Miserable day at St Mary's
Southampton 1-0 Spurs
Wed 01 January 2020, 17:05|Tottenham Hotspur
The new decade started on a flat note as Danny Ings' first-half strike gave Southampton a 1-0 win on the south coast on Wednesday.
In a match of few clear-cut chances, Ings continued his fine form with the only goal of the game - our misery compounded in the second period when Harry Kane limped off injured, having been flagged off-side as he stretched to convert Christian Eriksen's deep free-kick.
It was our first loss in the maiden league game of a calendar year since 2009.
Jose Mourinho made two changes to the team that drew with Norwich on Saturday as Moussa Sissoko returned from suspension and started along with Lucas Moura in place of Juan Foyth and Giovani Lo Celso. Eric Dier missed out through a virus. Lo Celso was soon back in the fray, though, replacing Tanguy Ndombele after he hobbled off inside 25 minutes at St Mary's.
Kane and Jan Vertonghen - the latter back playing at centre-half - had a couple of near misses in a first period that belonged largely to the Saints. Cedric Soares' free header wide inside two minutes turned out to be a sign of things to come as after Kane's deflected shot was tipped away by Alex McCarthy, we needed first a save from Paulo Gazzaniga to deny Nathan Redmond and then Toby Alderweireld to get to the loose ball just ahead of Stuart Armstrong in the six-yard box.
Southampton did take the lead on 17 minutes, though, and it was all too easy as Jack Stephens found striker Ings with a ball over the top, he turned inside Alderweireld and slotted home from 12 yards out.
Alderweireld later vitally blocked Redmond's shot following a cut-back, but we did go close a couple of times in the approach to half-time as Kane's shot was parried by McCarthy and Dele Alli was just beaten to the rebound by the keeper, before Eriksen's corner fell suddenly to Vertonghen at the far post, but he could only scoop over the top with his trailing leg. Ryan Sessegnon's menacing cross caused problems for the Saints too, but the ball ricocheted behind off Lo Celso in the end.
Southampton wanted a penalty for handball against Alderwerield four minutes after the restart but the VAR concurred with referee Mike Dean that there was nothing doing after the ball was fizzed in at pace.
The pattern of recent games might have suggested an upturn in performance during the second period but it wasn't to be this time. Kane steered Eriksen's free-kick home but was flagged off-side and injured himself in the process, replaced by Erik Lamela for the last quarter-of-an-hour, while substitute Shane Long went close late on for Southampton with a back-post header from James Ward-Prowse's corner. There was one final chance for us three minutes from time but Lucas' shot at the second time of asking following a driven ball across the box by Sessegnon was blocked behind for a corner.
Ings came up with the decisive moment in the 17th minute, latching onto Stephens' long ball over the top and producing a nice piece of solo skill to turn inside ex-Southampton loanee Alderweireld before firing simply past another former Saint, Gazzaniga.
Jose Mourinho told Spurs TV afterwards: "We can say everything negative because no result and we lost players. For me, quite a strange game because they didn’t create problems for us defensively, they had two or three shots and scored a goal and we didn’t score. We had chances to do it in the first half, we had a couple of good chances in the second half. Again, the off-side is what it is. Then we lose Harry, and without Harry things are more difficult because we don’t have direct replacements, especially without Son (serving the third of his three-match ban), who is a player who can play in his area. It was difficult because our possibilities on the bench were not many without Sonny."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Southampton 1-0 Spurs
Southampton (4-2-3-1): McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Hojbjerg (c), Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (Romeu 90), Redmond, Djenepo (Long 57), Ings (Obafemi 76). Substitutes (not used): Gunn, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Adams.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sessegnon, Ndombele (Lo Celso 25), Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Lucas, Kane (c) (Lamela 75). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Sanchez, Tanganga, Skipp, Winks.
Goal: Southampton - Ings 17.
Yellow cards: Southampton - Djenepo 53, Bednarek 68, Ward-Prowse 72; Spurs - Lo Celso 36, Sissoko 61, Aurier 70, Eriksen 90+2.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Venue: St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.
Weather: Light cloud, light winds, nine degrees.