ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • Tottenham left it late again yesterday. Son Heung-min's second goal in four days since returning from the Asian Cup earned a 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle that allowed Spurs to leapfrog Manchester City into second place.
Spurs also struck at the death to beat Fulham and Watford in recent weeks to ensure they have kept pace since Harry Kane and Dele Alli were injured.
Mauricio Pochettino's men are within four points of leaders Liverpool (61), who are in action at West Ham tomorrow, but just as significantly, they opened up a 10-point lead on Arsenal in the race for a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.
In keeping with a season of struggles, Tottenham were forced all the way by a dogged Newcastle, who were buoyed by a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek.
Lucas Moura headed wide from point-blank range, Erik Lamela hit the woodwork and Christian Eriksen's flick was somehow hooked off the line by Fabian Schar - until Son settled it seven minutes from time.
"The two games were very important," said the South Korean, who scored the equaliser against Watford in midweek and compensated for Kane's absence with his ninth goal in 10 appearances and his 14th of the season.
Goals Son Heung-Min has been involved in his last 10 games (nine scored, five assisted) for Tottenham.
"With six points we have had a great week. It was a difficult game, but we are happy to get the six points and we deserved this one."
He had a helping hand from Martin Dubravka, the goalkeeper who let the powerful effort slip under his grasp to undo all his side's good work in holding out for 83 minutes.
Newcastle's club record £20 million signing (S$35.5 million), playmaker Miguel Almiron, did not have international clearance to make his debut, so Rafael Benitez named the same side that started against City with the same game plan to defend deep and frustrate their opponents.
Fernando Llorente, the 33-year-old match winner against Watford, was benched after playing the full 90 minutes in Spurs' three previous games, leaving Moura to lead the line. But the Brazilian fluffed his lines, as did his teammates despite camping in the Newcastle half.
The hosts forced Dubravka into only one serious save before the break when former Magpies midfielder Moussa Sissoko turned a well-worked corner towards goal.
A similar pattern followed in the second half, but the visitors nearly caught Spurs cold with a flowing counter-attack when Salomon Rondon's powerful header from DeAndre Yedlin's cross came back off the post with Hugo Lloris stranded.
Lloris also had to make a flying save to turn a curling effort from Ayoze Perez behind.
But Spurs laid siege to Newcastle's wall of 10 men and had their reward. Pochettino was delighted by the character of his side, who have bounced back after being knocked out of both domestic Cups.
Asked if he will be supporting Arsenal who travel to City today, he said: "No, no way!"
He also questioned why they are being asked to play their next league game against Leicester on Sunday in the week of their Champions League last-16 first-leg game at home to Borussia Dortmund, who play their fixture on the Saturday.
"Twenty-four hours can make a massive difference," he said.
"It is difficult to understand."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS