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English Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Nottingham Forest

Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 1 Nottingham Forest

Tottenham returned to the Premier League’s top four for the first time since February by beating Nottingham Forest.

The hosts opened the scoring inside 15 minutes when Forest defender Murillo diverted Timo Werner’s cross into his own net.

Forest levelled 12 minutes later through Chris Wood, who finished off Anthony Elanga’s cross.

But centre-back Micky van de Ven restored Tottenham’s lead in the 52nd minute with a thunderous shot from the edge of the penalty area that found the top corner.

And six minutes later, Pedro Porro netted a third for Spurs, hammering in James Maddison’s pass across goal.

Victory meant Tottenham moved above Aston Villa on goal difference, having played one game fewer.

Nottingham Forest stayed 17th, only outside of the drop zone thanks to their superior goal difference over Luton.

Van de Ven continues superb season

Tottenham dropped out of the top four on 17 February and had passed up chances to go back above rivals Aston Villa in recent weeks, losing to Fulham and drawing with West Ham.

But Sunday’s results means Ange Postecoglou’s side are now in a brilliant position to finish fourth and guarantee Champions League qualification after a one-year absence from the competition.

And even if Tottenham do miss out on fourth place, fifth may be enough to qualify for the Champions League.

England is in a strong position to claim one of Uefa’s ‘Performance Slots’, allowing an extra Premier League side to enter Europe’s premier club competition.

Tottenham were matched by Forest in the first half but restored their lead in a dominant second period through an unlikely source.

Van de Ven has been a revelation in defence this season. Spurs have won 13 and lost just two of the 20 Premier League matches he’s played in.

With Tottenham pressing, the 22-year-old regularly found himself pushing into midfield. Picking the ball up on the edge of the box, he took his chance superbly for his goal, his second in the Premier League.

Tottenham captain Son Heung-min also had an effort tipped on to the post by Forest keeper Matz Sels in the closing stages.

The north London side continue their push for the top four when they visit Newcastle next Saturday.

Forest ponder what might have been

Nottingham Forest recorded a fine 3-1 win over Fulham last time out to end a six-match winless run, but were second best against Spurs.

That said, the visitors did have plenty of bright moments as their manager Nuno Espirito Santo faced his former employers for the first time.

Defender Murillo almost netted a goal-of-the-season contender, spotting Tottenham keeper Guglielmo Vicario off his line and attempting to lob him from well inside his own half. His shot though dropped just wide.

And there was another ‘what if?’ moment just after Wood’s equaliser.

Vicario could only parry Ryan Yates’ low shot straight to Wood, but the forward smashed the rebound against the post from four yards out.

After Luton’s win over Bournemouth on Saturday, Forest were unable to give themselves a cushion over their relegation rivals.

They face Wolves at home in their next match in six days’ time.


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