Premier League
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough1TottenhamTottenham Hotspur2

Middlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Son Heung-min
Son Heung-min opens the scoring for Tottenham at the Riverside Stadium

Son Heung-min scored two superb goals as Tottenham moved up to second in the Premier League with victory at Middlesbrough.

On a windy day at the Riverside Stadium, Spurs took the lead when Son feinted to shoot twice in the area before striking a low 10-yard effort.

The South Korean made it 2-0 when he wriggled out of a tight position and curled in from edge of the area.

Boro improved after the break and pulled a goal back through Ben Gibson.

Tottenham's win means they have made their best start in the top flight for 51 years.

Son shows leadership qualities

Alvaro Negredo and Son Heung-min touchmap
Son Heung-min's touchmap (right) shows what a big influence he was in attack for Spurs - in contrast, Boro striker Alvaro Negredo only had one touch in the box during his 59 minutes on the field

Since joining Spurs at the start of last season, Son has often been the foil to Harry Kane's role as lead striker.

The 24-year-old's industry and unselfish play around the attacking areas has complemented the more predatory Kane, who has grabbed the goals, headlines and adulation.

With Kane injured, though, Son showed himself a more than able understudy.

Both of his goals were wonderful. The first saw him play a one-two with Vincent Janssen, fool both Adam Clayton and Calum Chambers, then shoot past Victor Valdes.

His second was better.

There looked to be little threat to the Boro goal as Son reached the byeline on the right of the area. However, the forward then wriggled out of his tight position, before turning and firing a fantastic low curling shot into the far corner.

Tottenham's Achilles?

'Fantastic' Spurs please Pochettino

Spurs fans will not want to be reminded of their side letting leads slip.

In the last four games of the 2015-16 campaign, it happened on three occasions - two resulted in draws and one in a 2-1 defeat by Southampton. Not only did their title hopes evaporate but they also failed to hold on to second spot.

On Saturday, they dominated a flaky Boro side during the first half. But after the break, Mauricio Pochettino's side appeared to ease off the pressure, allowing the home side back in.

Had Boro been more potent in attack, it might yet again have been a case of 'one that got away'.

Traore spirit lifts Boro

Karanka 'frustrated' with Middlesbrough defeat

Boro boss Aitor Karanka will have been buoyed by the turnaround in the second half. The only thing missing was the player to link midfield and attack.

There was little penetration in the attacking third, until Adama Traore was brought on in the 59th minute.

The former Aston Villa midfielder displayed bravado that had been missing when he twice ran through the heart of the Spurs midfield, but with no end product. If he gets that part of his game right, he could be crucial in Boro's aim to stay in the Premier League.

The home side's goal came from a familiar source when Stewart Downing delivered a free-kick from the left that Gibson nodded down past the diving Hugo Lloris.

Man of the match - Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

Son Heung-min
Son Heung-min has now scored four league goals - as many as he managed last season. The South Korean scored from two of his four shots and had over 90% passing accuracy at the Riverside Stadium.

Manager reaction

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: "It's frustrating for me to work for seven days to try to show them how Tottenham play and how good they are if we let them play, then we go on the pitch and seven minutes later we are losing 1-0.

"These mistakes were made last week and the week before, but the worst and most frustrating thing for me was the attitude, especially in the first half because in the second half we were completely different."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: "We fully deserved the result - the most important thing is the victory. Son was fantastic but it was a collective effort.

"The first half was great and we should have scored more than two. We need to learn to be more aggressive and clinical."

The stats you need to know

  • Son has had a hand in seven goals (six goals, one assist) in his past six Premier League appearances for Spurs.
  • Son has already equalled his Premier League goal tally from last season (four) in just three games, via two doubles this season.
  • Tottenham have won 23 of their past 25 Premier League games against newly promoted sides since losing 1-0 to QPR in April 2012.
  • Boro have failed to win any of their opening three home Premier League fixtures of a season for the first time since 2000-01.
  • By contrast, Spurs have remained unbeaten in their opening six Premier League games of a season for the first time since 2004-05.

What's next?

Spurs are at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday in the Champions League (19:45 BST) before returning to Premier League action next Sunday at home to leaders Manchester City (14:15), while Boro are at West Ham on Saturday (15:00).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Valdés
  • 17Barragán
  • 25Chambers
  • 6Gibson
  • 3FriendBooked at 90mins
  • 14de Roon
  • 8ClaytonSubstituted forForshawat 82'minutes
  • 18Stuani
  • 21RamírezSubstituted forTraoréat 59'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 19Downing
  • 10NegredoSubstituted forRhodesat 59'minutes


  • 4Ayala
  • 9Rhodes
  • 11Fischer
  • 12Guzan
  • 24Nsue
  • 34Forshaw
  • 37Traoré


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Lloris
  • 2WalkerBooked at 63mins
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 33Davies
  • 23EriksenSubstituted forNkoudouat 90'minutes
  • 12Wanyama
  • 20Alli
  • 17SissokoSubstituted forLamelaat 70'minutes
  • 9JanssenSubstituted forWinksat 86'minutes
  • 7Son Heung-Min


  • 11Lamela
  • 13Vorm
  • 14Nkoudou
  • 16Trippier
  • 27Wimmer
  • 29Winks
  • 38Carter-Vickers
Graham Scott

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamTottenham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  3. Booking

    George Friend (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Erik Lamela.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur).

  6. Post update

    George Friend (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou replaces Christian Eriksen.

  8. Post update

    Hand ball by George Friend (Middlesbrough).

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  10. Booking

    Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Winks replaces Vincent Janssen.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Vincent Janssen.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adam Forshaw replaces Adam Clayton.

  16. Post update

    Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Marten de Roon (Middlesbrough).

  18. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Dele Alli.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Calum Chambers.

As It Stood

1Man City66001851318
6Man Utd6402127512
7Crystal Palace6312107310
9West Brom62227618
18West Ham5104713-63
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