Serge Aurier’s first goal for Tottenham Hotspur and a late effort by Son Heung-min sealed a 2-0 win for the hosts over Brighton and Hove Albion to restore their place in the top four of the Premier League on Wednesday.
Aurier’s 40th-minute cross completely deceived Brighton goalie Mat Ryan and the ball drifted into net to break the deadlock on a largely frustrating evening for the hosts who struggled to conjure clear chances.
Tottenham lacked zip against a defensively-minded Brighton and there were some jitters in the home defence after the break.
Tomer Hemed had Brighton’s best chance for an equaliser with a snap-shot but South Korean Son wrapped up the points with a glancing header late on from Christian Eriksen’s free kick for his fourth goal in four games.
After a bright start to the season Brighton have now lost four of their last five league games but they proved stubborn opponents and Tottenham never looked like repeating their five-goal haul against Stoke City at the weekend.
Top scorer Harry Kane was kept largely quiet, although he did smash a free kick against the post late on.
Ivorian Aurier made the breakthrough for Spurs in the 40th minute in bizarre circumstances.
Taking possession on the right touchline with Jose Izquierdo lunging in to try and challenge him he delivered a cross that bamboozled a red-faced Ryan.
The referee’s assistant had actually flagged for a foul on Aurier but the goal was allowed to stand.
Tottenham enjoyed 75 percent possession and made 751 passes to Brighton’s 245, but they were fortunate when Hemed’s shot went straight at a grateful Hugo Lloris.
Son wrapped it up late on as Tottenham warmed up for Saturday’s trip to runaway leaders Manchester City with a valuable, if not pretty, three points to move back into the Champions League places.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said his side were getting used to opponents arriving at Wembley to sit deep.
“I’m very pleased for the victory and the effort,” he said, agreeing that Aurier’s fortutitous goal had been the break they needed. “It’s not frustrating (to play against defensive teams). They play the way they want.
“My focus is on making sure we move the ball quickly and find space.” -- Reuters