Tottenham recover from early setback to defeat Southampton | Premier League

If this is the season that Spurs are finally living up to the high expectations of their long-suffering fans, this was some way to start. An impressive comeback fueled by the dazzling feet of Dejan Kulusevsky confirmed Antonio Conte’s side recovered from the shock of being left behind to an early shot from James Ward-Prowse to score a convincing win on opening day.

The goals of defenders Ryan Sessegnon and Eric Dier were confirmed for Tottenham in the second half, before Muhammed Salisu scored a comic own goal and a fourth goal from the outstanding Kulusevsky to end a perfect afternoon for the hosts.

“It was really important to get that reaction from my team,” Conte said. “We kept our calm and kept playing the way we know it. Sure, we saw today that this team has seven months of work on its back. For me that’s very important because we can take another step to try to be stronger.”

There has been a lot of anticipation in this part of north London in recent weeks after a summer of early acquisitions, although Conte opted to leave five of his signings – Ivan Perisic, Yves Bisuma, Clement Lenglet, Fraser Forster and Jed Spence – on the benches. the bench. .

The first three were only served after Kulusevki put the score beyond doubt midway through the second half as Spurs repeatedly worked their way through a porous. Southampton Defense but their arrival should mean Conte has a squad capable of mixing it up with the best. But while Spurs are still riding the euphoria that wrapped up last season after qualifying for the Champions League in dramatic fashion, one point from their last six games the previous season meant there wasn’t much positivity among Southampton fans.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has included three new faces – goalkeeper Gavin Pazono, teenage Romeo Lafia and striker Joe Aribo – in his starting lineup, but has been disappointed by the familiar failures going forward. “It kind of felt like our opponents went to the next level after 20 minutes and we couldn’t continue,” Hasenhuttl said. “It was frustrating to see how big the gap was between the two teams.”

Dejan Kulusevski showed his happiness after scoring a superb display with a goal.
Dejan Kulusevski showed his happiness after scoring a superb display with a goal. Photo: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

While the bronzed and comfortable-looking Conte opted for a polo shirt on a steamy day, his Austrian counterpart went for a bra, tie, and sneakers without socks. Tough moment in the opening exchanges when Pazono – the 20-year-old Republic of Ireland player who spent last season on loan at Portsmouth from Manchester City – almost got stuck on Jan Bednarek’s back pass and did little to settle it. nerves.

However, it was Ward Prowse who silenced the majority of the 60,000 spectators after a clever Moussa Djenebo cross cross picked up the England midfielder, who hit the ground with Hugo Lloris hanging in the air. Some voices of discontent from a section of the home fans were almost audible, but their mood improved in just eight minutes as Sessegnon slashed the ball past Kyle Walker Peters to net a Kulusevsky cross and a first. Premier League Tottenham goal.

Spurs’ confidence visibly grew immediately and Pazono could do nothing to stop Dier’s clever header to convert Son Heung-min’s cross. It could have been worse for Southampton had the goalkeeper not acted quickly to deny Ben Davies and then Harry Kane from close range, while Son was uncharacteristically roaring in the first half after a foul by Jan Valery.

Sessegnon’s second goal within 60 seconds of the second half was properly converted for offside but – with Kane and Kolosevki continuing to find space at will – it was only a matter of time before Spurs cemented their lead.

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The goal eventually arrived via an unexpected source when an inexplicably weak Emerson Royal effort was passed into his net by the unfortunate Salisu. Barely a minute went by before Royal netted another pass, cutting the ball back to an outstanding Kolosevki to strike Pazono and put Spurs out of sight.

Sessignon left the field to standing ovations to be replaced by Perisic, and the Croatian was among those protesting a penalty against Jack Stevens when the ball appeared to hit his arm late. But while that call may be against his side, there are still many reasons why Conte and Tottenham are optimistic.

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