FA Cup: West Ham Suffer Defeat As Southampton Relish Draw Against Tottenham

West Ham United’s French striker Sebastien Haller (L) controls the ball during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion at The London Stadium, in east London on January 25, 2020. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

West Ham crashed out of the FA Cup as their former manager Slaven Bilic led West Bromwich Albion to a surprise 1-0 win, while Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in Saturday’s fourth-round action.

Albion boss Bilic, sacked by the Hammers in 2017, made eight changes as he prioritised the Championship leaders’ push to return to the Premier League.

But Albion took a shock lead at the London Stadium when Conor Townsend drilled in his first goal for the club after nine minutes.

West Ham, struggling in the top-flight under new boss David Moyes and now without a win in four games, were given a lifeline when West Brom’s Semi Ajayi was sent off in the 72nd minute after his push earned a second yellow card.

Sebastien Haller should have equalised with a headed chance and Manuel Lanzini then dragged his shot wide, but Albion held on.

West Ham were jeered off by their furious fans, while Croatian Bilic, who also played for the east Londoners, celebrated a sweet success with his Albion players.

At St Mary’s, Christian Eriksen was left out amid reports in Italy suggesting the Tottenham midfielder has agreed to a move to Inter Milan, while Gedson Fernandes made his full debut for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Tottenham’s last visit to Southampton was a painful one, with Harry Kane suffering a torn hamstring in a Premier League defeat on New Year’s Day, a clash that saw Mourinho embroiled in a touchline row with a member of the Saints’ coaching staff.

Mourinho’s side struck in the 58th minute on their return to the south coast.

South Korea forward Son Heung-min fired home from Erik Lamela’s pass for his 12th goal of the season.

But Southampton hit back to equalise through Sofiane Boufal’s powerful strike from Danny Ings’ cross in the 87th minute.

 Newcastle frustrated 

Newcastle had to settle for an embarrassing 0-0 draw with third tier Oxford at St James’ Park as their wretched FA Cup form haunted them again.

Steve Bruce’s side are looking to make the fifth round for the first time since 2006, but they needed a replay to beat minnows Rochdale in the previous round and they will have to go the distance again after this limp display.

Burnley and Norwich made a combined total of 12 changes at Turf Moor, with the Canaries running out 2-1 winners.

Grant Hanley’s 53rd-minute goal and a 57th-minute strike from Josip Drmic put Norwich in control before Erik Pieters reduced the deficit in the 74th minute.

Cardiff fans were warned not to sing “racist or homophobic songs” after two incidents were reported during their 1-1 draw at fellow Championship side Reading.

Sheffield United won 2-0 at second-tier Millwall through Muhamed Besic’s 62nd-minute goal and Oliver Norwood’s 84th-minute strike.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s early goal sealed a 1-0 win for Leicester at Championship side Brentford.

Brendan Rodgers’ team are chasing a trip to Wembley on two fronts and they took the next step in the FA Cup after surviving a hard-fought fourth-round clash in west London.

Leicester, who have never won the FA Cup, are hoping to reach the final for the first time since 1969.

In the League Cup, they are through to the semi-finals and head to Aston Villa in the second leg on Tuesday after being held to a 1-1 draw in the first match at the King Power Stadium.

Despite Jamie Vardy’s absence with a glute injury, it took Leicester just four minutes to go ahead when Nigerian striker Iheanacho met James Justin’s cross with a clinical close-range finish.

Chelsea travel to second-tier Hull in Saturday’s late game.

AFP

Tottenham Target Willian Jose Pulls Out Of Real Sociedad Squad

Real Sociedad’s Brazilian forward Willian Jose gestures during the Spanish league football match between Real Sociedad and Villarreal CF at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on January 5, 2020.
ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

 

Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose withdrew from the squad to face Espanyol on Wednesday amid speculation he is close to joining Tottenham. 

Willian Jose has been key to la Real’s strong first half of the season in La Liga but asked the club to be removed from the squad to face Espanyol in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey.

“Last minute change to the squad: Lobete (number 35) comes in instead of Willian Jose. The forward has asked the club to be left out until his situation is clarified,” read a message posted on Real Sociedad’s official Twitter account.

AS and Marca had both reported on Wednesday afternoon that only the final details of the transfer were still to be agreed between the Spanish side and Spurs.

The 28-year-old’s contract, which he signed in 2018, contains a 70-million euro release clause but it is unlikely Tottenham would pay the full amount.

Willian Jose has scored eight goals in 22 games this season. The Brazilian would be tasked with filling the void at Spurs left by the injured Harry Kane.

