Tottenham frustrated by 10-man Southampton after Harry Kane penalty

Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu was sent off in the first half but, after Harry Kane’s spot-kick drew Spurs level, the home side held firm to finish the game 1-1

It threatened to be an ominous afternoon for Southampton when Mohammed Salisu was sent off after 39 minutes but Tottenham Hotspur had to make do with a point from this breathless encounter.

Antonio Conte may have preserved his unbeaten league record, becoming the first Spurs manager in history to go without defeat in his first seven matches in charge but there was no escaping the air of annoyance in his demeanour at the final whistle, after they failed to build on Harry Kane’s first-half equaliser from the spot. In fact, Southampton could have snatched victory had Davinson Sánchez not blocked from the substitute Armando Broja after Eric Dier made a hash of a routine clearance during five minutes of stoppage time.

Tottenham surely would have stretched their legs had Kane’s strike seven minutes into the second half stood. A flare thrown from the away end was still billowing into the air when the goal was disallowed for a marginal offside, the video assistant referee, Martin Atkinson, adjudging that Kane strayed beyond the Southampton backline before effortlessly taking a flighted Harry Winks pass in his stride and arrowing the ball into the corner with his next touch.

Southampton survived another contentious episode 15 minutes later. Fraser Forster clutched at thin air as he attempted to claim Emerson Royal’s cross under pressure from Tottenham’s half-time substitute, Matt Doherty, and inadvertently backheeled the ball into his own net. But the referee, Anthony Taylor, blew for a foul by the Spurs defender.

For Southampton this was a draw that felt like a victory. At the final whistle Ralph Hasenhüttl cut a delighted figure and embarked on a mini lap of appreciation, exchanging hearty applause with a buoyant home support. James Ward-Prowse was typically dogged but there were other, more unlikely, heroes. Yan Valery impressed at centre-back on his first league start since January and Shane Long did not relent on his first league start in more than a year, although he should have hit the target with an early header.

“We love to play here at this ground,” Hasenhüttl said. “It wasn’t always like this but we are getting more and more positive support from the fans because we deliver. At the moment we have a team you [the fans] can really identify with.”

Anthony Taylor shows Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu a red card on 39 minutes
Anthony Taylor shows Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu a red card on 39 minutes. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Conte was mindful of disrupting the momentum fostered in the last few weeks and so stopped short of radically changing things but decided to give Lucas Moura – arguably Spurs’ star performer in victory over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day – a breather, until calling on him to replace the muted Dele Alli with an hour gone. Alli, Ben Davies and Winks, all of whom impressed from the off against Liverpool before Christmas, were restored to the starting lineup but Conte’s fear about his team losing its identity was apparent as Southampton sped into the lead through their captain, Ward-Prowse. At one point, after haring down the touchline, Conte in a blue puffer coat had to be reined back into his technical area by the fourth official, Tim Robinson.

Spurs were shy of rhythm and appeared overwhelmed by Southampton’s desire to play them at their own game as Hasenhüttl, who made six changes from the win at West Ham, mirrored Tottenham’s 3-4-3 shape. Southampton looked sharp and Ward-Prowse put his team in front with a wonderful, arcing first-time strike. Alli did not deal with a Salisu long throw and Ward-Prowse hammered in a shot that curled away from Hugo Lloris and flew into the top corner. Southampton supporters gasped as replays of the goal appeared on the big screens.

Yet it was clear from early on that Kane was in the mood. He showed great craft to nutmeg Salisu on halfway before drifting past the challenge of Jan Bednarek and slipping a ball through for Alli. Fortunately for Southampton, it was slightly overcooked and Forster rushed out of goal to smother. A couple of minutes later Kane spied Sergio Reguilón on the overlap and telegraphed a ball out to the left flank. Kyle Walker-Peters tugged at Reguilón’s shirt and Davies headed in the subsequent free-kick – but from an offside position.

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Spurs huffed and puffed after falling behind, with Winks lucky Southampton did not profit from him dawdling on the edge of his own 18-yard box. Tottenham were toiling but then Winks killed the Southampton defence with a perfect pass and Salisu, already booked for a foul on Emerson, chopped down Son Heung-min. Forster walloped the ball downfield in frustration and Hasenhüttl knew what was coming. Southampton were reduced to 10 men and Spurs pulled level, Kane ruthlessly dispatching a flawless penalty high into the corner.

It should have been Tottenham’s cue to ram home their one-man advantage but, ultimately, they failed to make Southampton suffer. “After they went down to 10 men, we’ve got to win the game,” Dier said. “They defended very well and fought for each other but that doesn’t matter from our side of it. We have to be able to break them down. We weren’t good enough.”


Ben Fisher at St Mary's Stadium

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