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Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Southampton: Bale and Son score as Spurs fight back

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport
Gareth Bale scores for Tottenham
Gareth Bale has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Southampton

Son Heung-min's late penalty capped a Tottenham fightback against Southampton that handed interim head coach Ryan Mason victory in his first match in charge.

Former Spurs midfielder Mason, the Premier League's youngest head coach at the age of 29, succeeded Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese was sacked on Monday.

He made a winning start to his tenure after Gareth Bale curled in a superb equaliser and then a late VAR intervention saw Son convert after a Moussa Djenepo foul on Harry Winks was shown to be just inside the penalty area.

Until Bale's composed finish on the hour mark the hosts had been second best to a slick Southampton side who went in front when Danny Ings glanced in James Ward-Prowse's corner.

With Harry Kane missing and still a doubt for Sunday's Carabao Cup final, Spurs were flat for long periods and appeared to have been affected by their tumultuous few days, with Mourinho departing fewer than 24 hours after the club announced they were to join a new European Super League.

Chairman Daniel Levy has since expressed regret over the "anxiety and upset" caused by the proposal, which has now collapsed following widespread condemnation.

Signs of that backlash were evident prior to kick-off as groups of Spurs supporters gathered outside their club's stadium calling for Levy and owners the ENIC group to leave the club.

Despite the unrest and an unsettling start to the week, this result moves Tottenham up to sixth - two points outside the top four - while the Saints remain 14th in the table.

Tottenham 2-1 Southampton: Spurs were 'outstanding' after Southampton win says Ryan Mason

Spurs bounce back

Already out of the Europa League and having collected just five points from the last 15 available, Spurs came into this match in acute need of a victory to boost their hopes of finishing in the top four.

While they eventually got a result that suggested an immediate bounce from their managerial change, there was little urgency to their play in the first half and Mason will know a similar lethargy will be more heavily punished against Manchester City this weekend.

In fact, only the excellence of Hugo Lloris prevented the hosts from falling behind inside three minutes, with the France goalkeeper repelling Mohammed Salisu's header and reacting superbly to push Che Adams' follow up to safety.

Kane's absence also meant there was a distinct lack of leadership as well as cutting edge, despite Bale's reintroduction to the starting XI for the first time in over a month.

That lacklustre opening 45 minutes was epitomised by a wild Lucas Moura effort just before the break that flew well over the bar and ensured Spurs ended the first half without registering a shot on target in a top-flight home game for the first time this season.

They improved after the break and looked to have found a winner after 75 minutes when Son stroked home Sergio Reguilon's cut back.

However, a VAR review concluded Moura had obscured the view of Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from an offside position, but Son and Spurs were not to be denied with the South Korean making no mistake from the penalty spot in added time.

Tottenham 2-1 Southampton: Southampton were 'not good enough' says Ralph Hasenhuttl

Saints falter at the last

While Southampton appeared weary in Sunday's defeat to Leicester City, they quickly dispelled any ideas they might be suffering from a post FA Cup semi-final hangover.

Brimming with energy and benefitting from five changes made by boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, the Saints took control early on.

Nathan Tella's marauding run and cross from the left set the tone and should have been rewarded by an opening goal from either Salisu or Adams.

James Ward-Prowse, who drove his side forward at every opportunity, was the busiest player on the pitch as he covered nearly 12km, while Kyle Walker-Peters and Stuart Armstrong were also industrious.

But an evening that had started so promisingly began to go wrong after Ings appeared to tweak his hamstring attempting to curl a shot past Lloris.

The sight of Southampton's top goalscorer limping off was an invitation for Spurs to push forward, take control of the match and ultimately take all three points.

'Win important for many reasons' - what they said

Tottenham interim manager Ryan Mason speaking to Sky Sports: "Fantastic - so proud of the boys. They had so much energy and bravery, especially after the first 20 to 30 minutes. Southampton came out of the blocks - they were good. We showed belief and stuck to the plan so full credit because the energy and commitment was great.

"Southampton built up momentum and Hugo [Lloris] pulled out some excellent saves early on. We had full control second half and we were creating chances.

"At half time it was about giving the players confidence. We've only had a short amount of time but for me the biggest thing was commitment, energy and bravery to do good things and express ourselves and take risks at times.

"Tonight was important for many things, the change in manager, a lot has gone on at the club in the last 48 hours and it was important to get back to winning ways. The performance and energy were outstanding."

Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "I can't say we had less energy than on Sunday. We still had a good game but were better today with the ball, we had a clearer plan and we had more movement and more chances. In the first half we had chances for three goals and scored one. It's not enough to score one goal because we always concede one - clean sheets are missing. The way we defended was not good enough.

"We have eight substitutes and normally should be able to replace him [Danny Ings] but today we couldn't really push our game with the subs and the opponents were stronger.

"If it's a foul it was a penalty. But I have seen the same thing in first half in the middle of the pitch and we didn't get a foul. It's hard to take but we have to."

