Harry Kane scored his eighth goal of the season as Tottenham won at Brighton to strengthen their place in the top three of the Premier League.
The England striker’s stooping first-half header was enough to secure a victory that keeps Spurs third and three points behind leaders Manchester City.
Brighton, who could have moved level on points with the visitors with a win, started slowly but grew into the game and had chances to equalise before the break.
Lewis Dunk sent a header just over the bar before Solly March hit a low effort just wide of goal as half-time approached.
But in the second half, both sides struggled to break each other down, although Kane should have put the game out of sight when he turned his marker but dragged his shot wide, while Danny Welbeck swept a good chance off target for the hosts.
A late injury to Kane took some of the shine off the win as the England striker went off after getting caught on the back of his foot, but he was able to walk off the pitch and confirmed after the game that it was “just a knock”.
The win means Tottenham have 20 points from nine games, while Brighton is sixth with 14 points.
It has been a difficult week for all connected with Tottenham following the death of the club’s fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone.
The Italian had been part of Antonio Conte’s backroom staff since November 2021 and was clearly well-liked among the players.
A minute’s applause took place before kick-off, during which Conte was in tears, and once the game got underway there appeared to be an extra element of determination from Spurs to get a result for Ventrone.
They were more hungry than Brighton in the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead through the header from Kane, who pointed to the sky when he celebrated.
Tottenham was unable to kick on from that but did just enough to pick up their sixth win in nine Premier League games and ensure they remain firmly in the picture at the top end of the table.
Roberto de Zerbi made an immediate impact by guiding Brighton to an impressive 3-3 draw at Liverpool in his first game in charge last week.
The Seagulls had been crafted into an enjoyable team to watch by Graham Potter and De Zerbi has picked up from that while adding his own influence.
Although they were not quite as direct and attacking as they were in the early stages of the Liverpool game, they nevertheless impressed once more against a Tottenham side that has started this season very well.
Brighton built possession well, working the ball from left to right to try and pull Tottenham out of shape and they could have had a goal but for better finishing.
The defeat ended their unbeaten run at home but there’s a clear sign of how De Zerbi wants to play that will be encouraging for Brighton fans.
source – BBC Sport