LONDON, February 2: Tottenham left it late again, but Son Heung-min’s strike seven minutes from time earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday to leapfrog Manchester City into second place in the Premier League.
Spurs also struck at the death to beat Fulham and Watford in recent weeks to ensure they have kept pace in the league since Harry Kane and Dele Alli were injured.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men close to within four points of leaders Liverpool, who are in action at West Ham on Monday, but just as significantly open up a 10-point lead on Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.
In keeping with a season of struggle, Tottenham were forced all the way by a dogged Newcastle, buoyed by a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek that carried the Magpies five points clear of the relegation zone.
Club record £20 million signing Miguel Almiron did not have international clearance to make his debut so Rafael Benitez named the same side that started against City with the same gameplan to defend deep and frustrate their opponents.
Tottenham had the chances to make an early breakthrough and ensure a much more comfortable afternoon.
Fernando Llorente was left on the bench after the 33-year-old played the full 90 minutes in Spurs’ previous three games leaving Lucas Moura to lead the line.
The Brazilian had Spurs’ best chance of the first 45 minutes when he headed wide with the goal gaping from point-blank range.
Erik Lamela then saw another headed effort come back off the crossbar as Tottenham camped in the Newcastle half.
For all the hosts dominance of possession, Martin Dubravka was only forced into one serious save before the break when former Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko turned a well-worked corner towards goal.
A similar pattern followed in the second-half, but Newcastle nearly caught Spurs cold with a flowing counter-attack when Salomon Rondon’s powerful
header from DeAndre Yedlin’s cross came back off the post with Hugo Lloris stranded. (AFP)