Spurs survive late drama to beat West Ham in fiery derby
Red card for Aurier and two late goals for Hammers ensured a nervy finale at the London Stadium
23 September, 2017 — By Koos Couvée
WEST HAM UNITED 2 (Hernandez 65’, Kouyate 87’)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (Kane 34’, 38’, Eriksen 60’)
IN the end, this afternoon’s derby between Spurs and West Ham at the London Stadium had the kind of fiery finale few had expected when the visitors were 3-0 up with 25 minutes to go.
Two yellow cards in five minutes for Spurs wingback Serge Aurier – the second for an unnecessary lunge on West Ham’s Andy Carroll – and two West Ham goals in the last half hour made for a nervy, intense end to this Premier League clash but Tottenham had by then done enough work to see the game to victory.
Spurs were extremely clinical in the first half, and two goals in the space of four minutes from Harry Kane had them 2-0 up by the break.
And Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked set to give the home side a real hammering when Christian Eriksen, creator of the first two goals, sent the ball from the centre of the box into the bottom right corner with wonderful volley in the 60th minute.
However, the lunging tackle from Aurier after he lost possession in midfield, just minutes after West Ham had pulled a goal back, saw him get a second yellow and Mauricio Pochettino’s side down to 10 men with 20 minutes left on the clock.
West Ham started to believe and Cheikhou Kouyaté had the Hammers fans rocking the London Stadium when he powered in a header from close range with three minutes remaining.
But Spurs held their nerve and recorded their third successive away Premier League win, inflicting the Hammers’ fourth defeat of the season and leaving them in 19th place.
‘Im in love’: Pochettino took praise for Kane to a next level
Speaking after the game, Spurs boss Pochettino said: “It was a very tough game, but overall we deserved to win. In the last few minutes they tried to score and dominate, but when you analyse the game, we were better, only after we started to play with 10 [men] they dominated more.”
He added: “I’m so happy, the team showed different faces during the game, it was a difficult team, in a derby and you know like me, that it’s more than three points – it can help [us] to improve and to learn and be better during the [rest of the] season.”
The Spurs boss refused to criticise Aurier over his second yellow card, saying he and his teammates were “happy” with the Ivorian, who joined from Paris Saint Germain last month.
“Of course [I’m] disappointed because he got the second yellow and the red card, but that’s football,” Pochettino said. “I understand, when I was player I made a lot of mistakes and I’m happy with him, and the teammates are happy with him, he’s settled very well.”
Tottenham’s fearsome attacking trio Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Kane were at it again at the London Stadium this afternoon.
After Carroll gave the ball away in midfield, Eriksen released Alli down the right, whose cross to Kane was inch-perfect, allowing the striker to head the ball past Hart after 34 minutes.
Four minutes later, it was Eriksen’s brilliant flick which released Kane, who played in Alli. The midfielder’s shot was blocked by Joe Hart, but Kane followed up, scoring the 11th goal of his last five away games.
Pochettino was full of praise for the striker after the game, going so far as to say he was “in love” with him.
“Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world,” the manager said. “The fans are in love, I’m in love and the teammates are in love. He’s a good example in football today, professional and he has a value that managers like me appreciate a lot and that’s why I say to you I’m in love with him.”
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, who hailed his side’s “really good performance”, said of Kane: “The best compliment I can give him is we play with three centre backs and I really think they had a really good game. They were mostly against him and still he was using those situations and basically he decided the game for them.”
Pochettino had cancelled training in midweek in favour of a bonding session, taking the players out for a meal after last week’s disappointing draw with Swansea at Wembley.
Asked how he felt about securing the third away win of the season Pochettino added: “I’m so happy. If we see the last season, we have very good performance away from home, now we need to start feel good at Wembley, take a win, that’s our next challenge.
“The team is doing fantastic and it’s up to them to prove and win games at Wembley.”
SPURS: Lloris (C), Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Sissoko (Trippier 78’), Eriksen (Winks 73’), Dele, Kane (Llorente 89’)
Subs not used: Vorm, Son, N’Koudou, Walker-Peters
WEST HAM: Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte (Masuaku 74’), Zabaleta, Arnautovic (Ayew 66’), Kouyate, Noble (C), Chicharito, Ogbonna, Antonio (Carroll 28’)
Subs not used: Adrian, Sakho, Byram, Rice
Attendance: 56,988 (London Stadium)