Brighton beaten at the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Spurs
Sat 22 September 2018, 19:39|Tottenham Hotspur
Erik Lamela's second goal in as many Premier League games made sure of the three points on a rain-swept Saturday evening at the Amex Stadium.
A thumping penalty from Harry Kane towards the end of a first half devoid of any real chances put us in control and after Shane Duffy's header was ruled out for off-side during a more lively second period, Lamela finished a nice move to give us a 2-0 lead.
Kane was denied by goalkeeper Mat Ryan three times in the closing minutes as we tried to press home the advantage but, after his third attempt in stoppage time, Brighton broke away and made it 2-1 through Anthony Knockaert.
There was still time for Chris Hughton's men, who had come back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in their previous two matches, to complete an unlikely trifecta of points-sharing, but Paulo Gazzaniga - in for his first start of the season and only his second in our colours after Michel Vorm injured his knee in training on Friday - routinely saved Knockaert's deflected effort as we held on to claim our first win in four matches.
Brighton seemed content to let us have the ball on half-way during the first period but pressed when we entered the final third, making it tough to play our attacking game. Every now and again we managed to play through them with a slick passing move, but clear shooting chances were in short supply.
Our best chance of the opening exchanges came from a 10th-minute corner as Kieran Trippier's delivery was met by the head of Toby Alderweireld at the front post, with defender Gaetan Bong also getting a touch as the ball darted towards goal and forced Ryan into a good reaction save. Jan Vertonghen couldn't quite climb high enough above the defence to nod in the second ball.
Kane blasted us ahead from the spot on 42 minutes after initially being tripped by Bong 20 yards out as he tried to burst through into the box following another swift move. Trippier's free-kick was handled by Glenn Murray in the wall and the striker converted with aplomb to move level with Jermain Defoe in fifth on our all-time top scorers roll call with 143.
The tempo quickened after half-time with Vertonghen heading Knockaert's dangerous free-kick behind and Christian Eriksen inches away with a long-range right-foot shot at the other end before the hosts had their best spell of the game. Solly March's shot from distance looped just over the bar off Heung-Min Son, Gazzaniga punched clear from the corner but Duffy headed in from the resulting cross - only to be denied by an off-side decision against Lewis Dunk with 64 minutes gone. Two minutes later, Knockaert stepped inside onto his right foot, just six yards out, but Gazzaniga was in the way of his attempt at goal.
The second goal was always going to be crucial - and it was Lamela who bagged it in our favour. Looking bright off the bench, he kick-started our attack with a short pass to Lucas Moura, the Brazilian slid out to Danny Rose, who had been finding space on the left throughout the half, and his low delivery was steered into the far corner by Lamela, who had made the run into the box, at the first time of asking.
That should have been that but after Kane twice pulled the trigger in the box, only to find Ryan in the way, the skipper was sent through in from the right by Eric Dier, the keeper saved again, Brighton quickly broke away and Knockaert fired home on his left foot from the right side of the box. The Seagulls were lifted but as Gazzaniga stooped to his right to save another Knockaert strike, which had taken a slight deflection, we finished the game as winners.
A chance for 3-0 in the third of four added minutes quickly turned into 2-1 - and that made Lamela's goal for us the key moment in the final reckoning.
The Argentine attacker played a part in the build-up, receiving the ball in the middle and playing short to Lucas before making a beeline for the box to meet Rose's low delivery and put us 2-0 up.
With Knockaert scoring late in the game, it was that goal that won us the match.
Mauricio Pochettino's over-riding emotion was one of satisfaction after the game, although he was disappointed with the manner in which we finished the contest, conceding to Knockaert and then hanging on in the dying seconds.
"I’m very pleased with the performance and the spirit of the team," he said. "During the game, we played some very good football. I'm a little disappointed at the end but okay, when you win... it’s important now that you cannot make that type of mistake but when you win, it’s easier to fix the problems."
Harry, who captained the side at the Amex, reflected: "It’s a massive win - massive for momentum, for belief. Our energy was great. We pressed hard, worked hard - everyone around the pitch - and got what we deserved.
"We probably could have scored three or four more and finished it off but we didn’t and had to fight right until the end, but sometimes that makes it feel that much sweeter."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Spurs
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-5-1): Ryan, Montoya, Dunk (c), Duffy, Bong, Knockaert, Propper, Stephens (Kayal 21), Bissouma (Locadia 79), March (Jahanbakhsh 73), Murray. Substitutes (not used): Button, Balogun, Bernardo, Andone.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Lucas (Dele 78), Son (Lamela 67), Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Aurier, Sanchez, Wanyama, Winks.
Goals: Brighton - Knockaert 90+3; Spurs - Kane 42 (pen), Lamela 76.
Yellow cards: Brighton - Kayal 61, Bissouma 74; Spurs - Trippier 49.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Venue: Amex Stadium, Brighton.
Weather: Heavy rain, 12 degrees.