Tottenham 1-0 Burnley (Kane pen 45+5′)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM — Whatever risk there was that Tottenham Hotspur would blow their newly acquired momentum in the race to qualify for the Champions League took until the very end of a nervous, tetchy win against Burnley to fully dissipate.
If there was confidence in the Spurs camp after that riotous win in Thursday’s North London derby, it did not always show against Mike Jackson’s relegation-threatened side, who limited Tottenham to a single goal, a penalty scored in first-half stoppage time by Harry Kane, which yielded in the end the narrowest, most invaluable win.
It had looked like being a far simpler affair. For the first 15 minutes, Burnley could not get out of their half. Twice in that time the hosts went close, first when Son-Heung-min tried to catch out Nick Pope at his near post, then again when Kane met Lucas Moura’s cross from the right, again kept out by Burnley’s goalkeeper. Emerson Royal was next to go close with a fine drive from distance, that after Nathan Collins had hooked Kane’s close-range header off the line from Ryan Sessegnon’s cross, in an opening that Spurs roundly dominated.
It took Burnley 23 minutes to get a spell of possession in Tottenham’s half, but once they did they began to remind supporters of the adventurous play that has turned their season around under Jackson.. Maxwell Cornet had the first half’s best chance when he fired straight at Hugo Lloris after being played in by a fine ball from Nathan Collins. Yet Spurs on the whole retained their ascendency; the first boos from the home fans for time wasting, directed at Pope, could be heard as early as the 33rd minute.
The inability to capitalise in their first-half dominance slowly took its toll, and by the end of the half the sting had largely gone out of Tottenham. Kane hit a tame shot wide from 30 yards before Rodrigo Bentancur tried the same, his shot flew high over Pope’s bar as Spurs’ well of ideas seemed to run dry.
The breakthrough had unlikely origins. With the half petering out, Davinson Sanchez hooked a ball into the box which caught the arm of Ashley Barnes stood a yard away. A protracted VAR check yielded a penalty, which Kane duly dispatched past a static Pope in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
The goal rescued a Spurs performance that was on the wane, but the penalty award was harsh on Burnley who weathered what had been thrown at them with discipline and no little courage.
They nearly hit back in 63 minutes, Ashley Barnes thundering a strike off Lloris’s post from distance to remind Spurs of their vulnerability at 1-0.
- Lloris – 7
- Sanchez – 6
- Dier – 6
- Davies – 6
- Royal – 7
- Hojbjerg – 6
- Bentancur – 6
- Sessegnon – 8
- Moura – 7
- Son – 7
- Kane – 7
- Kulusevski – 6
- Rodon – N/A
- Pope – 7
- Roberts – 6
- Long – 6
- Collins – 7
- Lowton – 7
- Taylor – 6
- Cork – 6
- Brownhill – 7
- McNeil – 7
- Barnes – 6
- Cornet – 7
- Weghorst – 6
- Lennon – 6
Antonio Conte’s team needed a second to calm their nerves, and it almost arrived two minutes later. Kane fed the excellent Sessegnon overlapping on the left, and his cut-back was met first-time by Son whose driven effort was heading for the bottom corner before Pope intervened with a superb reflex save.
Spurs upped the pressure into the final 10 minutes. Another glorious chance came from the same combination, Sessegnon crossed low, Son blasted it and there again was Pope to beat the ball away with a strong arm.
Burnley’s lingering threat remained without ever fully being realised. They will have better chances than this to win the points they need for Premier League survival. Tottenham hand centre stage to Arsenal on Monday night in the race to finish fourth.
Conte confirms four players were suffering from virus
Reports emerged on Sunday morning that Dejan Kulusevski had been suffering from a non-Covid related illness in the days since Spurs’ 3-0 win against Arsenal and before kick-off, Antonio Conte confirmed that the Swedish winger was one of four players affected.
“Honestly there was a problem because yesterday Kulusevski didn’t do the training session, he was sick with a stomach problem,” Conte revealed. “He was not the only player to have this, maybe a virus came around into the team.
“Yesterday four players but it is ok. Kulusevski didn’t have the training session, we have Lucas Moura. That is good and he came off the bench and I hope he is ready to come in.”