LONDON • The star of the show was the stadium. It was as if Tottenham players were waiting until the second half when they were attacking the South Stand with its magnificent bank of 17,000 fans, before allowing themselves to feel at home, and Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen duly scored.
This was a night for Spurs fans to savour a 2-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace that took them back above their neighbours Arsenal into third spot, but it was an evening that meant even more.
It meant they now have the finest stadium in the country. All those planning debates, frustrating delays and rising expenses were upliftingly worthwhile.
Fans, players, staff and board stood during the brief ceremony and looked proudly around on Wednesday. Harry Kane, usually the model of professional focus, permitted himself a glance up, admiring his new home.
Club chairman Daniel Levy dreamt big with the state-of-the-art building and now has to dress the windows. He has not signed any player in the past two transfer periods.
Palace held Spurs to a goal-less first half, but the hosts were not to be denied. Ten minutes after the restart, Son fired in a shot that thrilled the crowd of 59,215 before Eriksen added the icing on the party cake 10 minutes from time.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said his club are now "World Cup winners" in terms of facilities and called on his players to now perform at a "world-class" level.
"Now we are World Cup winners in facilities," said Pochettino. "Now the stadium is here and we need to be on the same level."
Yesterday, Spurs announced a world-record net profit of £113 million (S$201.4 million) in 2017-18, but costs for the club's new stadium rose above £1 billion.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea beat Brighton 3-0 to move level on 63 points with Arsenal.
THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS