Distracted Spurs held at Brighton
Tottenham drop points but look ahead to Wembley
18 April, 2018 — By Richard Osley at the Amex Stadium
FA Premier League
SPURS 1 (Kane 48)
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1 (Gross pen 50)
IN another scenario, this would have been two points dropped for Spurs, but their midweek trip to the seaside clearly meant more to their hosts.
Barring an apocalyptic collapse, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are all but assured Champions League qualification, while every point counts for Brighton as they look to secure another season in the top flight.
There is also the no small matter of a FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United waiting for Spurs at the weekend, the last chance for the club to finally turn Pochettino’s careful plotting into silverware. You could forgive them for shifting the team about and being slightly distracted.
Harry Kane was hardly going to sit this one out, however, given his well-publicised attempt to chase down Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah in the race for golden boot. And sure enough, it was the England forward who put Tottenham ahead.
Brighton had defended diligently throughout the first half but a lapse in concentration after the interval allowed Son Heung-min to wriggle behind the back four, just keeping the ball in play before cutting it back to Kane. The striker roughed it in off a desperate lunge by Brighton skipper Bruno. It was definitely his goal.
The Seagulls have approached their first season in the Premier League without fear, however, and hit back just a couple of minutes later. Serge Aurier’s clumsy defending was caught out when Brighton winger Jose Izquierdo raced past him and his response was a botched tackle that brought him down in the box.
Pascal Gross, a gem of a player unearthed by Chris Hughton and his careful scouting team, tucked the penalty beyond Hugo Lloris.
Brighton seemed nervous to try and bet a precious point in search of a win, while Spurs’ enthusiasm for the task dwindled as the minutes passed.
On a slippy pitch in which players from both sides looked vulnerable to a tumble, it was more important to hear the final whistle in one piece.
The closest Tottenham came to heading back to London with three points was when Seagulls defender Shane Duffy almost turned the ball into his own goal and a shot screwed wide by Lucas Moura, the midfielder who arrived from PSG in the transfer window making his first start in the league.
We are staying up rang around the Amex Stadium at full time, but Pochettino was already in the press conference room fielding questions about his choice to rest players and the chance of ending Tottenham’s seven-match losing runs in FA Cup semi-finals.
“Today was not because we rotated the team. Everyone is ready to play but Brighton were very difficult opponents and we need to give credit to them,” the Tottenham manager said.
“We are a little disappointed with the draw because the intention was to win and get the three points but in the end it was 1-1.”
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Ryan, Bong, Bruno Saltor, Dunk, Duffy, Stephens, Kayal, Knockaert, Izquierdo (March 77), Gross, Murray (Ulloa 74)
Subs not used: Baldock, Goldson, Krul, Locadia, Schelotto
SPURS: Lloris, Aurier, Davies, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Wanyama, Sissoko (Dembele 74), Lucas (Lamela 74), Eriksen, Son, Kane (Llorente 85)
Subs not used: Dier, Foyth, Trippier, Vorm