Home defeat against Foxes - match report and debrief
Spurs 0-2 Leicester City
Sun 20 December 2020, 16:15|Tottenham Hotspur
A penalty and an own goal saw us slip to a second defeat in five days as Leicester City left north London with the spoils on Sunday afternoon.
Looking for a swift response following our late defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday, we couldn’t really get going against the Foxes and were undone by a Jamie Vardy penalty right on half-time before Toby Alderwerield put through his own net just before the hour mark.
Neither side had a shot on target in the opening half-hour and the game was fairly tepid until Harry Kane’s 34th-minute free-kick flicked off Jonny Evans and had Kasper Schmeichel scrambling across his goal to parry it away. Ten minutes later, Leicester forced Hugo Lloris into his first save from James Maddison’s 22-yard drive. Then came the opening goal. Serge Aurier clattered into the back of Wesley Fofana right on the left-hand corner of the penalty area and, although play went on, VAR checked the incident in the background. Referee Craig Pawson brought play to a halt just before blowing the half-time whistle, looked at the challenge on the pitchside monitor and didn’t take long to award a penalty. Vardy stepped up and drilled right down the middle with literally the last kick of the half.
Maddison had the ball in the net three minutes into the second period, but it was ruled out for a very close VAR off-side call however there was no reprieve for us on 59 minutes when Marc Albrighton’s cross from the right was headed back by Vardy before hitting the retreating Alderweireld and going in.
We had plenty of the ball for the final 30 minutes as we tried to find a way back into the game but only once did we really test Schmeichel when Heung-Min Son poked goalwards at the back post from a corner, but the Danish goalkeeper saved well from close range.
Penalty pivotal in tight clash
With neither side really showing much of a cutting edge in the first half, our concession of a penalty in first-half stoppage time was a key moment of the game.
Chances were at a premium in that opening period. Vardy had pounced on a loose ball in the 14th minute and lashed a shot into Sergio Reguilon with Lloris scooping up the rebound, Schmeichel saved Kane’s deflected free-kick before our forward headed Son’s corner over from a good position on 41 minutes and Maddison’s 22-yard drive clipped off the heel of Alderweireld forcing Lloris into a diving save to his left four minutes later.
We were about to go into the break goalless until Aurier’s ill-timed challenge on Fofana left the officials with no option but to award the spot-kick from which Vardy opened the scoring. It meant the Foxes could approach the second half with a counter-attacking attitude and when the second goal went in, we were left with a real uphill task.
Good link-up play between Son and Kane ended with the latter’s 20-yard shot bringing a save out of Schmeichel in the 61st minute as we looked for a quick response, while the Leicester keeper made the save of the match 10 minutes later, keeping out Son’s attempt from point-blank range.
The closing stages saw Leicester go close with a couple of counters, Lloris saving Vardy’s curler before Youri Tielemans blazed well over with five minutes remaining. A tough day all round.
250 up for Sonny
South Korea international Son, winner of the FIFA Puskas award earlier this week, made his 250th appearance for us against the Foxes. He remains one goal short of his Spurs century.
Jose Mourinho made two changes from the midweek defeat at Liverpool, Reguilon and Tanguy Ndombele coming in for Ben Davies and Steven Bergwijn. Gareth Bale also returned to the bench after missing our last two matches through illness and there were nine substitutes on the bench after a change in the Premier League rules in midweek. Sadly, due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and related government restrictions, we reverted to playing behind closed doors, having been allowed to welcome 2,000 fans to previous matches at home against Arsenal and Royal Antwerp.
Meanwhile, Vardy’s goal meant he became the first player to score away goals against a Premier League opponent on three different grounds, having also scored against us in this fixture at White Hart Lane and Wembley.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'Unlucky, but also a bit of our own responsibility'
Jose gave us his verdict afterwards: "A bit unlucky, but also a bit of our own responsibility. I would say that," he said. "We didn’t start well at all. There were empty spots on the pitch where the attitude, the pressing, the intensity was not there and the team was suffering that. We managed to hide these empty spots and improve a lot from the first 15, 20 minutes to the second 15, 20 minutes and it’s when we were creating chances and having our chances to score that they had the penalty. From there, of course, the game is different. In spite of that, we were trying in the second half, we were dominating, we didn’t have any problems in behind, but the own goal, 2-0, the game was not dead, the reaction was positive again, we had a big chance from Sonny, but Schmeichel made a brilliant save, so we couldn’t even reduce it to 2-1 to keep the game alive."
Spurs 0-2 Leicester City
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier (Winks 64), Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele (Bale 46), Lo Celso (Lucas 50), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Doherty, Rodon, Davies, Bergwijn, Vinicius.
Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel (c), Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne (Amartey 60), Ndidi, Albrighton, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Praet 84), Vardy (Iheanacho 88). Substitutes (not used): Ward, Fuchs, Thomas, Mendy, Pérez, Ünder.
Goals: Leicester – Vardy 45+3 (pen), Alderweireld (OG) 59.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Dier, Winks; Leicester – Albrighton, Ndidi.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny intervals, gentle breeze, 10 degrees.