Premier League Tottenham Hotspur 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
A stunning strike from Christian Eriksen in the penultimate minute of the match gave Tottenham victory over a brave Brighton side on Tuesday evening.
Picking up the ball outside the Seagulls’ penalty area, the Danish midfielder unleashed a rasping low shot that moved through the air and beat the despairing dive of Brighton keeper Mat Ryan.
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It was tough luck on the visitors, who put up valiant resistance against a Spurs side desperate to return to winning ways after Saturday’s defeat at Manchester City.
The win leaves Spurs third in the Premier League table but they are now three points clear of Chelsea with three games to play. In fifth spot (and four points behind Spurs) are Arsenal, whose fans must have been shouting themselves hoarse for Brighton.
The Gunners are in something of a mini-crisis, having lost two of their last three league games, and on Wednesday they face a daunting trip to Wolves.
Anything other than three points is likely to have serious ramifications for Unai Emery’s side.
Never stop believing
“It was a difficult game, we knew how difficult it would be, how tough it is to break down the opposition,” reflected Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. “The most important thing is we believed, didn’t give up and tried different ways to score.”
Like Arsenal, Tottenham are fighting on two fronts, but whereas the Gunners’ Europa League exploits appear to be taking a physical and mental toll on the players, their north London rivals were able to dig deep and grind out the win.
“I’m so proud of them,” said Pochettino. “The team are not as fresh as we wanted, not just legs, but minds, so we have to congratulate the players.”
Seagulls’ manager Chris Hughton admitted that the result was tough to take given the effort his side had shown for 89 minutes. “The changing room at the moment is very down because of the manner of the defeat,” he said.
It’s now seven games without a goal for Brighton, and the defeat leaves them one place above the relegation zone and three points clear of Cardiff.
“We’ve got three games and we have to make sure we get enough points to secure our status in this division,” said Hughton. “The pressure comes with the territory and we’ll have to deal with it.”
Watford 1 Southampton 1: Long makes EPL history
In Tuesday’s other match Southampton striker Shane Long scored the quickest goal in Premier League history against Watford.
The Hornets kicked off and Long charged Craig Cathcart, intercepting his pass and sprinting goalwards to lift the ball over the head of Ben Foster. The goal was timed at 7.69 seconds, quicker than the existing record of 9.82 seconds set by Tottenham’s Ledley King against Bradford in 2000.
“The manager said to make a quick start and put them under pressure,” said the 32-year-old Long. “Every game we try to force them into a long pass early and show intent from the first ball, I blocked it and it fell nicely. Ninety-nine times out of 100 you don’t block them clearances, but I did and took a touch across him.”
While Long had the first word at Vicarage Road the last word went to Watford, with Andre Gray equalising in the 90th minute. The point lifted the home side to seventh, above Everton, and leaves Southampton in 16th position, six points clear of the relegation zone.
“I’m disappointed not to get three points,” said Long. “I think we did enough out there.”
Premier League results
Tuesday 23 April
- Tottenham Hotspur 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 0
- Watford 1 Southampton 1
Premier League fixtures and TV guide
Wednesday 24 April
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Arsenal (7.45pm)
- Manchester United vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Friday 26 April
- Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 27 April (3pm unless stated)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Crystal Palace vs. Everton
- Fulham vs. Cardiff City
- Southampton vs. AFC Bournemouth
- Watford vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 28 April
- Leicester City vs. Arsenal (12pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Burnley vs. Manchester City (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Manchester United vs. Chelsea (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
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