Son scores last-gasp winner at Villa
Aston Villa 2-3 Spurs
Sun 16 February 2020, 15:58|Tottenham Hotspur
Heung-Min Son snatched a deserved win thanks to a 94th-minute goal against Aston Villa in a rip-roaring game at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon.
The South Korean international, who had brought up his half-century of Premier League goals in first-half stoppage time, repeated the trick by capitalising on Bjorn Engels' defensive mistake at the end of a second period in which we'd been denied on several occasions by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
Toby Alderweireld, who became the father of a new baby boy at the end of the week, had earlier scored at both ends, with Engels on target in straightforward fashion with a header from a corner to bring the hosts back level shortly after half-time.
Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn and Son all saw chances go to waste - largely because of Reina's saves - before Son won it in the final few seconds when Engels failed to clear Davinson Sanchez's ball up-field. The 3-2 final scoreline made it three consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since a run of four between January and February last year, while Son has now scored in our last five successive games.
Eric Dier came into the holding midfield role for his first league start in eight matches while left-back Ben Davies was outstanding on his return from an ankle injury picked up in Jose Mourinho's first game in charge on 23 November. Indeed, Davies was the main man in the way of Villa's forays into our box while Dele could have had a hat-trick during an open and highly eventful first half.
The hosts took a ninth-minute lead when Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris both stood off Anwar El Ghazi's right-wing cross, with the centre-back ultimately poking the ball into his own net as Mbwana Samatta charged in. Jack Grealish then fired wide as Villa looked to continue their strong start. At the other end, Lucas Moura's cut-back found Dele arriving late in the box, but his side-footed effort was blocked by Kortney Hause, before Davies denied the home side a certain goal when he somehow blocked Douglas Luiz's shot from inside the box after Grealish's pass left him with the goal at his mercy.
Dele floated a difficult header away from Reina's goal before we found an equaliser on 27 minutes. Son's corner hit Lucas and Eric Dier at the front post before the ball fell to Alderweireld, who this time scored in the right net as he turned and lashed the ball high inside the near post in one deadly movement for his first goal for us since the last day of the 2016/17 season.
Davies was there again with a vital defensive header in our goalmouth as Villa had a flurry of corners around the half-hour mark, but we were starting to threaten consistently and after a lovely touch by Son on the right touchline sent Dele scampering in behind, he tried a deft shot from a tight angle which beat Reina at his near post but floated off-target. El Ghazi's effort from distance was saved by Lloris but we were putting the pressure on and after Dele's shot from Davies' cut-back was blocked by Hause in almost identical fashion to his earlier chance, Bergwijn's attempt on the follow-up was also blocked. VAR looked at a possible hand-ball, but play was eventually allowed to continue.
Harry Winks' audacious curler wasn't far away before VAR intervened again to flag up the fact that Bergwijn had been fouled by defender Engels as he burst into the box. We were two minutes into additional time by the time Son stepped up to take the resulting penalty, Reina saved it but Son was quickest to the rebound to tuck home his 50th Premier League goal and send us in at the break 2-1 up.
The frenetic nature of the game didn't subside after the restart as Bergwijn embarked on a terrfic solo break in which he beat two players to go running through on goal, only for Frederic Guilbert to get back and tackle him as he entered the box, with El Ghazi's snap-shot well stopped by Lloris before Villa snatched an equaliser out of nothing in the 53rd minute, as Grealish's corner was met by Engels with a simple header in the middle.
We kept pushing forward, playing through the lines with some excellent one-touch play, but Reina was there to deny both Bergwijn and Son as good chances went begging. Villa were a threat from corners but all the chances in the latter stages of the game were ours, Bergwijn's shot from Serge Aurier's cut-back deflected over, Dele denied by Reina on the break and both Son and substitute Giovani Lo Celso also thwarted by the veteran stopper.
But in the fourth of the initially-added four minutes, just as it looked like we'd be forced to settle for a point, Sanchez went long looking for Son, Engels missed his kick and the forward surged in behind before calmly planting past Reina from the left angle to send the away end into raptures.
While our pressure eventually told at the end of the second half, returning left-back Davies came up with a crucial moment in the 18th minute when we were still 1-0 down.
Grealish had broken away down the left and pulled the ball back across the box for Douglas Luiz to strike in the middle with the goal gaping. With Lloris sprawling down to his left, Davies somehow got a block in to divert the shot over the bar, denying Villa a certain goal. Had they taken a 2-0 lead, our task would have been that much more difficult.
Jose Mourinho reflected on the result on Spurs TV: "Fantastic, important and we had to work a lot for that," he said. "We didn’t start very well, I think they started more aggressive, more intense than us, we made our little mistakes but then a fantastic reaction and again, in the second half, after 2-2, I think it was a period of amazing football that we played, so many chances that we created but the ball wasn’t going in. You know, we scored almost at the end. People can say, ‘okay, a bit of luck’, but I’d say amazing attitude, ambition and togetherness and the boys went until the last second, so I’m so pleased for them. Thanks so much to the fans that came, they provided fantastic support."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Aston Villa 2-3 Spurs
Aston Villa (3-4-3): Reina, Konsa, Engels, Hause, Guilbert, Drinkwater (Nakamba 60), Douglas Luiz, Targett, El Ghazi (Trezeguet 69), Samatta (Baston 83), Grealish (c). Substitutes (not used): Nyland, Elmohamady, Taylor, Hourihane.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Dier (Lo Celso 60), Winks, Son, Dele (Gedson 83), Bergwijn (Vertonghen 90+6), Lucas. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Tanganga, Ndombele, Skipp.
Goals: Aston Villa - Alderweireld (OG) 9, Engels 53; Spurs - Alderweireld 27, Son 45+2, 90+4.
Yellow cards: Aston Villa - Guilbert 86, Nakamba 90+2.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Venue: Villa Park.
Weather: Gusty winds, rain, eight degrees.