AFP

Lloris Returns To Tottenham After Three-Month Absence

Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris warms up for the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 22, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris returned for his first appearance under Jose Mourinho against Norwich on Wednesday after over three months out with a dislocated elbow.

The French number one suffered the injury in conceding the first goal of a dispiriting 3-0 defeat to Brighton in early October.

Just over a month later, Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

The 32-year-old returned to training earlier this month but was not expected to feature until early February.

However, with Spurs badly in need of a win against the Canaries to boost their chances of a top-four Premier League finish, Mourinho dropped Paulo Gazzaniga to the bench, despite the Argentine saving a penalty in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Watford.

AFP

Watford Dent Spurs Champions League Hopes

Watford's English striker Troy Deeney controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on January 18, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Watford’s English striker Troy Deeney controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on January 18, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Watford held Tottenham to a goalless draw on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League and further damage Spurs’ Champions League ambitions.

When Nigel Pearson took over at Vicarage Road last month Watford looked doomed ro relegation but he has put together a remarkable run of results to lift the club out of the relegation zone.

It is a different story for Jose Mourinho’s Spurs who, without the injured Harry Kane and with uncertainty over the future of Christian Eriksen, could be 11 points off fourth spot by the end of the day.

But Pearson will feel Watford should have wrapped up all three points after his side squandered some golden chances in the second half and captain Troy Deeney saw his penalty saved.

Before kick-off there was a warm tribute from the fans to former manager Graham Taylor, who died three years ago.

It was the visitors who settled first, finding their rhythm from the kick-off, dominating possession and probing for openings on the edge of the Watford box .

But the home side broke dangerously in the second minute, with Gerard Deulofeu shooting wide of Paulo Gazzaniga’s goal.

That was a rare foray forward in the opening stages for Watford, who struggled to get on top of Mourinho’s men.

Son Heung-min looked lively on the left of Tottenham’s attack and had the first shot on target but despite all their posession Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster rarely looked troubled.

Watford threat

The  home side gradually worked their way into the game and started to see much more of the ball.

They had a good chance to test Gazzaniga when Japhet Tanganga was booked after bringing down Ismaila Sarr in a dangerous position just outside the penalty box but Nathaniel Chalobah wasted the opportunity.

Shortly before the half-hour there was a delay of several minutes as referee Michael Oliver was forced to change his communication kit, accompanied by the crowd chanting: “It’s not football any more.”

Foster saved from Son in the 30th minute and was down smartly to keep out a sharp Lucas Moura shot after a delightful through ball from Dele Alli.

Watford flew out of the blocks in the second half and could have been 2-0 up but for some poor finishing.

First Abdoulaye Doucoure scuffed the ball just wide after good work down the right by the dangerous Sarr before Sarr himself failed to connect properly from close range.

Although Watford were now well on top, Spurs continued to look dangerous on the break.

Alli headed over while Son shot after being released through the middle.

The decisive moment appeared to come with about 20 minutes to go when Spurs captain Jan Vertonghen was booked for handling Deulofeu’s shot in the penalty area.

Deeney stepped up and struck his shot firmly but Gazzaniga dived to his right to keep the ball out and the scores level.

Mourinho brought Eriksen off the bench and later introduced new signing Gedson Fernandes but it was Watford who continued to look the more dangerous side.

 

AFP

Tottenham Sign Gedson Fernandes For $73m

Gedson Fernandes/Tottenham

 

Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes became the first signing of the Jose Mourinho era at Tottenham on Wednesday as the manager bids to revive the club’s Premier League campaign.

The 21-year-old signed an 18-month loan deal with an option to make the transfer permanent for a reported £56 million ($73 million).

Fernandes will provide vital cover in midfield following a three-month lay-off for Moussa Sissoko, who has had knee surgery.

“We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement for the 18-month loan of Gedson Fernandes from Benfica with an option to make the transfer permanent,” said a club statement.

Fernandes, capped twice at senior level, told Spurs TV he was looking forward to working with compatriot Mourinho.

“All young players want to work with Jose Mourinho because he’s one of the best. All of us as players want to stay near the best, so it’s fantastic to work with him.”

“I have no words to say about the stadium because it is fantastic,” he added. “I have never been or seen anything like this, It is unbelievable.”

Fernandes was offered to Spurs by Mourinho’s friend and super agent Jorges Mendes and they beat off competition from West Ham, who were keen to bring him to London.

