English Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Crystal Palace

Tottenham boosted their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League by staging a dramatic late comeback to beat Crystal Palace.

Ange Postecoglou’s side were heading for back-to-back defeats after Eberechi Eze’s opener until two goals in three second-half minutes turned the game around.

Timo Werner scored his first goal for the club by converting Brennan Johnson’s cross in the 77th minute before Cristian Romero headed in James Maddison’s cross in the 80th.

Captain Son Heung-min swept home two minutes from time to seal the three points, moving his side to within two points of fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Werner had failed to convert when played clean through in a forgettable first half in which the hosts failed to break down Palace’s stubborn defence.

Eze’s sweetly struck free-kick put the visitors ahead in the 59th minute and there were grumbles from the home fans as chances were missed early in the second.

But, to their credit, Spurs stuck to their task to inflict a first defeat on Palace manager Oliver Glasner.

Villa can regain their five-point cushion with victory in the late kick-off – a visit to Luton Town.

Spurs leave it late

Had Spurs been beaten here, their season under Postecoglou would have been in danger of petering out, given they are already out of all cup competitions.

Instead, the pressure has been applied to Aston Villa as they hunt a top-four finish which will guarantee Champions League football next season, even if fifth could yet secure the deal.

The first half was one of frustration as Tottenham struggled for a cutting edge without striker Richarlison, who has been ruled out for a month with injury.

Werner had not scored since netting for RB Leipzig in October and his lack of confidence showed when through one-on-one with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the first half.

The German, though, could not miss when substitute Johnson, who proved the catalyst for the hosts, beat Joachim Andersen and Jefferson Lerma on the right and squared to the back post to leave the goal gaping.

Palace, 3-0 victors against Burnley last week in Glasner’s first game in charge, had defended solidly to that point but switched off at a throw-in soon after. They left Maddison free to lift a cross to the back post, where Romero climbed highest to nod in.

As the visitors pushed for a late equaliser, the ball broke for Son, who had hit the post shortly before Eze’s opener, and he converted supremely where his team-mate Werner had earlier failed.

Spurs have now scored in 38 league games in succession – run stretching back to the times of former manager Antonio Conte. It is this which will give them hope in their Champions League pursuit.

Palace can take heart from their start under Glasner and the goalscoring return of Eze, who on his first appearance since January because of a hamstring injury, curled in superbly from the edge of the box, having been hauled down on a dangerous drive towards goal.


Back to top button