Tottenham 1-0 Everton: Keane’s own goal seals Spurs victory
Tottenham 1-0 Everton: Michael Keane’s own goal seals Spurs’ victory as Hugo Lloris and Heung-min Son clash.
The Spurs duo had to be separated by team-mates after the half-time whistle following a furious bust-up that stemmed from a Richarlison chance moments before the interval.
Jose Mourinho was forced to cope without Dele Alli, who had been struggling with a hamstring problem, while Toby Alderweireld returned to the starting XI at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in place of the benched Davinson Sanchez.
Both sides’ form had been inconsistent of late and neither could afford to lose in the race for European qualification, and a cagey opening 20 minutes did nothing to suggest that this would be a goal-laden contest.
Indeed, it was fitting that in a game that highlighted a lack of quality in the final third, an own goal would bring about the opener.
That goal gave Spurs some breathing room as they settled into the game without ever looking likely to grab a second. Everton struggled to get Dominic Calvert-Lewin involved, but Richarlison came closest to equalising in first-half stoppage time, firing just wide of Pickford’s goal.
Lloris reacted angrily after the chance and aimed his criticism towards Son, who looked to have been accused of failing to track back and help out the defence.
However, the duo was pictured embracing after the break, suggesting the matter had been resolved as the teams headed back out for the second half.
Son appeared to have been fired up by the incident and looked more lively in the second half, curling just wide of Pickford’s far post before testing the England goalkeeper with a fierce strike.
Everton rallied late on but failed to truly test Lloris in the Tottenham goal as Mourinho’s men held on for a vital three points.
They are now eighth in the table, with the battle for European qualification nearing an intriguing finale.