Danny Ings’ brilliant first half goal gave Southampton a deserved 1-0 win over Tottenham in an uninspiring game at St Mary’s Stadium.
Ings neat touch and finish gave Saints the lead; a superbly taken goal which Spurs never recovered from. Despite some late pressure from Jose Mourinho’s side, the game finished 1-0.
Tottenham came into the game having rescued a point against bottom side Norwich last time out, with only one win in their last three Premier League games.
But it was Southampton, unbeaten in their last three games who started brighter, defender Cedric Soares found himself unmarked at the back post, but couldn’t guide his shot on target.
With two goals in his last two games, Harry Kane had Spurs’ first chance of the match, his deflected shot from the edge of the Saints’ penalty area was tipped wide by goalkeeper Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Nathan Redmond was next to go close for Southampton. The attacker’s low shot was parried by Spurs’ goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga with 15 minutes on the clock.
And it was the home side who took the lead in superb fashion. Ings was given enough space in the penalty area to delicately lob the ball over Toby Alderweireld who fell to the floor leaving Ings to fire past Gazzaniga from close range to make the score 1-0 after 17 minutes.
Southampton were troubling the Tottenham defence with every attack. Stuart Armstrong’s low cross was struck first time by Redmond from just a couple of yards out, but this time Alderweireld managed to make the block.
Mourinho’s side were ending the half strongly. Kane’s low shot from the edge of the penalty area was parried by McCarthy, who spilt the effort in the wet conditions at St Mary’s Stadium. The ‘keeper managed to get to his feet quickly ahead of Dele Alli to deny the away side an equaliser.
From the resulting corner Jan Vertonghen wasted a glorious opportunity from close range, failing to keep his shot down when well placed.
The half ended with Southampton deservedly leading 1-0.
Southampton started the second half exactly as they finished the first. With less than five minutes played in the second period Southampton felt they should have been awarded a penalty.
Alderweireld clearly handled the ball in the penalty area, referee Mike Dean waved away the appeals and a VAR check decided that no spot-kick should be awarded.
Tottenham were growing into the game as the second half progressed but were failing to create a clear-cut chances. The travelling support were backing their team vocally though as the away side pushed for an equalising goal.
With 20 minutes to go, Vertonghen’s tame header from a long range free-kick was the closest Spurs had come to scoring.
Harry Kane thought he had equalised for Tottenham with 73 minutes played. The England captain produced a first-time finish into the back of the net, but the offside flag was raised, and to add insult to injury, Kane was then immediately substituted with a pulled hamstring.
Southampton substitute Shane Long came closest to extending his side’s lead in a half where the home side had very few chances, but his header floated wide of the target.
Tottenham threw bodies forward in the hope of finding a last grasp equalising goal, but failed to create any clear cut opportunities. 1-0 the final score. Southampton now unbeaten in their last four Premier League games.
Next up for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side is an FA Cup third round fixture against Huddersfield Town of the Championship on Sunday, while Tottenham are away at Middlesbrough on the same day in the same competition.