The potential reported fee would mark a huge mark-up from the 250 euros ($278) and 25 footballs Benfica reportedly gave to Fernandes’ club, Frielas, when he was 10.

Mourinho will be hoping that more arrivals may follow, particularly a striker following Harry Kane’s potentially season-ending hamstring injury, with the club eighth in the Premier League, nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

The club are understood to be interested in AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek while Christian Benteke, Edison Cavani and even former striker Fernando Llorente have been linked.

There could also be departures at Spurs this month, with Kyle Walker-Peters hoping to join Crystal Palace on loan while the club are trying to offload Christian Eriksen in order to get a fee for him.

Firmino Stars As Liverpool Beat Tottenham

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (2L) shoots but sees his shot saved during the English Premier League football match against Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 11, 2020. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards a first Premier League title in 30 years as Roberto Firmino’s strike earned a 1-0 win at Tottenham to open up a 16-point lead at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have now made the best ever start to an English top-flight campaign after 21 games with 61 points from a possible 63.

There is now a 31-point gap between the sides that contested last season’s Champions League final as Spurs remain in eighth, nine points adrift of even the top four.

However, Tottenham had their chances to take at least a point as Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso missed the target with the goal gaping in the final 15 minutes.

Lo Celso’s miss left Jose Mourinho on his knees in anguish and the honeymoon period for the Tottenham manager is already over after just two wins in their last eight games in all competitions.

Mourinho sprang a huge surprise with his team selection as Japhet Tanganga was handed his Premier League debut in defence.

The 20-year-old was forced into action straight away as he blocked Firmino’s goalbound effort before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the post inside four minutes.

Spurs will be without Harry Kane for most of the remainder of the season after the England captain underwent surgery on a torn hamstring.

Mourinho responded to Kane’s absence by utilising Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in attack as he sat back and hoped to catch the European champions on the break.

Spurs did have openings which could have changed the course of the game early on as both Lucas and Son fired wide from the edge of the box.

However, it was largely one-way traffic before half-time as Liverpool controlled the game and waited patiently for Spurs’ fragile defence to break.

Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in 13 games since Mourinho took charge and their luck ran out eight minutes before half-time as Tanganga’s inexperience showed as he tried to intercept Mohamed Salah’s pass into Firmino and the Brazilian fired across Paulo Gazzaniga into the far corner.

Salah could have put the game to bed before the break, but pulled his shot wide.

Mourinho’s men showed more ambition in the second period and should have reaped some reward.

Serge Aurier forced Alisson Becker into action before Son’s deflected shot trickled just wide.

At the other end, Gazzaniga kept the home side in the game with a brilliant save low to his left from Sadio Mane’s downward header.

The Argentine’s heroics nearly proved crucial as firstly Son had a huge chance to level when played in by Lucas, but the South Korean uncharacteristically blasted over the bar.

Liverpool were let off the hook again seven minutes from time when Lo Celso was perfectly picked out by Aurier’s cross and seemed to do everything right as he slid in to connect, only to see the ball fly wide and Mourinho fall to the floor in despair.

AFP

Mourinho Says Kane ‘Irreplaceable’ Ahead Of Tottenham, Liverpool Clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he would get “depressed” if he wallowed in the news that Harry Kane is to be missing for at least three months.

The Spurs striker has undergone surgery on a torn hamstring that will see him miss the majority of the remainder of the season at club level and in a race to be match fit to lead England at Euro 2020.

“If I speak too much about Harry, I get a bit depressed and then you are going to say he is miserable and in a bad mood,” said Mourinho, ahead of Premier League leaders Liverpool’s visit to north London on Saturday.

“Harry is irreplaceable. You know that we cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is in the team. We cannot do it the same way as we do with Harry.”

Spurs have been linked with a move for AC Milan’s Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek as cover for Kane’s absence with Tottenham needing to chase down a six-point gap to Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League next season.

However, Mourinho said he is willing to wait until the summer to add to his squad.

“If the boss arrives with the solution for these difficult months then so be it,” added the Portuguese.

“But if we don’t find the right opportunity or the right solution we are going to wait until summer to make decision for the evolution of the team.”

Kane is just one of a host of absences Mourinho must contend with for the visit of the European champions, who are looking for a record 20th win from their opening 21 games to the league season.

Moussa Sissoko is also absent until April, while Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Tanguy Ndombele remain out.

Club captain Lloris has at least returned to training after three months out with a dislocated elbow suffered in a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Brighton in October.

