Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min were on target as Tottenham came back from a goal behind to beat Southampton 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Tottenham kick-started the post Jose Mourinho era on a winning note as they ended their three-game run without a victory by defeating Southampton 2-1 at home in the Premier League.
It was the Saints that made the brighter start of the two teams with Hugo Lloris called into action thrice early in the game by Mohamed Salisu, Che Adams and ex-Tottenham man Kyle Walker-Peters. And the early pressure paid off as Danny Ings headed home from eight yards out to make it 1-0 in the 30th minute.
Tottenham, who had appeared toothless in attack in the first half without Harry Kane, stepped up after the break. And at the hour mark, they were on level terms as Gareth Bale found the back of the net with a neat finish after Lucas Moura’s initial effort had been stopped. Fifteen minutes later, Son Heung-min scored to put Spurs in front, but the goal was chalked off as Moura was in an offside position blocking the goalkeeper’s view.
However, Tottenham continued to push for a winner and it came in the 90th minute with Son stepping up and converting from the penalty spot after Moussa Djenepo had fouled Sergio Reguilon. It was a positive start for interim manager Ryan Mason in his first-ever game in charge. The result also sees Spurs close down the gap to Chelsea to just two points. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Tottenham stars on the night.
Hugo Lloris: 7/10
Called into action just three minutes and was alert to make a fine double save to keep Salisu and Adams out. Ten minutes later, Lloris made another good stop to deny Walker-Peters. Was not tested much a great deal after that and there was not much he could have done about the goal.
Serge Aurier: 6/10
The Ivorian was beaten too easily by Danny Ings for the goal. Otherwise, Aurier defended well, finishing with a game-high seven tackles while also producing a clearance and an interception. Did not offer much in attack.
At 29 years and 312 days old, Ryan Mason is the youngest manager in Premier League history.
And now he has a 100% win record. 😉 pic.twitter.com/zMbP8UGXXN
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) April 21, 2021
Toby Alderweireld: 6.5/10
Solid for the most part, the veteran defender dealt with Danny Ings’ threat well on the night. Won all of his aerial duels (3 in 3), also made three clearances while misplacing just 6 of his 65 passes. A steady display.
Eric Dier: 6.5/10
Much like Alderweireld, Dier, too, was largely assured at the back apart from a couple of nervy moments in the first period. Strong in the air, accurate with the ball at his feet. Not stretched a great deal after the break with his team on the front foot. Booked for time wasting late on.
Sergio Reguilon: 7/10
— Sergio Reguilón (@sergio_regui) April 21, 2021
Coming on the back of a string of dodgy displays, this was a step in the right direction for the ex-Real Madrid man. Sound defensively, purposeful and energetic going forward. Delivered a fine cross leading to Son’s disallowed strike before winning the match-deciding penalty late on. Finished with two tackles and two interceptions.
Tanguy Ndombele: 5/10
A quite game for the Frenchman who never really looked like he got going on the night. Booked for a clumsy challenge in the first half. Did not offer much in the way of penetrative forward passes and played it safe more often than not.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 6.5/10
Saw plenty of the ball and made good use of it, keeping Tottenham ticking along nicely. Off the ball, Hojbjerg was once again vital with his ability to cut out threats. As usual, the former Southampton captain was solid, if not spectacular.
Gareth Bale: 8/10
Gareth Bale’s game by numbers vs. Southampton:
100% aerial duels won
11 duels won
4 ball recoveries
3 chances created
2 shots on target
Haunting his former side yet again. 👻 pic.twitter.com/OrQb1rglhe
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 21, 2021
Brought back into the lineup after having been out of favour in the final days of Jose Mourinho’s reign, the Welshman looked the brightest of the Tottenham attackers on the night. Looked a threat each time he was on the ball as he completed a game-high four dribbles and three key passes.
Produced a fine finish in the second period to get Tottenham back into the game. Was not shy of doing his defensive duties either as he also made four tackles on the night. Showed that he should have been playing more in recent times.
Giovani Lo Celso: 5.5/10
Apart from an effort that went wide in the first half and a nice pass to Reguilon in the build-up to Son’s chalked off goal, Lo Celso did little of note. Much like Ndombele, the Argentine too was not able to impact the proceedings as much as he would have liked. Did manage a key pass, but dull overall.
Son Heung-min: 7/10
The Player to Watch in our match preview, this was nowhere near Son at his best but still managed to make vital contributions that, in the end, had a huge impact on the outcome. Played a nice pass in to Lucas in the lead-up to the first goal and thought he had put his team in the front soon after only to see the goal get ruled out. Nerveless penalty under pressure to win it for his team.
Son Heung-min has now scored 15 league goals this season, the most he's ever managed in a single campaign in his career.
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) April 21, 2021
Lucas Moura: 5.5/10
Starting in a central role in Harry Kane’s absence, the Brazilian showed plenty of energy and effort but was not able to provide the same kind of threat at the top while he constantly failed to keep hold of the ball, losing possession 18 times on the night.
Played a part in the equaliser, though, before he was called up for being offside and obscuring the view of the Southampton goalkeeper leading to Son’s goal getting chalked off.
Harry Winks: 6/10
Replaced Ndombele in the 73rd minute. Looked to get on the ball and play it forward. Was involved in the move leading to Son’s cancelled goal.
Erik Lamela: N/A
On for Lo Celso in the 79th minute. Got stuck in and worked hard.
Steven Bergwijn: N/A
A rare appearance for the Dutchman as he replaced Bale in the 83rd minute.