Son hits winner in another Spurs late show
After last-gasp strikes earned victories against Fulham and Watford, persistence pays off again for Mauricio Pochettino's side
02 February, 2019 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
SPURS 1 (Son, 83)
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
THERE is something deeply satisfying about this Spurs side’s continuing trick of grinding out league wins when the clock is running down and doubt seeps off the stands.
Today, Heung-min Son’s 83rd-minute strike was enough to move Spurs into second place against a Newcastle team who were set up to defend at all costs and perhaps sneak back up the A1 with a no-score bore draw.
But the idea of holding out for an entire 90 against Spurs, who keep the late goals coming, is a big ask, and a test Newcastle eventually could not complete.
Spurs had snatched three points with a last-gasp winner against Fulham two weeks ago, and did the same against Watford in the next fixture. Their persistence and perseverance paid off again today.
Speaking post-match, Mauricio Pochettino said his players were getting what they deserved for their efforts.
He said: “We deserved the victory as we dominated the game. We had control and were patient. Newcastle were well organised and did not give us too much space, but our game was good.
“We created chances but did not score in the first half to break the game open.”
He said substitute Fernando Llorente offered a different approach that paid dividends.
He said: “We tried to find a new way with Fernando, to be more direct.”
And he added that his side fully deserved to be breathing down the necks of leaders Liverpool.
“We are in a good position in the table,” he added. “But we do not need to be there today to convince ourselves about our capacity and potential. We always believe in ourselves. We will fight until the end to be as close as we can.”
Newcastle have tried the tactic of everyone behind the ball over and over this term and had mixed results. It gave Spurs plenty of possession, but they ran into congested areas with frustrating regularity.
The first chance came on 13 minutes, when Lucas Moura broke the offside trap and met a Christian Eriksen cross. The Brazilian had all the time he could want to pick a spot. Instead, he closed his eyes and wildly miscued wide.
Ten minutes later, Erik Lamela went closer. A bouncing ball sat up for him at the back post and he met it well, only to strike the crossbar.
The second half saw a similar pattern emerge. Newcastle’s occasional breaks forward consisted of long balls for Ayoze Perez to chase, a tactic that played to the strengths of Davinson Sanchez. He looked like he could comfortably handle the entire Newcastle attack on his own.
Yet still the visitors kept Spurs at bay, with the scores remaining level through a mixture of bad finishing, poor final balls, luck and some determined, if unceremonious, defending.
For much of the last 45, Spurs struggled to find a way to turn possession into decent chances, the closest being when Christian Eriksen cleverly flicked a near post cross goalwards but saw Fabian Schar bundle it off the line.
And then came the moment to won it.
On 83, Toby Aldeweireld’s long ball was met by Llorente’s chest. It fell for Son, who steadied and, from the edge of the box, rifled a shot with a mix of power and pace. The otherwise solid Toon keeper Martin Dubravka could not keep it out – and another hard-fought victory was on the board.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Son (Dier, 88) Winks, Lamela (Rose, 77), Sissoko, Eriksen, Moura (Llorente, 59).
Subs: Gazzaniga, Rose, Wanyama, Walker-Peters, Foyth.
Newcastle: Dubravka, Schar, Lascelles, Rondon, Richie (Barreca, 85), Hayden, Perez, Lejeune, Yedlin, Atsu (Kenedy, 81), Longstaff.
Subs: Woodman, Clark, Fernandez, Manquillo, Joselu, Barreca.
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