Monday 23 September 2019

Depleted Spurs hang on after being given a scare

Wolves 2 Tottenham 3

Lucas Moura was on the mark for Tottenham. Photo: PA
Lucas Moura was on the mark for Tottenham. Photo: PA

Steve Madeley

Tottenham held off a spirited Wolves comeback to claim a nervous win at Molineux on a night when their thinning resources threatened to cost them.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino rested Davinson Sanchez and Dele Alli and lost midfielder Mousa Dembele after just six minutes to add to his mounting injury problems. His side looked destined to make light of such issues when they surged into a 3-0 lead courtesy of Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane.

Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers scores his team's second goal. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers scores his team's second goal. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Yet with Premier League debutant Juan Foyth struggling in the second half at the heart of defence and Spurs' threadbare midfield surrendering control, the home side roared back with penalties by Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez.

It left Spurs fighting to hold onto a victory that had seemed assured.

After an opening spell strewn with errors from both sides, Wolves enjoyed the first spell of pressure and twice tried their luck at the Tottenham goal.

First Jimenez sent a dipping shot just over Hugo Lloris's crossbar and then Matt Doherty drew a routine save from the Spurs goalkeeper after powering his way down the Wolves right.

Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur scores his team's second goal. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur scores his team's second goal. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

There was a further scare for Spurs on 21 minutes when a poor pass by Ben Davies was intercepted by Jimenez, who rolled a pass to the feet of Ivan Cavaleiro.

But the Portuguese winger saw his effort charged down on the edge of the penalty area.

But there was hope for the visitors when Harry Kane powered his way clear of Willy Boly in the Wolves defence and hit a firm, low shot that brought a smart save from Rui Patricio.

Tottenham's class was apparent, however, when Lamela gave them the lead with a goal of real quality on 27 minutes.

The Argentine collected a pass from Kieran Trippier, held the ball to await the right opportunity and then played a clever one-two with Son Heung-min before sliding a perfect, low shot past Patricio.

Just two minutes later it was 2-0 as Son spread play wide to Trippier, he crossed to the far post and Moura made the most of Ryan Bennett and Doherty's indecision to plant an unmarked header past Patricio.

Wolves were denied a route back into the game in controversial fashion before half-time when Jimenez forced home a close-range effort, only for provider Doherty to be incorrectly ruled offside.

Tottenham should have been pegged back five minutes into the second half, however, when a powerful run by Helder Costa set up Jimenez for a golden chance.

His firm effort was beaten away by Lloris and should have given Costa a simple follow-up, only for the winger to slip at the decisive moment.

Lloris twice had to be alert in the moments that followed, first to deny Costa with a smart, near-post save, then to scramble a skidding effort from Joao Moutinho around the post.

But Spurs made sure of their victory just after the hour mark as Wolves again allowed Lamela to wriggle through their ranks and he crossed for Kane, who followed up emphatically after his initial shot was parried by Patricio.

And Kane might have added to his tally moments later but was denied by Patricio, who prevented a dipping, curling effort finding the top corner.

Wolves reduced the arrears on 68 minutes when Jimenez went down under a challenge by Premier League debutant Foyth, and Neves drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom corner of the net.

But straight away Patricio had to make another smart save to deny Kane.

Costa should have given Wolves real hope with 14 minutes remaining when he raced onto Neves's superb pass, only to prod a shot wide of goal.

But with 11 minutes remaining Wolves did set up the grandstand finish as Foyth pulled back Jonny Castro Otto and Jimenez took over penalty duties, firing low past Lloris to make it 3-2.

 

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