Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 0
- Andre Marriner
A late Son Heung-min goal condemned Newcastle United to a slender defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
A largely even encounter looked to be drifting towards a goalless conclusion but, just as they did against Watford on Wednesday evening, Mauricio Pochettino’s title-chasing side snatched all three points in the closing stages, with Son’s 18-yard effort catching out Martin Dúbravka between the Magpies’ posts.
Earlier, Christian Eriksen had seen two goalbound efforts cleared off the line for a Spurs side who looked at their most threatening from corner kicks. After a subdued start, though, Newcastle looked capable on the counter attack, and hit the post in the second half through Salomón Rondón.
Tottenham dominated possession throughout the opening exchanges but, a blocked Son effort aside, they failed to register a shot at goal. However, a quarter of an hour in, they squandered a glorious chance. After United only half-cleared an Eriksen free kick from the right, Erik Lamela swung the ball back into the penalty area, and Lucas Moura – played onside by Fabian Schär – somehow headed off-target from an unmarked position six yards out.
Another headed opportunity came and went for Spurs midway through the half. Jan Vertonghen’s cross from the left bounced off the turf and up into the path of Lamela, who thumped the ball against the crossbar from a central position. Kieran Trippier picked up the pieces and delivered from the opposite flank, but Lucas was unable to keep his attempt down.
30 minutes had passed before Newcastle created anything of note – though a decent chance it was. Matt Ritchie’s cross from deep took a nick off a Spurs defender and dropped kindly for Ayoze Pérez, but the Spaniard failed to connect with the ball properly and the home side managed to survive.
With the game opening up, ex-Magpie Moussa Sissoko nearly opened the scoring for Spurs shortly before the break. Eriksen’s out-swinging corner fell perfectly for the Frenchman just inside the penalty area, and only an instinctive Dúbrvaka save kept United’s heads above water.
Another corner presented Spurs with their first opportunity of the second half. This time, it was Lamela who curled it in, and – after peeling off his marker – defender Davinson Sánchez directed a headed attempt narrowly wide of the far post.
Two minutes later, the Magpies came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock at the other end. DeAndre Yedlin provided the delivery from the right, and Rondón got in between Trippier and Toby Alderweireld before nodding the ball off the base of the upright.
After that, though, Tottenham started to up the ante once more, with United struggling to get out of their own half. With 65 minutes on the clock, Pochettino’s side came within a whisker of an opener, with the chance again coming from a corner. Lamela picked out Son at the front post and the South Korean helped the ball on for Eriksen, whose hooked effort looked destined to end up in the back of the net. Schär, though, did superbly to clear off the line at the last moment.
When they were able to counter, however, Newcastle remained a threat. Not long after surviving that scare, Pérez called Lloris into action after gathering Rondón’s lay-off. Spurs substitute Fernando Llorente then headed off-target at the opposite end, ghosting into the area unchallenged but failing to test Dúbravka.
Into the final ten minutes, and Eriksen saw another goalbound effort – again, on the back of a corner – cleared just before it could cross the line, this time by Ritchie. But, with their next attack, the home side made the breakthrough, as Son’s low drive got the better of Dúbravka and flew into the net.
New boy Antonio Barreca came on for his United debut as Rafa Benítez’s side looked for a response, but Spurs were able to see the remainder of the game out relatively comfortably, handing the Magpies a first Premier League defeat in three outings.