Tottenham Hotspur captain Heung-Min Son marked his return from Asia Cup duty by setting up their injury-time winner against Brighton & Hove Albion which lifts them into the top four.
In a game of waves, Brighton dominated the first 20 minutes but then struggled to get out of their half until the final quarter of the game.
The visitors went in front when Pascal Gross sent Guglielmo Vicario the wrong way from the spot after Micky van der Ven brought down Danny Welbeck in the box.
Though having most of the play, Tottenham’s final ball was lacking and it took a bit of luck when just after the hour mark Pape Matar Sarr saw his cross deflected onto the post by Lewis Dunk and then was able to turn home the rebound.
After the goal, Son came onto the field bringing an abundance of positive energy with him, but it looked like Brighton would hold on for a point before he burst down the left flank in the last minute of injury time and crossed for Brennan Johnson to tap home at the far post.
Spurs are currently fourth above Aston Villa who play Manchester United on Sunday. Brighton are eighth.
Talking Point – An iconic return for Son
Tottenham have had better players than Heung-Min Son, but few will be as fondly remembered when he eventually leaves N17. His well-established classy nature, which he showed this week humble in defeat to Jordan in the Asia Cup semi-final, is matched by a burning desire to help Tottenham succeed.
They have been fortunate his absence coincided with Richarlison’s fine run of form, but with the Brazilian striker not being able to produce in front of goal this afternoon, the Korean was required to come to the fore. Having just equalised the home crowd was loud when he entered the field but he implored them to give more and his positive energy drove Spurs for the next 10 minutes as they looked for the lead. Then in the sixth minute of injury time, maybe the best counter-attacking player of his generation gave everything he had to drive past the Brighton defence and put the ball on a plate for Johnson’s winner.
Player of the Match – Heung-Min Son (Tottenham Hotspur)
Both stars returning from the Asia Cup put their stamp on the game, with Kaoro Mitoma was as classy as any player on display and only a fantastic save from Vicario denied him doubling Brighton’s lead before half time. Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour were also equal parts tenacious and classy in midfield for them, while centre backs Lewis Dunk and Jan Paul van Hecke gave everything in defence. The award has to go to the player who refused to allow the game to end as a draw though.
Tottenham: Vicario 7; Porro 6, Romero 6, van de Ven 6, Udogie 6; Sarr 7, Bentancur 6, Maddison 7; Kulusevski 6, Richarlison 7, Werner 7.
Subs: Johnson 7, Son 8*, Bissouma 6, Davies 6, Hojberg 6.
1′ GREAT STOP FROM VICARIO Awful error on the halfway line from van der Ven and Welbeck raced to the edge of the box before turning inside Bentancur and curling an effort inside the far post which the goalkeeper stretched to push away.
16′ PENALTY FOR BRIGHTON! Nice interplay in the Spurs box and Welbeck was caught by van der Ven and the referee points to the spot. They will check of course – but it stands!
17′ GOAL FOR BRIGHTON (GROSS)! He sends Vicario the wrong way.
30′ GREAT STOP FROM VICARIO For the second time the Spurs stopper has denied a Brighton goal. He started the problem rolling the ball to a player under pressure and it eventually finds its way to Mitoma who toe-poked an effort heading into the far corner which Vicario pushed wide.
39′ GOOD STOP FROM STEELE Kulusevski was played in by Richarlison eight yards from goal but his effort was pushed away by the Brighton stopper.
61′ GOAL FOR SPURS (SARR)! Sarr finishes after he initially tried to pull back for Richarlison and Dunk’s interception came back off the post and the midfielder turned in from a tight angle.
90+6′ GOAL FOR TOTTENHAM (JOHNSON)! Johnson turns home at the back post after a fine cross from Son.