Goals from Armando Broja, Moi Elyounoussi and Ché Adams saw Southampton come from behind to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, seeing them rise to 10th in the Premier League table.
After a period of dominating attacking football from the Saints, it was Antonio Conte’s side that found themselves with the advantage after 18 minutes of play at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Jan Bednarek’s sliding intervention lacked the necessary control and poached Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s pass into the back of the net.
Taking only five minutes to find a response, Armando Broja added to his already impressive goal tally in a Saints shirt this season to draw the visitors level. Romain Perraud had looked threatening down the left flank from the offset, finding the perfect pass for Broja to simply tap the ball into the back of the net.
Not without controversy, Heung-Min Son’s goal saw Spurs regain the lead after 70 minutes. Emerson Royal’s aerial challenge on Broja saw Lucas Moura release Son, who effortlessly found the back of the net for the hosts.
What followed, though, could not be predicted. With captain fantastic James Ward-Prowse displaying his magic to the greatest degree. Two perfectly executed crosses finding the heads of Moi Elyounoussi and Ché Adams respectively saw Saints go from trailing to having the lead within the space of three minutes.
Fraser Forster returned in goal for Saints, with Willy Caballero dropping to the bench after a valiant display in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday. Ralph Hasenhüttl reverted to a back four, made up of Kyle Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu and Perraud.
Once again, the only player to retain his place in the starting eleven, captain Ward-Prowse was joined by Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong and Moi Elyounoussi in midfield with Broja and Adams leading the charge up front.
Conte opted for the same starting eleven that beat Brighton in the FA Cup on Saturday, with new signings Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur on the bench.
As we’ve been accustomed to in recent weeks, it was a very energetic start from Hasenhüttl’s side who looked to gain an advantage early on, particularly through some threatening runs from Adams. The striker came inches away from scoring after just four minutes as a perfectly-placed cross from Elyounoussi on the left fell for him at the back post. Hugo Lloris' quick reflexes saw him clear the initial challenge, with none of the Saints players able to monopolise on the deflected high ball.
Failing to get out of their own half in the opening passage of play, Armstrong's foul on Lucas Moura saw Spurs' first opportunity of the contest. 30-yards-out, Harry Kane's shot from the set-piece was ultimately saved by Forster but sparked a new energy in the hosts, with them finding the back of the net just moments later before the goal being ruled out for offside.
Former Saint Højbjerg was brought down just outside the penalty area by Romeu with Son lining up to take the resulting free-kick. Cristian Romero’s header lacked fault, but it didn’t take long for the linesman to raise the offside flag.
With the momentum firmly in Spurs’ favour, Sergio Reguilón looked certain to put them ahead as Kane found him in acres of space inside the area but a fantastic first touch from the Saints goalkeeper denied the hosts once more.
It didn’t take long for Spurs to take the lead, though. A nice passage of play between Lucas and Højbjerg saw a low cross sent in from the right to a packed penalty area. Though Son the initial target, it was Bednarek who had the unfortunate final touch to send the ball into the back of the net.
A bold move from the defender, whose sliding intervention backfired to give Conte's side the lead after 18 minutes.
Immediately looking to retaliate, Broja and Ward-Prowse see consecutive efforts denied by Lloris. Ward-Prowse’s the more promising of the two, his long range effort forced the Spurs goalkeeper into a sprawling save.
Having had his first sight of goal, Broja was ready to strike. Perraud taking the time to prepare before releasing Broja in the area. While the Spurs defence left a lot to be desired, it was a strong finish from the Chelsea loanee, who made no error in finding the back of the net through his poaching finish.
With neither side showing signs of slowing down, the action remained breathless at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Elyounoussi and Perraud looked to be running riot down the left for Saints, launching in another ball to find an unmarked Armstrong inside the Spurs area though his powerful, downward header was forced away by Lloris.
So often Saints’ hero this season, Broja was given the opportunity to give Saints the lead in North London as he appeared through on goal but his effort lacked his usual quality and bounced wide of Lloris’ post.
With 40 minutes played, Armstrong looked to score his second thunderbolt in as many games but his left-footed volley from the edge of the area flashed just past Lloris’ far post.
