Alli double helps Spurs ease past Southampton

SOUTHAMPTON: Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli (L) turns to celebrate scoring an equalising goal for 1-1 as Southampton’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (2R) reacts during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium. — AFP

SOUTHAMPTON: Dele Alli scored twice as Tottenham came back from behind to win emphatically, 4-1, at Southampton on Wednesday. Harry Kane, who missed a penalty, and substitute Son Heungmin were also on the score-sheet in a game that saw Virgil van Dijk give Southampton an early lead. Nathan Redmond was sent off soon after Kane had made it 2-1 and although the England striker failed to convert the resulting penalty Southampton tried in vain to prevent a hefty defeat that moved Tottenham to within a point of fourth-place Arsenal in the Premier League table. It took Southampton all of 69 seconds to take the lead, through van Dijk. The Netherlands defender, coveted by a number of Premier League rivals and valued in the £30million bracket, rose to meet James Ward-Prowse’s freekick to send a downward header beyond Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal.

The home side were full of energy and aggression – the brand of football Pochettino brought with him to the St Mary’s Stadium before leaving for Tottenham in May 2014. The Argentinian could not have enjoyed the way his players were being put under constant pressure and there were a number of nervy moments as they attempted to stem the tide of Saints attacks. Former Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama had given away the free-kick for the goal on his first return to his old club and Mousa Dembele was booked for chopping Nathan Redmond down to end another attack. Fraser Forster had little to do in the Southampton goal but found himself picking the ball out of the net in the 19th minute when Moussa Sissoko saw his cross from the left deflected upwards off Redmond. That allowed Alli to outjump van Dijk and plant a header past Forster that went in off a post. Parity perhaps flattered Tottenham but they made good use of their good fortune to fashion a number of chances

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Christian Eriksen twice failed to hit the target after getting himself into promising shooting positions before Wanyama, having burst into the box and got the better of van Dijk, saw his shot blocked by Saints skipper Jose Fonte. Tottenham made a much better start to the second half and took the lead in the 52nd minute through the previously-dormant Kane from a corner won by Kyle Walker and delivered by Eriksen. Southampton’s marking was poor to say the least as the England striker rose unchallenged to head into the top corner. — AFP


This article was published on 29/12/2016