ASTON VILLA 1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2
TOTTENHAM manager Maurico Pochettino hinted that match-winner Harry Kane finally warrants a starting berth in his side after the England Under-21 forward climbed off the bench to complete Spurs’ comeback against Aston Villa yesterday.
The White Hart Lane club’s miserable run of form looked set to be extended to one win in eight league games until Belgium striker Christian Benteke’s second-half dismissal, with goal-shy Villa in the ascendency courtesy of Andreas Weimann’s deserved opener.
Former Twente forward Nacer Chadli restored parity before Spurs secured maximum points in the dying stages through Kane, who is yet to make a league start for Tottenham this term despite spearheading the club’s attack with with eight goals in Europa League and Capital One Cup ties.
“We are all happy because he [Harry Kane] scored to give us victory and it was perfect,” said Pochettino. “His situation was a big impact for us and he deserved his reward. We analyse and we pick the team but it is true from the beginning of the season he is getting better and has improved and this is a decision. Maybe he deserves to play in the next game, why not?”
Benteke made his second start since returning to the Villa fold after a six-month lay-off with an achilles injury and came close to opening the scoring early on, heading wide from an enticing cross from Matthew Lowton.
After Roberto Soldado failed to hit the target with a close-range header, Benteke struck Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post with a thunderous left-footed effort moments before Villa’s vibrant start was rewarded when Weimann broke the deadlock.
The hosts had not found the net in over nine hours of football but regained their goalscoring touch on 16 minutes when Weimann slid in to meet Charles N’Zogbia’s centre and fire past Lloris.
Togo frontman Emmanuel Adebayor missed a glorious chance to equalise shortly before the half-hour mark, latching onto Soldado’s flicked ball beyond a retreating Villa defence but unable to beat Brad Guzan from point-blank range.
Benteke posed a threat all game and his sending off 20 minutes into the second half destabilised Villa and proved the turning point, with the 23-year-old shown a straight red card for raising his hands to Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason.
After failing to make much headway in the final third, Spurs levelled matters with six minutes remaining when Lamela’s inswinging corner was prodded home at the far post by Chadli for his fifth goal of the season.
Tottenham’s winner came in the 90th minute, Kane taking charge of a free-kick before his effort took a heavy deflection off Villa defender Nathan Baker to deceive Guzan.