BRIGHTON, ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Tottenham Hotspur kept themselves in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League with goals by Cristian Romero and Harry Kane bagging a 2-0 win at out-of-form Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday (March 16).
A dismal first half on a rainy night on the south coast was almost devoid of goalmouth action until central defender Romero deflected in Dejan Kulusevski's shot in the 37th minute to open his account for the club.
Tottenham were far brighter than their hosts in the second half and doubled the lead with a textbook counter-attack rounded off by Kane's unerring finish in the 57th minute.
It was Kane's 95th goal in 139 appearance away from home in the Premier League, taking him past Wayne Rooney with whom he had previously shared the record.
Brighton failed to really trouble Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris as they slumped to a sixth successive league defeat although they are well clear of relegation trouble.
Victory lifted Antonio Conte's Tottenham above Wolverhampton Wanderers into seventh place with 48 points, level with West Ham United who they have one game in hand on.
Tottenham, who host West Ham on Sunday, are three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal who lost 2-0 at home to title-chasing Liverpool. Arsenal have played one game less.
"We got ahead in the game and then I think we controlled it. Overall, it was a really good night away from home," Kane said.
"Sometimes you need a bit of luck to go your way to break the deadlock and that's what happened and from there we controlled it."
There was certainly a large slice of fortune about Tottenham's opening goal.
A rather languid move, in keeping with a boring first half, ended up with Kulusevski finally having a shot at goal and the ball glanced the leg of the lurking Romero to wrong-foot Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez.
Tottenham's second was clinical.
Brighton were actually enjoying their best spell of the game but when a move broke down, Rodrigo Bentancur's incisive pass released Kane who had timed his run to perfection.
The England captain drilled a shot low inside Sanchez's near post before the keeper had time to set himself.
It was Kane's 178th Premier League goal, taking him past Frank Lampard into fifth place on the all-time list.
Tottenham could have extended their lead late on with Kane having a penalty appeal turned down and setting up Sergio Reguilon whose shot was saved.
It was the perfect response to a 3-2 defeat by fifth-placed Manchester United at the weekend and Conte challenged his players to keep the pressure on in the top-four battle.
"It's a difficult target, to reach fourth place is not simple but I feel we are ready to fight in every game," the Italian said. "On Sunday we have a crucial game against West Ham and they have the same target as us."