Tottenham survive red card and Lloris howler to overcome Southampton
Tottenham 2 Southampton 1
Spurs had to play for an hour with 10 men but got the win they badly needed after a troubling fortnight.
Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane scored either side of a calamitous Saints equaliser and a red card for Serge Aurier on a tricky afternoon for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Ndombele grabbed his first goal since the opening weekend, smashing a left footer through Angus Gunn after a lay-off from Heung-Min Son on 24 minutes.
But Spurs were down to 10 men with the game barely half an hour old.
Referee Graham Scott had already booked Aurier for a scissor tackle Sofiane Boufal when he waved another yellow at the right back for hauling back Ryan Bertrand as the Saints defender tried to get past him down the left flank.
For all the booing directed at Scott and Bertrand after that, it looked the right decision.
And a further misfortune befell spurs when Hugo Lloris dithered with the ball at his feet near his own goal-line after taking a routine backpass from Toby Alderweireld.
Danny Ings sensed half a chance and pounced – toe-poking the ball into the net in a goal which carried echoes of the goal the Spurs skipper conceded in France’s World Cup final victory over Croatia last summer.
At least the embarrassment was short-lived, with Harry Kane finishing off a sweeping move to restore the lead before the interval. It followed a clip in from the right by Son and an important touch on by Christian Erikensen to the England striker.
Saints had Spurs pinned back for long spells as they tried to make their numerical advantage tell and James ward-Prowse went close to a second equaliser with a well struck free-kick which Lloris did well to claw away from the top corner.
The keeper had to make an even better save to keep out a close-range header from Maya Yoshida soon after, as he continued to atone for his first-half error.
But it was no means one-way traffic and Kane twice went close to settling the contest – almost reaching a low Danny Rose cross with a lunge and firing narrowly wide after a typically lithe wriggle into the inside left channel.
They had to do it the hard way, but held on without too much discomfort in the end.
After a trying couple of weeks which has included dropped Champions League points in Greece, a loss at Leicester City and League Cup humiliation at Colchester, this was just what the doctor ordered.
Line up: Lloris – Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose – Sissoko, Winks (Wanyama 90), Ndombele (Dier 78) – Eriksen – Son (Lamela 64), Kane. Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Alli, Moura, Davies