Dier strike earns Spurs victory over Cardiff
Mauricio Pochettino's men struggle to throw off Barcelona hangover, but still do enough to secure important three points at Wembley
06 October, 2018 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
SPURS 1 (Dier, 8)
CARDIFF CITY 0
SPURS saw out a hard-fought 1-0 victory against struggling Cardiff City at Wembley this afternoon, moving up to third in the table and a point off Liverpool and Manchester City, who meet tomorrow.
It was a dominant, if lethargic, display, with Spurs enjoying 75 per cent of possession but failing to turn their superiority into more than a one-goal lead. Cardiff had Joe Ralls sent off in the second half for a terrible challenge on Lucas Moura yet Spurs were content to secure a win without looking to add to their goal difference.
On the back of the adrenaline-fuelled evening when Barcelona came to visit four days earlier, it was always going to be coming down with a bit of bump, but Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was happy enough with three points.
He said: “It was not the best performance but we are happy with the victory and points, that’s the most important thing.
“We are now in a good position in the table.”
He added that he felt the side showed strength after the experience of facing the Catalans at home during the week.
He added: “To play after the defeat of Barcelona is difficult.
“While we are happy with the victory, we know we can and need to play better to be a competitor.”
Spurs took the lead on eight minutes when Eric Dier reacted first to a knock-down in the box from Davinson Sanchez. He turned and stroked it home.
Cardiff then found their rhythm after struggling for the opening 20 minutes. Their forwards, Junior Holiett and Sol Bamba, were full of running and did their best to nullify Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier from getting forward too much.
With Spurs missing the creativity of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele, it was the full-backs who were asked to offer width.
At the start of the second half, Harry Kane sent a header goalwards which City keeper Neil Etheridge did well to get to. His stop fell nicely for Moura, and the Brazillian looked like he must score – but Cardiff centre-back Sean Morrison was on hand to get it off the line.
On 58, Cardiff’s number eight Ralls was made to look silly by the pace of Moura and reacted by committing as blatant a foul as you are likely to see this season, scything him down at waist height with a clump. Referee Mike Dean needed no second glance to give a straight red.
It merely accentuated the possession Spurs enjoyed, but still they struggled to see off a determined if limited Cardiff team.
And City even went close when a deep free-kick was swung in and Sean Morrison hit the post with a header, but the result was never really in doubt. Spurs looked heavy in the legs after their midweek exertions in the Champions League, but still had enough in the tank to condemn Cardiff, yet to win this season, to another defeat.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Rose (Davies, 86), Alderweireld, Sanchez, Son (Lamela, 71) Winks, Kane, Dier, Sissoko (Wanyama, 85) Moura.
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Llorente, Skipp.
Cardiff: Etheridge, Bennett, Morrison, Manga, Arter, Ralls, Murphy, Paterson (Ward, 77, Reid, 84) Camarasa, Bamba, Hoilett (Harris, 77).
Subs not used: Murphy, Richards, Zohore, Reid, Gunnarsson.