Boro 1-2 Spurs - match in focus
Report from Riverside Stadium
24 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Heung-Min Son’s goal-den spell continued as we ran out deserved 2-1 winners at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The South Korean star buried two beauties at the Riverside to take his tally to four in the Premier League this term. He’s already equalled his league goals total from last season.
The only mystery on Teesside was how Middlesbrough were still in the game after we dominated the first half and created numerous chances. Indeed, the shot count ended 19-6 in our favour.
Son opened his account by drifting in from the right and finishing low in a crowded box and then topped that effort with a sublime curler after it looked like he’d run out of room.
Further chances arrived for Christian Eriksen, Moussa Sissoko and most notably Dele Alli, but it stayed 2-0 at the break.
The pattern remained in the second half but a double substitution – Adama Traore and Jordan Rhodes coming on – inspired the home side.
Ben Gibson responded with a header as Boro pushed on but we remained in control and while it was a nervy ending, in truth there were few heart-stopping moments as we stretched our unbeaten run to six matches at the start of this Premier League campaign, claiming our third victory in six days in all competitions in the process.
Mauricio Pochettino was forced to make changes following the injuries picked up by Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Harry Kane against Sunderland last weekend. Vincent Janssen was handed a start up front, while sitting in front of the back four was the midfield pairing of Victor Wanyama and Alli. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou was introduced off the bench late in the game for his English top flight debut, having made the matchday squad for the first time in the Premier League.
Goal: Middlesbrough 0-1 Spurs – Heung-min Son - 7mins
After we controlled the opening exchanges with Sissoko curling narrowly over, we were grateful to Hugo Lloris five minutes in when he rushed off his line to clear a through ball off the toes of Alvaro Negredo. A minute later, Alli drew a fine save from Victor Valdes from distance before the deadlock was broken in the seventh minute. We piled the pressure on following a corner and Janssen showed great patience and strength to hold off his marker and roll the ball into the path of Son, who jinked through the box and lashed a left-footed shot under the body of Valdes from 10 yards.
Goal: Middlesbrough 0-2 Spurs – Heung-min Son - 23mins
Son continued his fine run of form in style with a top drawer finish to make it 2-0 midway through the half. He wriggled away inside the Boro box on the left-hand side and was tackled but refused to give it up. Having stolen back possession, he worked his way back and unleashed an unstoppable curling shot into the top corner that gave Valdes no chance.
Chances: Eriksen and Sissoko denied – 35mins
We were in total control and it took some fine last-ditch defending to deny us a third. Son was the provider this time as his cross was collected by Eriksen who looked certain to score but for a fine block from George Friend. The rebound dropped to Sissoko who tried to hit the target from the right side of the box but Valdes did well to close the angle and beat his drive away. One minute later, we wanted a penalty when Alli appeared to be tripped by Cristhian Stuani but the referee signalled for a goal-kick.
Chance: Alli squanders a gift – 43mins
Boro over-played inside their box under pressure which allowed Eriksen to pick the pocket of Calum Chambers. He squared it for the unmarked Alli who, sensing pressure from Valdes, shot first time with his left foot, but he blasted over the bar.
Chance: Alli fires over – 62mins
The second half began in the same manner as the first as we controlled for long periods, yet the third goal eluded us. Boro were galvanised by a double substitution on the hour mark and Traore made an instant impact with a rampaging run that forced Lloris to come sharply off his line and clear the danger. Shortly afterwards, we went forward once more and Alli found space outside the box, but fizzed his effort narrowly over the bar.
Goal: Middlesbrough 1-2 Spurs – Ben Gibson - 66mins
The home side found a way back into the game from a set play. Stewart Downing sent a curling free-kick in from the left and Gibson clambered above Sissoko to bundle a header back across goal and past Lloris from six yards.
Half-chance: Rhodes header gathered - 77mins
Sissoko was forced off soon afterwards and his replacement, Erik Lamela, proved useful going forward, as did Nkoudou with his lively forward runs after his introduction later on. It was a tense end to the game but the closest Boro went to an equaliser was on 77 minutes when Rhodes got on the end of Downing's cross but his header was comfortably stopped by Lloris. Son's angled effort was blocked and Lamela coaxed a save from Valdes at the other end either side of that opportunity while young Harry Winks was thrown into the centre of midfield for his first real taste of Premier League action after a very brief cameo at the end of last month's draw with Liverpool. Ultimately, we saw out the game to deservedly claim the points.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"We were fantastic in the first half and it’s a shame we only scored twice. We have to learn, we need to be more aggressive and clinical and improve our percentage in front of goal. If that doesn’t happen then the second half can be difficult to manage, you always allow the possibility of the opponent scoring a goal and then suffer. But I’m happy with the victory, we fully deserved the win after the 90 minutes and I’m very pleased for everyone."
Heung-Min Son said
"It was unbelievable, scoring two away goals against Middlesbrough after scoring two at Stoke. I’m very happy to score two goals and get three points. It wasn’t easy in the second half because they scored and then we had to defend. The most important thing is the three points. It was a difficult game, we defended well after they scored and I’m thankful to my team-mates."
Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Valdes; Barragan, Chambers, Gibson, Friend (c); De Roon, Clayton (Forshaw 82); Stuani, Ramirez (Traore 59), Downing; Negredo (Rhodes 59). Substitutes (not used): Guzan, Ayala, Fischer, Nsue.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Alli; Sissoko (Lamela 69), Eriksen (Nkoudou 90), Son; Janssen (Winks 86). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer.
Goals: Middlesbrough – Gibson 66; Spurs – Son 7, 23.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Walker 63; Middlesbrough - Traore 87, Friend 90+6.
Referee: Graham Scott.
Our UEFA Champions League adventure continues on Tuesday as we travel to Russia to face CSKA Moscow. The Russian champions took a point in their opening group game with a 2-2 draw away at Bayer Leverkusen. It will be our first trip to Russia since we beat Anji Makhachkala 2-0 in October, 2013.