Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has described his team's draw with Brighton as "disappointing" after they were held 1-1 at the Amex Stadium in their Premier League clash.
Spurs took the lead in the tie three minutes after the break, with Harry Kane smashing home after superb approach and assist play from Heung-Min Son, but the lead lasted just two minutes, with Pascal Gross converting from the spot after Jose Izquierdo was taken down in the box by Serge Aurier.
Spurs were the more dangerous throughout, but Chris Hughton's Brighton were too well organised at the back for the London side, as they held on for a share of the points. The win keeps Spurs on track for claiming fourth place in the league table, and with it automatic qualification for the Champions League, eight points ahead of Chelsea. Brighton stay 13th, on 36 points and eight points above the relegation zone: a position that could already be enough to secure safety in the division. Tottenham's next competitive action is their FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester United this Saturday, a game which is live on eir Sport 1 [kick-off 5.15].
"It was a difficult game, the first half was even and the second half we started it really well. We scored and in the next section we conceded. In the second half we dominated, created chances but not enough to win the game. The draw is a little bit disappointing because the intention was to get all three," said Pochettino.
"We were thinking of giving the team fresh legs because Saturday's game against Manchester City was tough mentally and physically. We have a squad good enough to win games. Today was not because we rotated the team. Everyone is ready to play but Brighton was a very difficult opponent and we need to give credit to them.
"Bruno touched the ball when he was inside the goal [so it was Harry Kane's goal]."
Brighton's Hughton praised his side's "character" and "quality" in a typically calm post-match interview.
"It's a step in the right direction, and what I was most delighted with was the character of the team to concede the way we did and then react the way we did," said Hughton.
"We showed great quality in the areas when we needed to."
Brighton did superbly well to contain Spurs in the first 45-minute period on the south coast, in what was a rather ordinary half of football. Spurs' best chance of that half came deep into stoppage time when Kane laid off to Son, with the Korean steadying himself before firing a stinging effort towards the bottom-left corner, only for keeper Mathew Ryan to get down low and block the shot away from danger with his left wrist - a stunning save.
However, Spurs didn't have matters all their on way, with the Seagulls carving out a superb opportunity of their own earlier in the tie - after 20 minutes to be precise. Anthony Knockaert skipped past both Jan Vertonghen and Victor Wanyama, before unleashing a shot on goal, which deflected from right to left across the face of goal, with Hugo Lloris shifting his body superbly go get across and collect the deflected - and clearly on target - effort.
The game sprung into life in earnest when play resumed after the interval with two quick-fire goals.
First, Spurs took the lead on 48 minutes. Son kept the ball in play along the deadball line, before jinking possession out of the way of the advancing Ryan, and into the path of Kane to smash home from inside the box via a deflection off Bruno Saltor. Incredibly, Kane has now scored against 26 of the 27 Premier League teams he's faced in his career, with Cardiff the only team to have held out against the marksman.
The game swung again 18 seconds later when Brighton were awarded a penalty after Aurier bundled over Izquierdo in the box, with referee Kevin Friend correctly pointing to the spot. Gross stepped up and smashed the ball low and left from the spot, with Lloris getting a touch, but still unable to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.
That flurry of activity was not followed by similar for the remainder, however, as both sides struggled to gain dominance. Christian Eriksen fizzed a shot across the face of the Brighton goal on 73 minutes, with Ireland international Shane Duffy turning it away. Kane and Erik Lamela produced two further chances for Spurs, with the former shooting wide from 25 yards and the latter having his effort comfortably saved, as Brighton deservedly held on for a vital point in their quest for top-flight safety.
Tottenham face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, 21 April, live on eir Sport 1 [kick off 5.15pm].
Image: Getty/ Mike Hewitt
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