Tottenham 0-1 Brighton (Trossard 90′)
A 90th minute Leandro Trossard winner secured a shock three points for Brighton against Tottenham as Antonio Conte’s men dropped points in the race for the top four.
What will worry Conte most is that the visitors deserved their winner after containing Spurs’ attack throughout and going toe to toe with their usually ruthless opponents.
It was a slow first half with very few chances as Brighton’s press and solidity limited Spurs’ play well, the main moments of note being a flailing arm from Dejan Kulusevski and several late Enock Mwepu tackles that could arguably have seen both men sent off.
Chances were few and far between and though Spurs upped their game after the break, Brighton remained well and truly in it.
There were few clear-cut chances in the second half but when Trossard found space in the box with a jinking run with just minutes to play, he made no mistake to land a huge result in the race for the top four.
Tottenham player ratings
Hugo Lloris: Lloris had little to do throughout but fulfilled his responsibilities when called upon 6/10
Christian Romero: Romero was Spurs’ most impressive centre-half, getting a crucial touch on a flicked-on first half Brighton corner that Alexis Mac Allister was waiting to bury 6/10
Eric Dyer: The game largely passed Dier by as part of a defense that was second best 5/10
Ben Davis: Davies performed his defensive duties diligently but had few standout moments 6/10
EmersonRoyal: Important in transition for Spurs, Emerson nevertheless created little throughout playing in a wing-back role which should have stretched Brighton more 5/10
Rodrigo Bentancur: Nothing of note in a fairly average performance; subbed off on 72 minutes. 5/10
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: Hojbjerg played his typical deeper role for Spurs and was their most creative center midfielder, though the bar was not a high one 6/10
Sergio Reguilon: Reguilon, like Emerson, created little as Brighton contained Spurs’ attacking game 6/10
Dejan Kulusevsky: Kulusevski was uncharacteristically ineffective and could arguably have been sent off for catching Cucurella with a flailing arm on 26 minutes. Subbed off on 65 minutes 4/10
Harry Kane: Kane had Spurs’ only real chance in the first half and this lack of action continued throughout 5/10
Heung-min Son: Son had no chances of note in a drab attacking performance from the usually ruthless Spurs frontman 5/10
Lucas Mora: Moura replaced Spurs on 65′ and added a little urgency to Spurs’ attack without changing the game with a goal or assist 6/10
Harry Winks: Winks came on in the 72nd minute for Bentancur but had a negligible impact 6/10
Steven Bergwijn: The Dutchman was Antonio Conte’s last roll of the dice but had no effect 6/10
Kulusevski escaped ‘100 per cent red’ for elbow on Cucurella
By Oliver Young-Myles
Dejan Kulusevski avoided a possible red card for an elbow on Marc Cucurella during the first half of Tottenham’s Premier League game against Brighton.
“I think it’s a red card,” former Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas said at half-time. “I think he’s attempting to use force which comes under the ruling of violent conduct. He’s trying to elbow Cucurella in his face from him there.
“Now this is subjective to the referee and how he sees it and reads it. The issue I have is I don’t see how he’s not seen that as attempting to hurt somebody which would come under the violent conduct rule which would be a straight red card.
“I think Tottenham got away with one there and Kulusevski got away with one. It was unfortunate for Brighton.”
Glenn Murray agreed. “It’s an incredible decision,” he said. “It’s 100 per cent a red card, there’s no doubt in my mind. Kulusevski tries to take Cucurella’s head off and that’s where VAR has got to come into play, this is why we’ve brought it into the game. Even if Craig Pawson goes over to the monitor and has a look for himself… that’s why we’ve got VAR for those contentious decisions.
“I think Tottenham are very, very lucky.”
Jenas added: “If it was a punch that missed, what’s the difference? He’s trying to hurt somebody and that’s why it’s a red card and it was missed by Lee Mason and VAR as well.”
Brighton player ratings
Robert Sanchez: Sanchez had little to do given Spurs’ failure to create chances but he looked shaky when he came out to collect corners 5/10
Joel Veltman: Veltman was Brighton’s most impressive centre-half as they frustrated Spurs’ attack 7/10
Lewis Dunks: Dunk, too, was key to Brighton’s successful smothering of Spurs’ forwards 7/10
Marc Cucurella: Cucurella did admirably defensively but showed little of the attacking verve that usually makes him dangerous 6/10
Tariq Lamptey: Lamptey was Brighton’s most creative force, impressing down the right throughout before going off on 81 minutes 8/10
PascalGross: Gross linked play well in the first half but had few moments of standout brilliance 6/10
Yves Bissouma: At the base of Brighton’s midfield, Bissouma was central in a stout performance but did nothing exceptional 6/10
Moses Caicedo: Caicedo, too, was a linking player for Brighton and buzzed about midfield all game. He had a heavy touch in the box early in the second half that could have yielded a good chance and subbed off on 78′ 7/10
Leander Trossard: Trossard, like Lamptey, stretched Spurs’ defense as a wide runner and formed a key part of Graham Potter’s side’s pressing game, grabbing the winner which his great performance merited 9/10
Enock Mwepu: Mwepu was lucky to still be on the pitch after a first half of reckless challenges and was subbed at half-time 5/10
Alexis MacAllister: The Argentinian struggled as the sole presence in the box against all three Spurs centre-halves, but nevertheless was key to Brighton’s effective high press 6/10
Danny Welbeck: Subbed on for Mwepu at half-time, Welbeck got about the final third and made himself a nuisance 7/10
Adam Lallana: Caicedo’s replacement, Lallana’s impact was negligible 6/10
Solly March: The replacement for Lamptey, March took over the wing-back’s attacking responsibilities well but did not create anything 6/10
Conte says Brighton ‘deserved’ victory
Conte was in a dejected mood after full-time, telling BT Sport: ““It was a difficult game but we knew this and I had seen the game against Arsenal and we knew what could have happened today in the tactical aspect.
“It was a very tactical game and I think maybe in the end a draw was the more fair final result.
“But in the end Brighton won the game and they deserved to win,” he continued. “It was for sure a difficult game for us. We started very slowly.”
The typically understated Graham Potter was understandably effusive about Brighton’s performance.
“Our performance was fantastic, the players to a man were exceptional,” he said. “We all understood what we were trying to do and then to pop up with a goal at the end was an amazing day for us.
“I don’t think it was a lucky win, I think we deserved the win.”
That, too, was the conclusion of Jermaine Jenas, with the BT pundit punishing his former club Spurs.
“They were the better team, much more energized,” Jenas said. “They came in with a plan and executed it to perfection, whether it was the battle in midfield, how the defensive line set up.
“Spurs had no shots on targets today and there was no space anywhere on the pitch which showed you how efficient Brighton were.
He added: “Spurs were just getting more sloppy as the game went on and that bit of defending, the corner, you can see why Eric Dier has gone that way. He was trying to block going into the other corner, but it was so sharp and quick by Trossard.”