The French number one has yet to feature under Mourinho, but he is looking forward to being able to call on Lloris’s experience after a difficult spell for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

“Lloris has not played a game for me. Ben has played one and did very, very well. It’s good news. By the end of the month we will have two new players,” Mourinho added.

“We have a goalkeeper that is doing his best and we have confidence in him but for Hugo to be back after such an important injury is good for him.”

No Quick Fixes For Tottenham In Transfer Window, Says Mourinho

 

Jose Mourinho says Tottenham will be “intelligent” in the January transfer window and there will be no quick fixes at the Premier League club.

Mourinho has repeatedly said that he will not be overhauling his squad this month and that any business could be dependent on players leaving.

One player who appears to be on his way out of the club is midfielder Christian Eriksen, whose contact expires in June, but it is not certain he will depart this month.

Mourinho, whose side have stumbled in recent weeks, walked into the club with his eyes wide open and said he was on the same page as chairman Daniel Levy.

“That was very clear for me and is very important for me to understand that before I came,” said the Portuguese boss, who took over from the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

“This is our first transfer window, not the last,” he added. “We are going to have one in the summer, we are going to have one in 2021 January, we are going to have another one in the summer of 2021.

“We are going to have to try to be intelligent and we have to try to make the right decisions, not just for now, but for the development of a cycle.”

Spurs are struggling for numbers ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Middlesbrough.

Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Hugo Lloris are all injured and many players have played three games over the Christmas period.

Mourinho said he was likely to call on youth at the Riverside but emphasised that such a move did not mean the FA Cup was not important for the eight-time winners.

“Everybody’s going to be involved,” he said. “If you go to our squad and no Rose, no Davies, no Lloris, no Kane. I don’t know if Eric Dier will be ready but he is still to come back.

“When you say no, no, no, no, no you have to say (Oliver) Skipp, (Japhet) Tanganga, (Troy) Parrott, the young boys in.”

AFP

Southampton Edge Tottenham As Kane Limps Off Injured

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld (C) vies with Southampton’s Irish striker Shane Long (2nd R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 1, 2020.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Tottenham’s push for a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered another setback on Wednesday as Danny Ings’s winner handed Southampton a well-deserved 1-0 win at St Mary’s, while England striker Harry Kane limped off with a hamstring injury.

Ings produced the one real moment of quality in the game by lifting the ball over Toby Alderweireld before firing home his ninth goal in as many Premier League starts to lift the Saints up to 12th, six points clear of the relegation zone.

There was little response from Jose Mourinho’s men as they slipped six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, apart from the moment when Kane injured himself as he converted Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but was flagged offside before hobbling down the tunnel.

READ ALSO: Brighton Deny Chelsea Vital Win In New Year Fixture

Ings’s goals have shot Southampton out of the bottom three in recent weeks and Spurs were unable to cope with the threat the former Liverpool striker early on.

Inside the first five minutes, Ings saw a shot blocked inside the area before right-back Cedric Soares headed wastefully wide from Ryan Bertrand’s teasing cross.

Tottenham also had their chances at the other end in an open start as Alex McCarthy turned Kane’s deflected effort behind and Dele Alli saw half-hearted claims for a penalty waived away.

Travel-Sick Spurs

Spurs have now gone a calendar year without a clean sheet away from home in the league and it was no surprise that Ings proved too sharp and skillful for a defence that Mourinho has been unable to tighten up since taking charge six weeks ago.

Jack Stephens’s long ball over the top caught the Tottenham backline square and Ings coolly flicked the ball over the head of Alderweireld before slotting his 15th goal of the season past the helpless Paulo Gazzaniga.

Southampton could have been further ahead by the break as only a last-ditch block from Alderweireld prevented Nathan Redmond turning in Stuart Armstrong’s dangerous cross.

The Belgian defender was lucky to escape without conceding a penalty early in the second period as his arms were raised when he blocked Redmond’s cross inside the penalty area.

Referee Mike Dean waived away claims for a spot-kick and was surprisingly not overruled by a VAR review.

Southampton had only kept one clean sheet in the league since mid-September, but they coped comfortably as Kane, Alli, Eriksen, and Lucas Moura struggled to create.

Tottenham’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Kane pulled up as he slotted home Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time, but was flagged offside.

The visitors ended the game in search of an equaliser without a recognised striker on the pitch with Son Heung-min also absent due to suspension.

Mourinho’s frustration boiled over as he was shown a yellow card after an altercation with the Southampton bench.

