Eriksen the architect as Spurs stage stunning comeback to beat Southampton
PUBLISHED: 15:29 23 March 2014 | UPDATED: 19:05 23 March 2014
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Premier League: Tottenham 3 Southampton 2
Having gone out of the Europa League on Thursday to Benfica, Tottenham started their final eight game run in the Premier League with a dramatic victory against Southampton.
Spurs gifted the Saints a 19th minute lead when Kyle Naughton allowed an Artur Boruc clearance to bounce over him. Jay Rodriguez raced free and curled the ball home.
Just nine minutes later it was two as the Spurs defender presented Rickie Lambert with the ball. The Saints striker laid it off to Adam Lallana and he fired home to double the lead.
Naughton redeemed himself slightly but it was not a game for right backs as Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne lost the ball and allowed Christian Eriksen to fire home on 31 minutes.
And 46 seconds into the second half it was Dejan Lovren’s turn to make an error as Roberto Soldado robbed him of the ball and teed up the Dane to tap home the equaliser.
And in stoppage time, Tottenham won it when Gylfi Sigurdsson fired home from 20 yards after Eriksen teed him up.
Tottenham’s record after Europa League games has been poor, of the 11 games played before today Spurs have won four, drawn one and lost six.
In those games the Lilywhites have scored six and conceded 14, including a 5-0 home drubbing against Liverpool that cost Tim Sherwood’s predecessor Andrehis job.
The north Londoners have also been ravaged by injuries with Kyle Walker, Vlad Chiriches, Emmanuel Adebayor, Erik Lamela and Sandro, who played the 90 minutes at Benfica, all absent from the matchday squad.
Regular captain Michael Dawson could only take his place up front with Roberto Soldado preferred to Harry Kane, despite the youngsters impressive cameo in Portugual.
From the team that drew in Benfica Brad Friedel, Andros Townsend, Zeki Fryers and Gylfi Sigurdsson dropped to the bench with Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele coming into the side.
Southampton benefitted from the lack of European football and only made two changes from the side that beat Norwich 4-2 last Saturday.
Rickie Lambert and Jack Cork returned to the side in place of Gaston Ramirez and Morgan Schneiderlin.
It was the visitors that made the brighter start as Nabil Bentaleb, a regular in Sherwood’s starting XIs, was dispossessed by Adam Lallana and captain Younes Kaboul was forced to clear away.
The defender had the first effort on goal for his side as he headed a corner straight into the grateful hands of Artur Boruc.
Defensively, Spurs looked vulnerable with their high line giving Southampton hope.
It came to their rescue after eight minutes when Rickie Lambert stuck the ball in the net but the offside flag had was up a long time again.
But the line came back to haunt them as a long clearance from Boruc caught out Naughton allowing Rodriguez to run through and slide the ball past Lloris.
Luke Shaw nearly made it 2-0 after 24 minutes but his shot was deflected wide by Mousa Dembele.
It was two after 28 minutes as Naughton’s horror show continued.
The full back failed to deal with a ball across the box and gifted the ball to Lambert, who found Lallana and he created an opening and fired past Lloris.
Spurs immediately pulled a goal back as Southampton full back Clyne lost the ball in the penalty area after Naughton’s cross and allowed Eriksen to fire home.
Sherwood made a half-time change, bringing on Gylfi Sigurdsson for Mousa Dembele, while Southampton withdrew Clyne and brought on Calum Chambers.
And 46 seconds after the restart, Soldado dispossessed Dejan Lovren and broke down the right flank.
His perfectly weighted cross fell to Eriksen who tapped home to level the scores.
Spurs started to hit their stride and Nacer Chadli broke free and forced a good save out of Boruc.
Southampton were unable to hit their stride after the equaliser and it became all Tottenham as the game wore on.
Eriksen had a chance to complete his hat-trick but his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Spurs also enjoyed the lions’ share of possession as Mauricio Pochettino’s side tried to contain them.
Southampton hit back in the final five minutes as Lambert saw his effort flash wide.
But, as additional time was running out, Sigurdsson struck a 20-yard thunderbolt to win it for Sherwood’s side and the head coach danced down the touchline in celebration at the winner.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Rose, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Lennon (Townsend 72), Eriksen, Bentaleb, Dembele (Sigurdsson 46), Chadli, Soldado.
Unused Substitutes: Friedel, Paulinho, Dawson, Fryers, Kane.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne (Chambers 46), Lovren, Fonte, Lambert (Gallagher 89), Davis, Rodriguez (Ramirez 64), Ward-Prowse, Cork, Lallana, Shaw.
Unused Substitutes: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Reed.