Christian Eriksen’s 88th minute goal finally broke Brighton and Hove Albion’s brave resistance to give Tottenham Hotspur a precious 1-0 victory in its quest for a top four finish in the Premier League.
Until the Danish playmaker’s low shot from just outside the penalty area whizzed past Mat Ryan, it seemed Brighton had withstood a second half siege. Chris Hughton’s side erected a green wall in front of Tottenham for more or less the entire game, leaving the home fans groaning in frustration.
Central defender Toby Alderweireld came close to breaking the deadlock 20 minutes from time, but was denied by the post.
In desperation, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino even sent on outcast Dutch striker Vincent Janssen in the 80th minute for his first action of the season. But in the end, it was Eriksen who punctured Brighton’s armour. The host secured its fourth successive home win, in all competitions, in its magnificent new stadium. The victory lifted Spurs to 70 points from 35 matches.
Sluggish Tottenham struggled to cut open the away side’s defence in the first half, barring two good chances. Lucas Moura had a shot cleared off the line by Lewis Dunk and Dele Alli almost scored on the stroke of half-time but his toe-poke was kept out by Ryan. In a rare attack, Shane Duffy should have scored for Brighton just after the break but he headed straight at Hugo Lloris after finding himself unmarked at the far post. After that, the game was played almost exclusively at the other end in front of Tottenham’s south stand as the home side cranked up the tempo.
Alli fired over, Danny Rose’s dipping effort forced Ryan into a great save and Son Heung-min also spurned a chance while Alderweireld’s shot against the upright summed up Tottenham’s night as Brighton defenders threw their bodies on the line. Long scores fastest PL goal Southampton striker Shane Long struck the fastest goal in Premier League history, inside seven seconds, but his team conceded a last minute equaliser as it drew 1-1 at Watford.
Southampton is on 37 points, six ahead of 18th-placed Cardiff City, with three games remaining. Home team Watford has 50 points from 35 matches.