Back to winning ways against Norwich
Spurs 2-1 Norwich City
Wed 22 January 2020, 21:25|Tottenham Hotspur
A goal in each half from Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son gave us a 2-1 victory at home to a determined Norwich City side on Wednesday evening.
Our England midfielder got the ball rolling with our first Premier League goal of 2020 when he stole in to convert Serge Aurier’s cross from close range in the 38th minute, as we managed to pierce Norwich’s packed defence.
But the visitors hit back with 20 minutes remaining, Teemu Pukki converting a penalty past Hugo Lloris, who was making his return to action after injuring his elbow at Brighton in early October. However, we responded with what proved to be the winning goal as Son headed home from just a yard out after Dele’s shot from a tight angle had looped over Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul. It was a hard-fought win and our first of the decade in the league, moving us back up to sixth in the table.
The first chance of the game came with 10 minutes on the clock, Aurier’s deep cross met on the volley by Erik Lamela but Krul was equal to the effort and six minutes later, the visitors had a great sight of goal themselves. Pukki played a one-two with Todd Cantwell on the edge of our box and was in on goal but side-footed wide of the far post. We were seeing a lot of the ball in Norwich’s half but they were dropping back out of possession, making it difficult for us to find a route to goal.
Son smashed one high over the bar after good build up play in the 23rd minute and at other end five minutes later, Cantwell did likewise, albeit his was a bit closer, from 22 yards. Our best chance so far then fell to Son, who was put in down the left side of the defence with a clever pass from Lucas Moura and really should have done better from 12 yards out but drilled into the side-netting.
In truth, there wasn’t a lot happening in the game but we suddenly burst into life and took the lead. Aurier got away down the right and rifled a shot that was blocked and cleared but Giovani Lo Celso won back possession quickly and found Son, who in turn laid the ball back to Aurier. This time he sent over an inviting low cross and Dele timed his run to perfection to slot past Krul from close range.
The goal gave us a lift and we were playing some neat football in attacking areas, Lucas almost getting on the end of a Lamela ‘rabona’ cross while moments later Krul just gathered from Son as he stretched to reach Dele’s pass. The half ended with a Norwich chance, Pukki laying off to Lucas Rupp but he poked well wide and we went in with a one-goal lead at half-time.
The early moments of the second period saw the visitors with a handful of chances, starting with Pukki rolling a shot wide from just outside the area. Then Sam Byram got away down their left flank and delivered a low ball which Cantwell prodded goalwards, it hit Pukki inside the six-yard box but the Finnish striker couldn’t convert and we scrambled clear. It felt like an equaliser was coming and it duly arrived in the 70th minute. Max Aarons broke into the area off the right wing and was brought down by Ryan Sessegnon. Referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot before a lengthy check from the VAR confirmed the decision and Pukki stepped up to take the penalty. He slid it to Lloris’ left, although the goalkeeper went the right way and got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent the ball from going in.
Things weren’t going our way it seemed and the visitors had their tails up. Had it not been for a vital block from substitute Eric Dier, Byram’s ball from the left would have found Pukki unmarked in the box, while Cantwell blazed high and wide. But we settled it down again and grabbed the lead with 11 minutes remaining when Lo Celso slipped in Dele, his shot from a tight angle looped up off Christoph Zimmermann and over Krul, allowing Son to gleefully head home virtually on the goal-line at the back post.
At the other end, Rupp’s shot from 25 yards looked like it was heading in until it flicked off the inside of Lo Celso’s leg for a corner, which Lloris came out and gathered well to huge applause. We could have wrapped the game up in the dying seconds but Son and Lucas couldn’t quite find the right ball to get a shot away and Norwich cleared, but it didn’t affect the final result as we secured the three points.
Son’s last goal before this one was an 80-yard slaloming run through Burnley’s entire team before finishing with aplomb – this one against Norwich he headed home in scrappy fashion from less than a yard out! The contrast between the two couldn’t be more stark, but the end result was a goal on each occasion, this one ironically more important as it gave us a much-needed victory.
Jose Mourinho told us afterwards: "In the first half, we were much better, created lots of chances from the beginning of the game and 1-0 is not enough. Then, in the second half, when the opponent starts to arrive, you shake a little bit. One situation, one penalty, then 1-1 and then what can happen? What happened could happen, or the team could give up and let fatigue win the battle, two points to lose. What happened was fantastic. Great reaction, we took a risk, the players accepted the risk, went for the goal and after that goal, intelligent, hiding the ball, keeping the ball far away from the goal, not one single dangerous situation after 2-1, a few for us to once more kill the game. So, good points, important."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 2-1 Norwich City
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (Gedson 75), Sessegnon, Winks (Dier 56), Lo Celso, Lamela (Eriksen 62), Dele, Son, Lucas. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Tanganga, Sanchez, Ndombele.
Norwich (4-1-3-2): Krul, Aarons, Hanley (c), Zimmermann, Byram, Tettey (Hernandez 82), Rupp (Drmic 86), McLean (Stiepermann 90+3), Cantwell, Duda, Pukki. Substitutes (not used): McGovern, Lewis, Trybull, Amadou.
Goals: Spurs – Dele 38, Son 79; Norwich – Pukki 70 (pen).
Yellow cards: Norwich - Cantwell 47.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Thick cloud, light winds, six degrees.