Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Son pounces on Engels error to settle thriller

By Peter Hanson 17 February 2020 13
Aston Villa 2-3 Tottenham: Son pounces on Engels error to settle thriller

Son Heung-min pounced on Bjorn Engels' error to score a last-gasp winner as Tottenham won an enthralling Premier League contest 3-2 at Aston Villa.

Engels' equaliser appeared to have earned the relegation-threatened hosts a point at Villa Park, but his failure to control a long ball allowed Son to coolly steer past Pepe Reina.

Son had earlier put Spurs 2-1 in front from the rebound of a penalty awarded as a result of an Engels foul shortly before half-time, the forward's first in the game coming after team-mate Toby Alderweireld had scored at both ends.

Villa remain just a point above the bottom three, while Champions League-chasing Spurs are just one point adrift of fourth-place Chelsea.

Spurs went behind in sloppy fashion after nine minutes when Alderweireld turned in Anwar El Ghazi's deflected right-wing cross having failed to communicate with his goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris.

Jack Grealish tormented Spurs down the left channel and had a couple of testers before teeing up Douglas Luiz who, despite a great block from Ben Davies, ought to have scored.

It proved costly when Alderweireld lashed home on the spin from a tight angle after Villa had failed to clear a Spurs corner, though Dele Alli then missed two great chances to put the visitors ahead.

However, Spurs did go in front in added time in the first half when Son registered his 50th Premier League goal, poking in the rebound from his saved penalty which was awarded when VAR judged Engels had felled Steven Bergwijn.

Engels made amends when he climbed above Alderweireld to head home Grealish's corner seven minutes after the restart, and the excellent Reina kept Villa on level terms with some crucial stops.

Son, though, had the final say deep into injury time, the South Korea international racing free before providing a clinical finish to punish Engels' mistake.

 

What does it mean? Spurs put pressure on Chelsea

Spurs left it late but still close the gap on Chelsea, who face Manchester United on Monday. A mix of wastefulness, Reina's brilliance and lax defending looked as though it would cost Jose Mourinho's men until the late drama made it three Premier League wins on the spin.

Son shines as Grealish and Reina unlucky to lose

There was a huge stroke of luck for Son's first with the forward’s poor penalty, yet he kept his cool when it mattered.

Grealish, meanwhile, was superb for Villa and a constant threat to Spurs' defence. The attacking midfielder, who will surely play Premier League football next season regardless of the outcome of Villa's relegation battle, was unfortunate to be on the losing side. The same too can be said about Reina, who repelled Spurs on more than one occasion.

A few sleepless nights, Toby?

Mourinho drew a few wry smiles with his reply - "time away for what?" - when asked on Friday if Alderweireld would be absent for this clash following the recent birth of his son, Jace.

The defender was possibly a little tired when he made a hash of clearing El Ghazi's cross, though, while he struggled against Grealish early on and was also beaten in the air by Engels when Villa made it 2-2.

Key Opta facts

- Aston Villa are without victory in their last 10 Premier League matches against sides from London (D1 L9), since a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in January 2016.
- Tottenham have lost just one of their last 19 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions (W15 D3), losing in the Premier League in April 2015 (0-1).
- Spurs are also unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League away games against promoted sides (W19 D4) since a 0-1 loss at QPR in April 2012.
- Jack Grealish has had a direct hand in 13 goals in the Premier League this season (7 goals & 6 assists), five more than the next Villa player and more than any other English midfielder.
- Son is the first Asian player in Premier League history to reach 50 goals in the competition. He's also the sixth Spurs player to achieve the personal milestone, following on from Teddy Sheringham, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.

What's next?

Spurs turn their focus to the Champions League and the home leg of their last-16 tie with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, while Villa are next in action at Southampton on Saturday.

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Peter Hanson

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