Saints' stuttering form - the stats

  • Ryan Mason (29y 312d) became the youngest manager in Premier League history, while he is only the second person since the Football League resumed in 1946-47 to manage a top-flight game while in their 20s after Frank Sibley, whose first game was in August 1977 vs Aston Villa, also at the age of 29, as QPR boss.
  • After losing each of the previous six Premier League games in which they found themselves behind at half-time this season, Spurs have won a top-flight match from such a position for the first time since December 2019 (2-1 vs Brighton).
  • Since the day following Southampton topping the Premier League table for the very first time (November 7th), only Sheffield United (13) have won fewer points in the division than the Saints (P24 W5 D5 L14 - 20 points).
  • Southampton have now dropped more points from winning positions than any other Premier League team this season (21).
  • As a Southampton player, Danny Ings has scored more goals against Tottenham than he has versus any other side (six). Since he joined the Saints in 2018-19, no player has more top-flight goals versus Spurs than the Englishman (five, alongside Roberto Firmino).
  • In Premier League history, only Matt Le Tissier (63) has more assists for Southampton than James Ward-Prowse (28) - this season alone he has delivered more assists via set-pieces than any other player (six).
  • Gareth Bale has had a direct hand in 11 goals in his last 11 starts in all competitions for Tottenham (nine goals, five assists), while he's scored in each of his three Premier League games against former club Southampton.
  • Tottenham's Son Heung-min has scored 15 Premier League goals in 2020-21, his best goalscoring season in the competition. His five goals against Southampton this season is the most by a player against a single side since Mohamed Salah v Watford in 2017-18 (also five).

What's next?

Tottenham face Manchester City in the EFL Cup final on Sunday, 25 April (16:30 BST) before resuming Premier League action against Sheffield United on Sunday, 2 May (19:15 BST).

Southampton are next in action when they host Leicester in the Premier League on Friday, 30 April (20:00 BST)

Player of the match

BaleGareth Bale

with an average of 7.40

Tottenham Hotspur

  1. Squad number9Player nameBale
    Average rating

    7.40

  2. Squad number7Player nameSon Heung-Min
    Average rating

    6.89

  3. Squad number1Player nameLloris
    Average rating

    6.35

  4. Squad number5Player nameHøjbjerg
    Average rating

    6.13

  5. Squad number3Player nameReguilón
    Average rating

    5.98

  6. Squad number27Player nameLucas Moura
    Average rating

    5.95

  7. Squad number8Player nameWinks
    Average rating

    5.89

  8. Squad number15Player nameDier
    Average rating

    5.85

  9. Squad number4Player nameAlderweireld
    Average rating

    5.85

  10. Squad number18Player nameLo Celso
    Average rating

    5.80

  11. Squad number11Player nameLamela
    Average rating

    5.62

  12. Squad number24Player nameAurier
    Average rating

    5.45

  13. Squad number28Player nameNdombele
    Average rating

    5.44

  14. Squad number23Player nameBergwijn
    Average rating

    5.34

Southampton

  1. Squad number9Player nameIngs
    Average rating

    6.78

  2. Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse
    Average rating

    6.24

  3. Squad number2Player nameWalker-Peters
    Average rating

    6.16

  4. Squad number17Player nameArmstrong
    Average rating

    6.11

  5. Squad number4Player nameVestergaard
    Average rating

    6.01

  6. Squad number35Player nameBednarek
    Average rating

    5.83

  7. Squad number10Player nameAdams
    Average rating

    5.83

  8. Squad number23Player nameTella
    Average rating

    5.83

  9. Squad number22Player nameSalisu
    Average rating

    5.82

  10. Squad number1Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating

    5.73

  11. Squad number32Player nameWalcott
    Average rating

    5.27

  12. Squad number11Player nameRedmond
    Average rating

    5.22

  13. Squad number27Player nameDiallo
    Average rating

    4.98

  14. Squad number12Player nameDjenepo
    Average rating

    4.85

Line-ups

Tottenham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 24Aurier
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 15DierBooked at 90mins
  • 3Reguilón
  • 28NdombeleBooked at 43minsSubstituted forWinksat 73'minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 9BaleSubstituted forBergwijnat 83'minutes
  • 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forLamelaat 79'minutes
  • 7Son Heung-Min
  • 27Lucas Moura

Substitutes

  • 6D Sánchez
  • 8Winks
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 17Sissoko
  • 20Alli
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 25Tanganga
  • 45Alves Morais

Southampton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1McCarthy
  • 2Walker-Peters
  • 35Bednarek
  • 4Vestergaard
  • 22Salisu
  • 32WalcottSubstituted forDjenepoat 67'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 17Armstrong
  • 23TellaSubstituted forRedmondat 84'minutes
  • 10Adams
  • 9IngsSubstituted forDialloat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Stephens
  • 11Redmond
  • 12Djenepo
  • 19Minamino
  • 27Diallo
  • 40N'Lundulu
  • 44Forster
  • 47Ferry
  • 64Jankewitz
Referee:
David Coote

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home12
Away10
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Southampton 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Southampton 1.

  3. Booking

    Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Ibrahima Diallo (Southampton).

  6. Post update

    Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur).

  7. Post update

    Ibrahima Diallo (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Kyle Walker-Peters.

  9. Post update

    Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Southampton 1. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  10. Post update

    VAR Decision: Penalty Tottenham Hotspur.

  11. Booking

    Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Penalty Tottenham Hotspur. Sergio Reguilón draws a foul in the penalty area.

  13. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) after a foul in the penalty area.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Jan Bednarek.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Redmond replaces Nathan Tella.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).

  17. Post update

    Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Steven Bergwijn replaces Gareth Bale.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur).

  20. Post update

    Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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