Sunday 16 December 2018

Son's touch of magic enough for Spurs

Tottenham 1 Crystal Palace 0

Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring. Photo: Getty Images
Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring. Photo: Getty Images

Jack Pitt-Brooke

It was not hammering the European champions 3-1, but then it was never going to be.

Tottenham Hotspur came back down to earth at Wembley, but at least they landed on their feet by grinding out a victory over Crystal Palace.

Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur scores. Photo: Getty Images
Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur scores. Photo: Getty Images

Spurs were poor for most of this match and Roy Hodgson's Eagles had much the better chances to win it.

Three times early in the second-half, before Spurs scored, Palace should have taken the lead.

It was the unlikely figure of Paulo Gazzaniga, Spurs' third-choice goalkeeper, who stood in their way on his debut and kept Tottenham in the game.

Their hero, on a day when they needed one, was Son Heung-min. Starting in the absence of Dele Alli, he provided the game's only moment of real quality, curling in the only goal after 64 minutes.

Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace speak during the Premier League match. Photo: Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace speak during the Premier League match. Photo: Getty Images

Moussa Sissoko's shot was half cleared by Yohan Cabaye to Son on the edge of the box. With his first touch he trapped the ball with his right foot; with his second he bent a shot with his left beyond the dive of Julian Speroni and into the far corner of the net.

It was the only way Spurs were going to score; with something individually brilliant out of the blue.

They had not been creating good chances all game, with Harry Kane unusually quiet and Christian Eriksen struggling to find space.

Hodgson's two banks of four frustrated them and all of a sudden it felt like their first few games here at Wembley; where teams would show up, dig in, and Spurs would struggle to find a way through.

Once they had the goal, though, Spurs were safe enough and Son really should have had another, shooting into the side netting with eight minutes left after taking Jan Vertonghen's pass.

But it did not matter, and Spurs took their three points into the international break with them.

Alli will miss England's friendlies against Germany and Brazil with a hamstring problem, while Harry Winks, who also missed yesterday's match, will be assessed today.

(© Independent News Service)

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