Moura’s deflected shot that skewed just wide was the closest Tottenham came to an equaliser, but even a point would have been more than they deserved to leave Mourinho with plenty to ponder ahead of Liverpool’s visit in their next league outing in 10 days’ time.

AFP

Tottenham’s Defensive Mistakes Worry Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho reacts during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

 

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Tottenham’s inability to keep clean sheets after twice having to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Slack Spurs defending allowed Mario Vrancic to open the scoring and only a VAR review to harshly rule out Teemu Pukki’s goal prevented Mourinho’s men trailing 2-0 at half-time.

Even once the visitors had regained a foothold in the game via Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, they shot themselves in the foot at the back once more as Serge Aurier’s calamitous own goal restored Norwich’s lead.

Harry Kane’s penalty eight minutes from time ensured Spurs did not slump to a third defeat in seven games, but they failed to take the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

The area of the field with work to do for Mourinho remains obvious and his side have kept just one clean sheet in 10 games since he took over.

Tottenham’s season is being chronicled as an Amazon documentary and Mourinho believes the focus of that show should be on his side’s defending.

“I think if Amazon wants to do episodes, they will have for sure one episode about our defensive mistakes and the goals that we concede,” he told Sky Sports.

“We conceded two very bad goals, the first and the one that was offside but two very bad goals.

“Second half I think we were very, very good with the ball; we create, dominate with play but again the goal (conceded) is a very bad one.

“To score two goals away from home, you have to win. You cannot concede as many goals as we do, but our defensive mistakes are match after match.”

Tottenham could have been out of sight inside the first 15 minutes as Dele Alli fired wastefully over before Kane was denied by a fine save from Tim Krul when one-on-one.

At the other end, Vrancic could not believe his luck as Toby Alderweireld stood off and allowed him to close in on goal before firing low past Paulo Gazzaniga to open the scoring 18 minutes in.

Only VAR prevented Tottenham falling further behind before the break as Jan Vertonghen allowed Pukki to control Vrancic’s ball over the top and the Finn finished clinically.

However, Pukki’s joy was short-lived as he was harshly adjudged to be offside after a VAR review.

“The disallowed goal was tough to take,” said Norwich manager Daniel Farke. “It’s not in the sense of the game.”

Mourinho showed his displeasure with Spurs’ first 45 minutes by making two half-time substitutions and changing his system as Lucas Moura and Davinson Sanchez replaced Juan Foyth and Vertonghen.

The Portuguese got the upturn in performance he desired as the visitors were level 10 minutes into the second half after Jamal Lewis handled on the edge of his own area to prevent Kane a clear sight of goal.

Eriksen has been a peripheral figure both under Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season due to his contractual standoff with the club that will most likely see the Dane leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But he produced a timely reminder of his quality by curling the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Moments later, the ball was in the Norwich net again but this time the offside flag went in the hosts’ favour as Alli’s classy finish was ruled out.

Just as Tottenham seemed to have taken control, the tide turned again in the other direction as Norwich retook the lead in comical fashion.

Aurier turned the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted into his path from Alderweireld’s tackle on Pukki.

Spurs laid seige towards the Norwich goal in the final quarter and not for the first time this season Farke’s men were unable to see the game out.

Kane was wiped out by Zimmermann as he cut inside and the England captain picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty.

AFP

Norwich Hold Tottenham In Premier League

Norwich City’s Cuban-born German midfielder Onel Hernandez (R) is pressured by Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivorian defender Serge Aurier (L) during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on December 28, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s penalty eight minutes from time salvaged a point for Tottenham in a 2-2 thriller at Norwich on Saturday that exposed both sides’ inability to defend.

The bottom-of-the-table Canaries twice led through Mario Vrancic and a Serge Aurier own goal as they aimed to breath new life into their hopes of Premier League survival.

Christian Eriksen’s brilliant free-kick and Kane’s spot-kick ensured Spurs did not slump to a third defeat in seven games, but they failed to take the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

The area of the field with work to do for Jose Mourinho remains obvious and Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in 10 games since he took over and were guilty of some calamitous defending.

Norwich find themselves marooned at the foot of the table, six points from safety, but have played plenty of good football only to be found wanting in both boxes in their first season back in the top flight.

The Canaries slackness at the back could have cost them early on as Kane teed up Dele Alli to fire wastefully over before Kane was played in by one simple long ball by Toby Alderweireld, but Tim Krul raced from his goal to save.

At the other end, Vrancic could not believe his luck as Alderweireld stood off and allowed him to close in on goal before firing low past Paulo Gazzaniga to open the scoring 18 minutes in.

