Lloris stars in hard-fought win over Leicester
Spurs 3-1 Leicester City
Sun 10 February 2019, 15:29|Tottenham Hotspur
A thrilling encounter saw us edge past a tough Leicester City side as we moved back to within five points of the top of the Premier League and nine clear of fourth place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A first-ever Spurs goal for Davinson Sanchez set us on our way, before Hugo Lloris saved Jamie Vardy’s 60th-minute penalty in what was the striker’s first touch of the ball having just come off the bench.
Christian Eriksen then doubled our lead three minutes later, Lloris made another stunning save to deny Harvey Barnes but Leicester did pull one back through Vardy with 14 minutes remaining. And we were on the back foot for most of the remainder of the game, only for Heung-Min Son to break away in stoppage time and set the seal on a dramatic and entertaining 3-1 win.
Although we made a bright start to the game, it was the visitors with the first chance on eight minutes when James Maddison whipped in a free-kick which was met by Harry Maguire but Lloris tipped it over the bar. A minute later they were in again, Youri Tielemans threading a pass through for Barnes but he fired wide with just Lloris to beat.
It was quite an open game with both sides always looking to get forward and we carved Leicester open on 16 minutes with an excellent move from right to left. Eriksen, Fernando Llorente and Son combined to set up Danny Rose, who cut inside and hit a right foot drive which Kasper Schmeichel saved with a strong hand, while Llorente couldn't make the most of the rebound. The Foxes went close again just after the half-hour mark when Ben Chilwell won possession from Eriksen and slid a ball through for Barnes, he cut back onto his right and went for the near post of Lloris’ goal but dragged his shot wide.
But two minutes later we were ahead. Kieran Trippier played a short corner to Eriksen, who took a touch and delivered a teasing cross to the edge of the six-yard box where Sanchez stooped to power a header past Schmeichel. There weren’t too many other openings in the first half although Tielemans almost scored a ridiculous equaliser on the stroke of half-time. His half-volleyed cross from no more than 10 yards from the goal-line and out wide on the left suddenly started swerving towards goal and it needed Lloris to scramble across and get his body in the way to prevent the ball from sneaking in at the near post.
And it was Leicester with the first sight of goal after the break too, Ricardo Pereira’s cross falling perfectly to Demarai Gray but his header from 10 yards was straight at Lloris, while our skipper was also tested by shots from Gray and Chilwell in the next few minutes, but saved both comfortably. Lloris then faced the ultimate test as Leicester were awarded a penalty when Jan Vertonghen was adjudged to have brought down Maddison. In a bizarre turn of events, Vardy came off the bench for Gray and walked straight up to the spot to take the penalty, only for Lloris to dive to his right and push it away to safety.
Three minutes later the game took another twist as we doubled our lead when Oliver Skipp - on his second Premier League start - closed down a clearance, Llorente picked up the loose ball and laid it off for Eriksen, who drilled in right-footed from 20 yards.
The visitors always carried a threat though and should have scored moments later when Barnes found himself completely unmarked and in on goal but Lloris stuck out a leg and somehow denied the midfielder from eight yards out. But they did get one back on 73 minutes, Tielemans finding Pereira down the right and his low cross was poked in from close range by Vardy.
We were struggling to find our rhythm as the visitors started to dominate and push us back, Vardy and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho spurning good efforts and they were peppering our box with crosses high and low. But we defended them well and when, in the 91st minute, Chilwell’s cross was whacked clear by Sissoko, it put Son in the clear with just Schmeichel to beat and the striker made no mistake to wrap up the points.
We only held a 1-0 lead when Maddison went down under Vertonghen’s challenge and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot.
Maddison took the ball and was going to take the spot-kick, only for Vardy to enter the fray and take the penalty with his first touch of the game.
But Lloris stepped up when it mattered most with an excellent save, a pivotal moment as we went 2-0 up minutes later, giving ourselves a platform to go on and win the game.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "I’m so happy because we knew it was going to be a tough game. Leicester play well away from home – they beat Chelsea, beat Manchester City, drew against Liverpool and those performances were fantastic. In the end we won with a massive effort and some luck, but, to be honest, I thought we deserved it. We conceded some chances, but deserved it."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 3-1 Leicester City
Spurs (4-3-1-2): Lloris (c), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose (Walker-Peters 88), Sissoko, Winks, Skipp (Alderweireld 71), Eriksen, Son, Llorente (Wanyama 79). Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Aurier, Foyth, Lucas.
Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel (c), Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Maddison, Ghezzal (Iheanacho 72), Tielemans, Barnes (Okazaki 88), Gray (Vardy 59). Substitutes (not used): Ward, Morgan, Simpson, Choudhury.
Goals: Spurs – Sanchez 33, Eriksen 63, Son 90+1; Leicester – Vardy 76.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Son, Rose, Vertonghen; Leicester - Tielemans.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London.
Weather: Sunny spells, fresh breeze, seven degrees.