Steele; Lamptey (sub Baleba, 90+1), Van Hecke, Dunk (Capt.), Estupinan; Gross, Gilmour (sub Baker-Boaitey, 90+1); Buonanotte (sub Veltman, 83), Lallana (sub Ansu Fati, 57), Mitoma; Welbeck (sub Ferguson, 83)
Subs not used:- Verbruggen; Webster; Moder; O'Mahony
Booked:- Buonanotte (foul on Maddison), Estupinan (Dissent - kicked ball away), Dunk (foul on Richarlison)
Last gasp Johnson goal wins it!
Not for the first time this season, Spurs won a game at the death. Not for the first time, Spurs won a game they had looked like losing. Brighton had looked the more likely winners after Spurs had equalised a first half penalty goal by Pascal Gross. That wasn't Brighton's first penalty of the season either. They had four previously in the Premier League all scored by top scorer Joao Pedro, who was out with a hamstring injury.
Spurs had almost a full squad to choose from for the first time in ages, including their final returning international absentees, skipper Son Heung-min and Yves Bissouma. Both were held on the bench, but both got on in the second half with "Sonny" playing a glorious part in creating Johnson's winner, which was his third goal of the season.
Another player who had been involved in the African Cup of Nations, Pape Matar Sarr, was making his second club appearance since his return and scored a great 61st minute goal to put us back on terms.
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand, but had an early scare when Van de Ven lost the ball around the half-way line and Danny Welbeck ran forward reaching the penalty area before turning to hiss left, hitting his shot to the right of Vicario, who dived and saved well. Spurs responded with a move down the left. Micky van de Ven sent Werner away. He passed inside to James Maddison whose shot was deflected and won a corner.
Brighton were looking sharper in the tackle and with their passes. Over the course of the game, Spurs players were too often guilty of expecting a pass to reach them, rather than running towards the ball. Mind you, some of those passes were not well placed either. Spurs were not helped by referee Sam Barrott's reluctance to blow for fouls.
Roberto de Zerbi was absent, having dental treatment in Italy (he was serving a one-match suspension anyway) and his second-in-command Andrea Maldera was very active in the technical area whilst Ange Postecoglou's style is to stand impassively throughout. He seems to be a man to make his tactical changes and adjustments at the interval, or at chosen times after the break.
Maddison was fouled about 28 yards out and hit his free kick to Werner with a corner resulting on the left. That came to nothing, and Brighton went on the attack winning a free kick and a corner when that was headed out by Romero.
It's a particular gripe of mine that Spurs don't play out well enough, too often putting themselves under pressure. That was the case when Bentancur lost the ball just outside the area, then Van de Ven trod on Welbeck's foot inside the box. Gross sent Vicario the wrong way with his penalty.
Our best moves seemed to come from either a lucky rebound of the ball, or a poor defensive error. Whilst our playmaker was getting involved, he wasn't playmaking enough for my liking. It was a Maddison pass through the middle that put Richarlison through, but his shot was straight at Steele and Werner's follow-up was wide.
Brighton started to feel they were getting the rough end of the stick regarding the referee's decisions. Lallana needed a treatment, although the referee did not give a foul. Spurs next chance came from a lucky rebound which fell to Richarlison. He fed the ball to Maddison, whose shot across the goalmouth passed just wide.
Bentancur was under pressure again in front of our area and the ball was fed to Mitoma, always a threat on the left. His shot was well saved by Vicario towards the right of his goal, and the ball passed wide for a corner across the goal.
Lewis Dunk needed treatment and it was around this time that Brighton began to seek to slow the game down at every opportunity. Goalkeeper Steele often wound up the home crowd. Maddisson was booked for a foul on Lamptey and surely put himself in danger of a second yellow when he clapped the referee.
Werner presented Richarlison with a decent chance with a ball from the left, but Richarlison, meeting the ball before the near post, pulled his shot wide. Kulusevski brought a save from Steele as he forced his way into the area and was falling under a challenge. I think VAR might have looked at a possibly penalty, but no offence was found. Van Hecke blocked a Richarlison shot after Romero's through ball. Richarlison was in a shooting position inside the box but was closed down and passed to his left to Maddison, who was also closed down.
Brighton kicked off the second half, but Spurs soon had a free kick, taken by Maddison but too cosy for the keeper. Werner cut inside and had a shot, but this was deflected with a corner resulting. Spurs had three successive corners from the right, all taken by Kulusevski, who twice linked with Pedro Porro. Nothing came of these corners.
Lallana was replaced by Ansu Fati and Brighton went with two attackers. Sarr had one shot blocked from a Kulusevski cross before he scored his goal. Kulusevski had again been the provider with a threaded pass. Sarr crossed low from the right and Lewis Dunk's interception rebounded off the post to the feet of Sarr, who deftly and confidently scored from a sharpish angle on the right.
Son had been cheered as he warmed up and he was waved into action along with Johnson and Bissouma. Bentancur, Werner and Kulusevski were the departing players. Son had an immediate impact, flying down the left wing before crossing to Johnson who hit this shot straight at Steele.
Brighton responded with a period of pressure. They nearly scored when Mitoma cut the ball back and Ansu Fatin pushed a shot just wide of the far post. Van de Ven blocked a shot by Buonanotte.
It looked as if Skipp was going to come on with Hojbjerg, but a late change of decision saw Skipp sit down again on the bench with Ben Davies coming on instead. I was concerned as Pedro Porro had been struggling to shake off a knock.
Johnson failed to take advantage of a long ball, running it out of play. Johnson had a shot blocked by Lewis Dunk and the crowd shouted for a penalty, but nothing came of the subsequent VAR review. Dunk was booked for a foul on Richarlison as the Spurs striker threatened to break forward.
There had been six minutes of time added to the first half and now the same figure was displayed. It seemed that Lamptey was going to take a chunk of this as he went down for treatment after he had been flagged offside.
Hojbjerg skied a shot, and it looked like the game was up for Spurs. However, drama was to follow when Maddison fed the ball to Richarlison, who found Son advancing at speed down the left. Son crossed hard and low, and Brennan Johnson met the cross with a shot high into the net in front of the ecstatic South Stand!
It was a goal that put us back in fourth place before today's game between Aston Villa and Manchester United. We have now scored in our past 36 Premier League games, a run that stretches back to March last year, and marks the second-longest scoring streak in the competition's history, behind only Arsenal in 2002.
Speaking of Arsenal, Spurs didn't take the lead against Brighton until the final minute of the second game in their two league games this season. The only other team in the Premier League that they haven't led against at some point in the match is Arsenal. Of course, that could be rectified in the second game in April. Here's hoping!
Did you know? - Three of Brighton's five penalties this season have been
conceded by Spurs. It is the eighth time that one team has scored three penalties against another in a Premier League season and Spurs became the first side to be on the receiving end more than once (also against Leicester City in 2020-21).
. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
. Read the preview for this game.
. All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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