Tottenham Hotspur 1, Brighton 0: Late Eriksen goal breaks Albion's defensive heroics and piles on more pressure

A 88th-minute Christian Eriksen strike broke Brighton & Hove Albion's hearts after they had defended like their Premier League lives depended on it in the capital.

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 10:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 11:03 pm
Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur shoots during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

It was a backs to the wall job for the visitors - especially in the second half - and it had looked like they had done enough in the spectacular new stadium for a crucial point in their battle for survival.

Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were outstanding at the back as they shut out a Spurs side that completely dominated the game. There were blocks off the line, crucial Mat Ryan saves and even the woodwork rattled as Spurs searched for a way through.

The opening looked like it would never come until Eriksen took a touch and found the bottom corner with seconds remaining to pile more pressure on the relegation threatened Seagulls.

Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Lewis Dunk of Brighton and Hove Albion. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

They remain just three points ahead of third-from bottom Cardiff City, while place-above Southampton moved four points ahead of Albion as they were pegged back late on to draw 1-1 at Watford.

Going into the clash the numbers were stacked against Brighton - Spurs had won their first three games in all competitions at their new stadium without conceding.

Meanwhile, the Albion had won just two Premier League games in 2019, two wins from 14 games and had not scored in six matches in all competitions - a total of 570 minutes.They had also lost all of their ten leagues games away to the big-six opponents this season.

One shimmer of light was their 0-0 draw at Wolves on Saturday ended a run of five losses in all competitions.

Chris Hughton made six changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Wolves on Saturday bringing in Martin Montoya, Bernardo, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Yves Bissouma, Jurgen Locadia, Florin Andone.

Left out of the starting XI from Wolves was Bruno, who didn't make the squad, Gaetan Bong, Davy Propper, who had a hamstring injury, Solly March, Jose Izquierdo and Glenn Murray.

Spurs had a decent chance after winning a free kick after just 90 seconds when Bissouma clipped Lucas Moura, but Christian Eriksen's lofted set-piece from 21 yards was nodded over by Jan Vertonghen.

The home side continued to control possession and on another break forwards on nine minutes, Eriksen was allowed too much space on the edge of the box. His low effort whistled across goal, although Dele Alli almost got a flicked boot on it that would have turned it goalwards.

Albion's first opportunity to test the Tottenham goal behind the vast south stand come when Pascal Gross' free kick caused a loose ball in the area and Victor Wanyama smashed over his own bar.

On the 20-minute mark a full-blooded goalmouth scramble ensued from another Eriksen's free kick. A diving Wanyanma header was blocked by Lewis Dunk, Vertonghen's follow-up was off the line and eventually a Maty Ryan punch got the ball way.

Brighton's best chance to upset Spurs was always coming from set-pieces and they had their fair share, but two huge Hugo Lloris punches cleared two in-swinging ones away.

Frustrations seemed to edge into the home side's support as both Vertonghen and Eriksen sent long-range efforts ballooning into the stands. Although a flying block from Dunk on 35 minutes denied an angle Moura effort - although it might have been creeping wide.

Albion's best chance saw Andone race away into the Spurs box with defenders in tow in the closing moments of the half and as he side-stepped one, he was denied by a full-throttle Danny Rose, who had raced back and timed his tackle to perfection. Seconds later, Andone was inches from connect from a Jahanbakhsh cross as he slid in from close range.

Shane Duffy prevented Albion from going behind on the stroke of half-time with a goaline block after a lovely Alli touch and half volley, before Ryan pounced on the ball.

The visitors had the first chance after the interval as a slip in the box saw Duffy lose his marker and rise high at the far post, but his powerful header was held by Lloris.

Spurs continued to press from then on and were camped in the Brighton half including keeping no-one back for corners and the defensive line being sat just 35 yards from the Albion goal.

Rose went closest to breaking the deadlock on 66 minutes, driving forwards and letting from fly from 22 yards that Ryan pushed up and then caught. Moments before Murray had replaced Andone and the Romanian appeared unhappy when joining the bench mouthing 'why me' and shrugging.

Spurs were inches away from leading in the 73rd minute when a well-worked short corner routine saw Toby Alderweireld shoot on the turn and it hit the inside of the post and rolled across goal. The hosts then had decent penalty shots waved away when Dele was wiped out by Duffy after shooting.

Albion continued to defend for their lives and Eriksen's effort was palmed away and the follow up smacked out by Dunk as Vincent Janssen looked to tap home. But Albion's hearts were to be broken two minutes from time when Dele switched the ball to Eriksen and he got it out his feet and found the bottom corner from 22 yards.

Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama (Davies 82), Eriksen, Dele, Son (Foyth 90), Lucas (Janssen 80), Llorente. Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Dier, Skipp.

Albion: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Gross, Jahanbakhsh (March 75), Gross, Stephens, Bissouma (Kayal 86), Locadia; Andone (Murray 63). Unused subs: Button, Bong, Balogun, Burn.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh.

Attendance: 56, 251.