Tottenham come from behind to continue their title challenge
Published 28/02/2016 | 16:16
Tottenham showed the sort of resilience from which champions are made as Mauricio Pochettino's side scored twice in the last 20 minutes to beat Swansea 2-1.
Alberto Paloschi gave the visitors a surprise early lead at White Hart Lane and for 70 minutes it looked like that might be enough as Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianksi made a string of superb saves.
Spurs substitute Nacer Chadli, however, finally found an equaliser and seven minutes later Danny Rose scored the winner to complete a dramatic turnaround.
The victory means Tottenham reduce the gap behind Leicester back to two points and move three clear of Arsenal, who lost at Manchester United. Swansea sit 16th.
Harry Kane wore a face mask to protect his injured nose, which was broken last weekend against Crystal Palace, but the England striker ceded the limelight here to his team-mate Christian Eriksen, who was a constant presence in Spurs' 34 attempts on goal.
Swansea should have been ahead within the first two minutes as Paloschi picked out Gylfi Sigurdsson with a cutback but the former Spurs midfielder was denied from eight yards by an excellent Hugo Lloris save.
Relieved to be level, Tottenham began asserting their authority and twice cut their opponents open out wide as Erik Lamela lifted Rose's pass over before Kane diverted Eriksen's cross, but was denied at the near post.
Loose touches and misplaced passes had Pochettino doing pirouettes on the touchline and his anxiety was proven justified as Swansea took a surprise lead in the 19th minute.
There was a hint of fortune about the goal as Angel Rangel's shot from the edge of the area deflected into the path of Paloschi but the Italian did well to steer his half volley past Lloris for his first goal in a Swansea shirt.
The home side responded, swarming forward in search of an equaliser, but Fabianski would not be beaten as Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Kane were all thwarted.
In the middle of the Swansea keeper's heroics, Dele Alli thought he had a strong case for a penalty when he tumbled under pressure from Sung-Yueng Ki, but referee Mike Jones shook his head.
There was still time for one more Fabianski stop before the interval and it was arguably the best of the bunch, as Rose's pass found Eric Dier six yards out only for the England midfielder's finish to be blocked by the Pole's right hand.
If Spurs had hoped half-time might break the Fabianski spell they would soon be disappointed as Eriksen's curling free-kick was clawed away and Kane's long shot was pushed around the post.
Rose went even closer with a stinging drive from range but it was the last of Fabianski's resistance as Tottenham finally found an equaliser from the resulting corner, substitute Chadli turning Kyle Walker's shot home from close range.
The roar of relief from the crowd had barely subsided when the hosts scored again as Eriksen's corner was headed out to Rose, who took one touch before firing low under Fabianski's body and into the net.
There were some nervy moments late on for the home fans as Lloris was called upon once more to deny Paloschi's angled volley but Spurs held on for a gutsy win that keeps their title challenge on track.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"If Carlsberg did Sunday's hahaha BUZZING YOU BEAUTYYYY, boys were MAGNIFICENT, COYSSSSSSSSSSSSS BEAUTYYYYYYY" - It's fair to say former Spurs midfielder Micky Hazard (@1MickyHazard) enjoyed the result.
Hugo Lloris: 8 (out of 10)
Kyle Walker: 8
Toby Alderweireld: 7
Kevin Wimmer: 6
Danny Rose: 8
Eric Dier: 6
Dele Alli: 7
Erik Lamela: 6
Christian Eriksen: 9
Son Heung-min: 6
Harry Kane: 7
Ryan Mason (on for Son, 75): 6
Nacer Chadli (on for Lamela, 63): 7
Josh Onomah (on for Kane, 84): 5
Lukasz Fabianski: 8
Neil Taylor: 7
Sung-Yueng Ki: 6
Ashley Williams: 7
Leon Britton: 6
Alberto Paloschi: 7
Andre Ayew: 7
Angel Rangel: 7
Gylfi Sigurdsson: 7
Jack Cork: 6
Federico Fernandez: 6
Leroy Fer (on for Britton, 75): 6
Bafetimbi Gomis (on for Ki, 83): 5
Modou Barrow (on for Paloschi, 88): 5
Christian Eriksen: The Dane was at his creative best at White Hart Lane, driving Spurs' attacks and threading numerous balls through for his teammates to latch on to. His performance deserved a goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Chadli's equaliser: Tottenham looked like they might just be having one of those days until Chadli finally grabbed an equaliser in the 70th minute. With 20 minutes still left, it gave the home side the impetus to go on and grab a winner.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
This was the sort of game from which Tottenham might well have dropped points in years gone by but Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted with his team's determination and patience to turn the contest around. Francesco Guidolin's men defended valiantly but he could hardly argue Swansea deserved the victory.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Who says it's in Tottenham's DNA to fall away? This match, coming after a Europa League fixture, looked tailor made for a surprise defeat but Spurs are made of sterner stuff these days and look ready to go the distance in the title race.
WHO'S UP NEXT
West Ham v Tottenham (Premier League, Wednesday 2 March)
Arsenal v Swansea (Premier League, Wednesday 2 March)