Spurs come from behind to beat Brighton in close contest

·Sports Writer
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur scores his teams second goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Dele Alli scores his teams second goal (Credit: Getty Images)

Spurs responded well to complete a comeback in miserable conditions and beat Brighton 2-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Boxing Day.

Second half goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli canceled out Adam Webster’s brilliant header and keep Tottenham in the hunt for a Champions League spot in the day’s early kick-off.

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (R) scores his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane (Credit: Getty Images)

Spurs made two changes from the lineup that lost to Chelsea on Sunday. Harry Winks replaced Eric Dier, while Ryan Sessegnon, somewhat surprisingly, was brought in for Son Heung-min, who begins his three game suspension.

After their defeat to Sheffield United, Brighton made five changes of their own. Lewis Dunk, Martin Montoya, Leandro Trossard, Dale Stephens and Neal Maupay all made way, with Shane Duffy, Ezequiel Schelotto, Bernardo, Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate stepping in.

In a cagey opening, Spurs took a direct approach and tried to hit long balls early, to Dele Alli and to Sessegnon, the latter just offside as he struck the post. But Brighton were equal to them, with Aaron Moy in particular looking lively – twice he set up Alzate on the edge of the box, with Gazzaniga saving both efforts.

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On the 20 minute mark Moy then went close himself, firing just wide after the ball was deflected. A quarter of the way into the match and it appeared Spurs players were still sluggish from their Christmas dinners, looking ponderous in possession and lacking any zip to their play.

The direct ball that Spurs tried earlier nearly. Harry Winks played the ball over the top and Kane finished easily with Matt Ryan rushing out, but VAR ruled the England captain to be a fraction offside.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Adam Webster scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. (Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)
Brighton's Adam Webster scores (Credit: Getty Images)

Eventually, it was the away side that took the lead. After Schelotto had raced up the right flank and was felled by Winks, Gross delivered a perfect free-kick into the box then found Adam Webster rising above two Spurs defenders to power a header home.

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Just three minutes into the second half Brighton should have extended their lead. Bernardo was given acres of room on the left and whipped in a cross right on to the head of Connolly, but the 19-year-old fluffed the header from five yards out.

It was to prove costly. Lucas Moura’s run into the box fizzled out but the ball ricocheted to Kane. His first effort was saved, but he snaffled up the rebound and fired into the bottom left-hand corner.

The goal woke the home side up and they looked far more urgent than they had done in the first 45. Moura in particular went about hustling down defenders and forcing mistakes, while Lo Celso’s introduction from the bench added some pace.

Brighton’s response was measured and when they broke through Schelotto – who was full of running all day – they eventually won a free-kick when Winks dived in. Incredibly, the England midfielder escaped a second yellow. Gross’ resulting free-kick then stung the hands of Gazzaniga.

Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan watches as Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli (right, hidden) scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. (Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)
Brighton and Hove Albion keeper Matt Ryan (Credit: Getty Images)

With both teams wanting more, Christian Eriksen came on for Spurs, while Brighton brought on Maupay. The Dane’s introduction proved to be vital.

It was his floated ball that from left to right that found Aurier near the byline, and the Ivorian fullback dropped the ball into Alli’s path with the Spurs man looping the ball brilliantly over Ryan.

It proved enough in the end and sees Mourinho with a swift response after losing to his former employers last weekend.

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