Spurs see off cautious Brighton after fluke Aurier goal
Tottenham fix sights on a trip to play Manchester City after beating Seagulls
14 December, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
FA Premier League
SPURS 2 (Aurier 49, Son 87)
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 0
WITH one eye on an away trip to Champions Elect Manchester City on Saturday, perhaps Tottenham can be forgiven for a workmanlike performance on a freezing December night against a Brighton side who barely crossed the half way line.
But Spurs fans have it so deeply ingrained in their DNA that one goal is never enough and the frustration as Mauricio Pochettino’s team took an age to turn possession into goal attempts was palpable tonight (Wednesday).
While the final score means Spurs move back into the top four, it took a supremely lucky goal by full back Serge Aurier to break the deadlock and then a late, late header from Heung-Min Son to give the final score a sheen of respectability. This was a plodding performance, one it seems all concerned were happy to have out of the way.
Speaking after the game, Pochettino said his team deserved the rub of the green with Aurier’s fluke cross that flew into the top corner. He said: “We have had no luck for so long. When the opponent is sat so deep and not here to play but defend, it is not easy. The team created a lot chances before Aurier scored, but that is football.”
He said his players would approach their next game with confidence.
“I am so positive about going to Manchester City – we are going there to enjoy it,” said Pochettino. “It is a fantastic challenge. We will be playing the best team at the moment in England, one of the best in Europe and we love to play against these teams and I love to go against managers like Pep Guardiola.”
It was all Spurs from the off but Brighton kept them at bay until half time approached. Then Aurier jinked down the right and was fouled as he swung a boot to cross. Off balance, the ball flew wildly goalwards and over goalkeeper Mat Ryan into the net.
It was horrible for the Seagulls, but a slice of fortune Spurs perhaps deserved for their determination and Brighton’s extreme caution.
It was as you were for the second period – Brighton rarely troubled the home side, but Spurs found the going tough when it came to creating clear cut chances. While they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, they lacked the wit to make it count. Harry Kane went close on 84 minutes when his low free kick struck a post with Ryan stranded, but otherwise didn’t manage to truly threaten.
The points were made safe three minutes from time when Son stooped to head a Christian Eriksen free kick home from close range. With results elsewhere going Tottenham’s way – Arsenal and Liverpool both drew – the stodgy fare at Wembley tasted sweeter than it deserved to. And you can’t imagine Pochettino settling for anything like this level of performance when they go to Manchester in three days time.
SPURS: Lloris, Rose, Vertonghen, Son (Davies, 89), Kane, Lamela (Dele, 73), Dier, Sissoko, Eriksen, Aurier, Winks (Dembele, 66).
Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Llorente, Foyth.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Ryan, Bong, Dunk, Stephens, Kayal (Gross, 77), Hemed (Murray, 71), Knockaert, Izquierdo (March, 61), Schelotto, Duffy, Propper.
Subs not used: Krul, Bruno, Goldson, Brown
Attendance: 55,124 (Spurs playing home matches at Wembley)