In the next phase of play, a surge of Saints attacks ensued as they edged closer to taking the advantage. Dangerous as ever from the set-piece, Ward-Prowse’s corner found the head of Salisu but his header was cleared off the line by the head of Kane. Perraud was the next to try his luck on goal but found his powerful left-footed shot from outside the area ricochet off the crossbar.
After a dominating first-half display, with Saints having 14 shots on target in comparison to Spurs’ two, it was vital for Hasenhüttl’s men to continue their attacking performance into the second-half as they looked to go one better than in the reverse fixture, where they had to settle for a draw back in December.
The first chance of the second half fell the way of the home side, with them being awarded a free-kick near the halfway line in the 48th minute. Reguilón delivered a fantastic ball, finding the right foot of Davinson Sanchez on the right-hand side of the area but it was difficult to control and his effort edged wide.
Though Saints continued to hold the majority of possession, it was Spurs that frequently found themselves with the best opportunities in front of goal. Both Kane and Royal found themselves at the end of another Reguilón cross, one approaching with their head and the other an outstretched foot. The captain is the one to get a touch to it but his effort bounces up and over Forster before deflecting off the crossbar.
With 60 minutes played, Conte looked to his bench for reinforcements as Bentancur came on to make his Premier League debut in place of Højbjerg, making an immediate impression in front of the home crowd with a lovely cross-field pass out to Moura.
The offside flag soon comes to Saints’ rescue again, as Spurs have a huge call for a penalty with Kane brought down inside the area. It’s a lucky escape for Saints, who began to look increasingly under threat by the Spurs attack.
After an onslaught from Spurs, Saints finally found themselves with an opportunity to break, with Ward-Prowse drilling an effort from outside of the area towards goal but the powerful shot was bravely defended by Ben Davies.
With 70 minutes played, Spurs found the back of the net. Royal looked to have won an aerial challenge with Broja. Play was allowed to continue despite the heavy challenge from the Brazillian and Broja down with a head injury.
Royal’s header found the feet of Lucas who soon squared it away to Son who made no error in seeing his shot fly past goalkeeper Forster. A break in play then followed as Broja received treatment for his head injury, and plenty of sideline dramatics from respective managers.
With Broja getting to his feat and action resuming, another Premier League debut followed for Kulusevski who came on in place of Lucas.
Not deterred by the events of just a few minutes ago, Broja looked to get Saints back into the tie as a slip up from Winks gifted him the ball and saw him charge down the centre of the pitch but his resulting effort flew well over the crossbar.
Just two minutes after Broja’s missed opportunity, Saints did find their equaliser through a fabulous header from Elyounoussi.
Ward-Prowse proved his magic once more as he sent a fabulous ball into the winger who was left unmarked inside the area. Lloris makes a diving effort to get the save but it was all in vain with Elyounoussi’s header firing into the bottom left-hand corner to draw Saints level.
Just as the Saints fans were able to recover from the equaliser, a carbon copy of the first goal was replicated as the visitors took the lead for the first time in the contest.
Ward-Prowse whipped in another sublime cross from the right, finding the head of Adams who made no hesitation in finding the back of the net.
With less than three minutes of normal play remaining, Hasenhüttl made a couple of predictable changes with Broja and Adams leaving the field to a rapturous applause from the travelling Saints fans, being replaced by Shane Long and Theo Walcott.
There was still plenty of time for Spurs to claw something back, with six additional minutes indicated as the 90 drew to a close. Piling on the pressure with the clock ticking by, Bergwijn looked to have secured the equaliser for the hosts, turning down Romero's ball and finding the back of the net.
With the goal initially given, Spurs were quickly denied their stoppage time equaliser as David Coote reverted to VAR and the offside decision was given.
Three goal scorers and three substitutions, Elyounoussi then saw his exit from the game as he was replaced Diallo. Though Spurs looked to hit the attack once more, the clock wound down for Conte's men and Saints emerged 3-2 victors on a night full of energy and dramatics in equal measure at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men now face another huge challenge, as they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.