Only VAR prevented Tottenham falling further behind before the break as Jan Vertonghen allowed Teemu Pukki to control Vrancic’s ball over the top and the Finn finished clinically when one-on-one with Gazzaniga.

However, Pukki’s joy was short-lived as he was harshly adjudged to be offside after a VAR review.

Mourinho showed his displeasure with Spurs’ first 45 minutes by making two half-time substitutions and changing his system as Lucas Moura and Davinson Sanchez replaced Juan Foyth and Vertonghen.

The Portuguese got the upturn in performance he desired as only a brilliant block by Christoph Zimmermann denied Alli an equaliser just two minutes after the restart.

Eight minutes later, the visitors were level as Jamal Lewis handled on the edge of his own area to prevent Kane a clear sight of goal.

Eriksen has been a peripheral figure both under Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season due to his contractual standoff with the club that will most likely see the Dane leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But he produced a timely reminder of his quality by curling the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Moments later, the ball was in the Norwich net again but this time the offside flag went in the hosts’ favour as Alli’s classy finish was ruled out.

Just as Tottenham seemed to have taken control, the tide turned again in the other direction as Norwich retook the lead in comical fashion.

Aurier turned the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted into his path from Alderweireld’s tackle on Pukki.

Spurs laid seige towards the Norwich goal in the final quarter and not for the first time this season Daniel Farke’s men were unable to see the game out.

Kane was wiped out by Zimmermann as he cut inside and the England captain picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty.

 

Tottenham Fight Back To Beat Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

Dele Alli got Tottenham back on track as the England midfielder capped a gritty escape act with the late winner in Thursday’s 2-1 victory against Brighton.

Jose Mourinho’s side were in danger of a second successive Premier League defeat when Adam Webster headed Brighton into a shock lead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But Harry Kane equalised after the interval and Alli finished off a flowing Tottenham move in the closing stages to erase the bitter taste of last weekend’s acrimonious London derby loss to Chelsea.

Avenging their defeat at Brighton in October, Tottenham, unbeaten in Boxing Day fixtures since 2003, have won three of their last four league games as they try to climb into the top four.

That Chelsea setback was completely overshadowed by the alleged racist abuse of Blues defender Antonio Rudiger by Tottenham fans after his role in Son Heung-min’s red card.

Amid widespread calls for stronger action to stamp out racism in football, Tottenham fans appeared to behave better this time.

Initially, there were worrying signs for Mourinho on the field however as Steven Alzate escaped Moussa Sissoko, making space for a low strike that drifted just wide.

Since Mourinho’s first game in charge of Tottenham, no Premier League team had conceded more goals than the 14 his side allowed across all competitions heading into this round of matches.

Those defensive frailties were on display when Alzate lost his marker and forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a sprawling save, while Aaron Mooy went close from the edge of the area.

Kane has a knack of scoring on Boxing Day and the Tottenham striker thought he had netted again when he fired home from Winks’ pass, but the goal went to a VAR review and was ruled out by the narrowest of offside decisions.

Clinical Kane

Brighton made the most of that let-off to take the lead in the 37th minute.

Pascal Gross swung over a free-kick and Webster rose above Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez to plant a powerful header past Gazzaniga for his third goal of the season.

Mourinho must have been furious that Tottenham wilted against such a simple set-piece and his team’s record of one clean-sheet in his nine matches suggests a defender could be high on his January shopping list.

Underlining the urgency to address that problem area, Brighton’s Bernardo forced Gazzaniga to save from a corner moments later to the audible frustration of the Tottenham crowd on a dank, wet day in north London.

Mourinho, standing rain-soaked on the touchline, revealed before the game that his Christmas was ruined by the death of his family’s pet Yorkshire Terrier.

But Kane put a smile back on his manager’s face in the 53rd minute when he seized on a deflection off Lucas Moura after the Brazilian’s determined run.

Drilling a shot that Mat Ryan could only push back out, Kane gobbled up the rebound with a clinical finish for his eighth goals in five Premier League games on Boxing Day.

Kane’s 16th club goal this season was not immediately a catalyst for a Tottenham surge and Gazzaniga had to be alert to keep out Gross’s fierce free-kick.

But Mourinho made a significant switch when he sent on Christian Eriksen for Harry Winks, who moments before was lucky to escape a red card for a foul when he had already been booked.

Eriksen made an immediate impact in the 72nd minute when he floated a delicate pass to Serge Aurier who flicked the ball into the path of Alli, who guided a superb lofted finish over Ryan.

 

AFP