Super Jan swoops to snatch victory at Wolves
Wolves 1-2 Spurs
Sun 15 December 2019, 16:01|Tottenham Hotspur
Jan Vertonghen headed home a dramatic stoppage-time winner as we toppled Wolves 2-1 at Molineux on Sunday afternoon.
In a real battle in the rain, we'd taken an early lead through a thunderous near-post finish from Lucas Moura but came under pressure from a home side unbeaten in their previous 11 Premier League games. Eric Dier hit the post as we almost grabbed a second before half-time but when Adama Traore powered home from 18 yards, Wolves continued to come at us in search of a winner.
Crucially, we defended their set-pieces well and after Paulo Gazzaniga pulled off a marvellous save to deny Romain Saiss, left-back Vertonghen popped up at the other end in the 91st minute with his first league goal since the opening day of last season to snatch all three points.
Unchanged from our last domestic outing against Burnley, we started strongly with Harry Kane and Lucas both going for the same Heung-Min Son pass in the box just seconds into the match before we took an eighth-minute lead. Moussa Sissoko and Kane combined to set up Son in the box, his angled drive from the left was parried by Rui Patricio at his near post but Dier kept the attack alive and Lucas latched onto the ball, beat Jonny Otto on the right-hand corner of the box before thumping unstoppably into the roof of the net inside the near post.
Traore and Raul Jimenez had half-chances for Wolves and we rode our luck at times, just unable to keep the ball for any decent length of time in the face of pressure from the hosts at every turn. Jimenez's shot zipped just past the post in Wolves' best chance of the half on 26 minutes, shortly before Davinson Sanchez got himself out of jail with consecutive blocks in the box to deny Diogo Jota after initially giving the ball away in midfield. Despite that spell on the back foot, we went closest to adding to the scoreline on 37 minutes when Dier hit the post with a sweet volley from a sumptuous return ball from Dele, who was marking his 200th appearance for the Club.
Jota couldn't quite convert Traore's ball across the face of goal and Jimenez's shot was pushed away by Gazzaniga at the start of the second period but the tackles were flying in on an increasingly slippery surface in the rain and referee Stuart Attwell brandished eight yellow cards in the last half-an-hour - four for each side - as both teams gave their all.
Wolves struck a real blow on 67 minutes, though, as Jimenez found Traore in space to the right of centre and he blasted into the net from the edge of the box to equalise. Both teams won a number of free-kicks but thankfully, our defence stood firm. Wolves might have won it on one of them six minutes from time, but Saiss' glancing header from Joao Moutinho's free-kick was brilliantly clawed away by Gazzaniga diving to his right.
Then, sensationally, as the game entered added time, we won it from a set-piece of our own. Christian Eriksen came on and with his first action, saw his wide free-kick headed behind. The Dane took the resulting corner and found Vertonghen just inside the box, who stooped to divert his header into the bottom corner, restoring our lead in heroic fashion. Jota had one final chance for Wolves in the closing seconds as a loose ball came to him at the edge of our area, but he rifled just off-target and we escaped with another important win.
Vertonghen's header ultimately won the points, but goalkeeper Gazzaniga produced arguably the key moment in the 84th minute. Wolves were pushing for a winner, sending a number of set-pieces into our box and, from one of them, Saiss almost snatched victory for his side. Moutinho swung in a delivery and Saiss steered it towards goal from six yards, but Gazzaniga flung himself to his right to get a big hand on the ball and prevent it from sailing inside the far post. That fine save kept the scores level before Vertonghen had the final say.
Jose Mourinho told us: "The good thing was that in our difficult period and when they scored the goal we managed to stay in the game, stay focussed in the game, didn’t make more mistakes and then we put ourselves in the situation where we could win the game because the game was open, players were tired and the game was a bit broken. We knew we could win the game."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Wolves 1-2 Spurs
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady (c), Saiss, Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Otto, Traore, Jimenez, Jota. Substitutes (not used): Ruddy, Bennett, Neto, Cutrone, Vinagre, Kilman, Ashley-Seal.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Dier, Sissoko, Dele (Winks 90+2), Lucas (Eriksen 89), Son (Foyth 90+2), Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Sessegnon, Skipp, Lo Celso.
Goals: Wolves - Traore 67; Spurs - Lucas 8, Vertonghen 90+1.
Yellow cards: Wolves - Moutinho 60, Otto 65, Saiss 75, Dendoncker 89; Spurs - Sanchez 64, Alderweireld 69, Dier 77, Kane 83.
Referee: Stuart Attwell.
Venue: Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.
Weather: Rain, moderate breeze, six degrees.