Spurs 1-0 Newcastle - report from Wembley
Wed 09 May 2018, 21:39|Tottenham Hotspur
Champions League football was secured at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night as our 1-0 win over Newcastle United, coupled with Chelsea only drawing at home to Huddersfield Town, guaranteed a top four finish.
Harry Kane scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, his 28th in the Premier League and 39th in all competitions this term, but we weren’t at our best and had to dig deep right to the very end to take maximum points.
There wasn’t a great deal of real quality in terms of football during the first period but ironically there were a number of good chances for both teams.
We exchanged free-kicks in the opening quarter-of-an-hour, Christian Eriksen bringing a smart save out of Martin Dubvraka before Jonjo Shelvey struck the outside of the post at the other end. Jamaal Lascelles brought a fine stop out of Hugo Lloris on 27 minutes, connecting well with a header which was going in until our skipper dived to palm it away, while Kane volleyed Eriksen’s cross wide before failing to connect with a half-volley on 40 minutes when he only had Dubravka to beat.
The opening goal came just five minutes into the second half, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son all combining to set up Kane, whose right-footed curling effort from 18 yards out beat Dubravka and sent Wembley wild!
It wasn’t game over by any means though and Lloris and Moussa Sissoko were in the right place to prevent Dwight Gayle and Paul Dummett from getting shots away in the same attack. Magpies substitute Jacob Murphy then had a great chance but fired high over the bar from the angle.
News of Chelsea’s draw started to filter through and was greeted by an enormous cheer inside the stadium, but there was still work to be done in our game. It was nervy to the extreme at times, although substitute Danny Rose had a great chance to settle the outcome just before the 90-minute mark but Dubravka denied him.
It mattered not, job done and we’re back in the Champions League.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to the team that started at West Brom on Saturday. Ben Davies returned at left-back for Rose, Sissoko lined up against his former club for Toby Alderweireld and Son replaced Erik Lamela. Former Spur DeAndre Yedlin started at right-back for the Magpies.
Woodwork: Shlevey strikes the post – 13mins
A lively opening to the game saw both sides trying to get on the front foot and it was a couple of early free-kicks which almost broke the deadlock. First on 10 minutes, Victor Wanyama was fouled by Kenedy, right corner of the area and Eriksen whipped in the set-piece which Dubravka tipped away. Three minutes later at the other end, Sissoko tripped Gayle just a yard outside our box, right in the middle of the ‘D’, Shelvey stepping up and hitting a right-footed curler around the wall but his effort struck the post and bounced away to safety.
Chances: both sides go close – 27-40mins
It was that man Shelvey again on 27 minutes who created an opening for the visitors. Matt Ritchie played a short corner to the former Swansea man who swung in a wicked cross which Lascelles climbed highest to meet, sending a header goalwards but Lloris palmed away at full-stretch. And a minute later Newcastle broke again, Ayoze Perez this time with a centre which Gayle headed over. Kane then had a sight of goal, volleying wide from Eriksen’s cross, Vertonghen drilled at Dubravka and Sissoko’s downward header was easy for the Magpies stopper. A glorious opening came for us on 40 minutes when Lloris’ long clearance landed kindly for Kane but, with just Dubravka to beat, he failed to connect with the half-volley.
Above: Hugo Lloris celebrates.
Goal: Spurs 1-0 Newcastle United – Harry Kane – 50mins
There were no changes to either side at the break and it was a fairly scrappy opening to the half, the visitors having a couple of counter-attacks which came to nothing. Then, almost out of nothing, we opened the scoring with one of our best passages of play so far. Vertonghen drilled a pass forwards to Dele, then on to Kane who in turn found Son on the edge of the area. It was all very congested but Son had the vision to touch the ball back to Kane and his first-time, right-foot shot curled past Dubravka and into the net.
Chance: Murphy blazes over – 71mins
Newcastle responded well initially to the setback and had a great chance to level when Yedlin broke down the right and found Dummett, he touched off to Gayle who missed his kick in front of goal. The loose ball was a danger though, Lloris reacting quickly to prevent Gayle getting his shot away and Sissoko blocking from Dummett on the rebound. We enjoyed a good spell of possession after that without really testing Dubrakva and instead it was the visitors with a great chance, substitute Murphy shrugging aside Sanchez down the right, advancing into the area but blasting over with his effort.
Save: Rose so close to sealing it – 90mins
The noise in the stadium increased as news of Chelsea’s draw came through, meaning all we had to do was hold onto the win. It was so nearly settled in the 90th minute when Dele pinged a cross-field ball which Lamela controlled in an instant, before releasing the perfect pass for Rose, surging from midfield. He took a touch and fired goalwards but Dubravka smothered his right-foot effort. Deep into stoppage time Newcastle were awarded a free-kick near half-way, but the delivery was flicked tamely through to Lloris and the whistle blew straight after to much delight... and relief!
Mauricio Pochettino said
"It’s never easy when you have the pressure to win and play against a team that is free to run and make mistakes and play so deep, like Newcastle. In the end it’s job done and again, I congratulate the players."
Hugo Lloris said
"It's a big achievement. To be in the Champions League three times in a row means a lot for our Club, for our team, for our manager, for our fans. This season has been a transitional season - we've played 37 away games. We can be proud because no-one expected us to be in the top four and this is a good answer to show to all the people that we are strong, that they can believe in us."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier (Alderweireld 84), Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama (Rose 88), Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Son (Lamela 77), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Foyth, Lucas, Llorente.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (c), Lejeune, Dummett, Diame, Shelvey, Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy (Murphy 71), Gayle (Joselu 76). Substitutes (not used): Darlow, Hayden, Manquillo, Merino, Haidara.
Goal: Spurs – Kane 50.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Dele, Lamela; Newcastle – Ritchie, Diame, Yedlin.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Man of the match
Following his winning goal, Harry Kane was named Man of the Match with 32 per cent of fans' votes on social media.
Our 2017-18 season comes to its conclusion on Sunday when we entertain Leicester City at Wembley. The Foxes beat Arsenal at home on Wednesday evening to cement eighth place in the Premier League table but Claude Puel’s side have lost eight of their 18 away games this season. We lost the reverse fixture 2-1 at the King Power earlier this season, but enjoyed a 6-1 win there in our penultimate game of last term. Kick-off on Sunday – as it is for all final day fixtures in the Premier League – is at 3pm.