Harry Kane earns Tottenham victory in bad-tempered clash with Brighton

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Harry Kane’s 25th goal of the season helped earn Tottenham a crucial 2-1 win over Brighton in a fiery encounter between the top-four rivals.

Both bosses, Cristian Stellini and Roberto De Zerbi, were sent off in the second half on a day when tempers boiled over on a number of occasions in north London.

Son Heung-min’s opener, his 100th goal in the Premier League, put the hosts in front, but Brighton were slick in a first half in which Kaoru Mitoma saw an effort ruled out before Lewis Dunk did equalise.

Danny Welbeck thought he had put the Seagulls ahead after the break, but his effort was ruled out, allowing Kane to have the final say with a firm strike with 11 minutes left.

Victory failed to stop chants against chairman Daniel Levy or in support of former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, even though Spurs kept themselves in the top-four hunt.

There was a prickly exchange between Stellini and De Zerbi ahead of kick-off, with the Brighton boss pointing animatedly in the direction of his fellow Italian.

Once proceedings got under way it was the visitors who dictated possession and had early penalty appeals waved away before Tottenham hit them with a sucker-punch.

Son has endured a difficult campaign interspersed with flashes of brilliance and he provided another in the 10th minute.

Ivan Perisic passed the ball into Son’s path and the Spurs attacker worked a yard of space before he curled a shot sumptuously into the top corner from 25-yards.

It was Son’s 11th goal in all competitions and more significantly his 100th in the Premier League, but it failed to halt the Seagulls’ flow.

Mitoma had the ball in the net with 17 minutes played but his effort was ruled out after he controlled possession around his bicep area, with both the assistant referee and VAR in agreement it was handball.

Brighton continued to press for an equaliser and Hugo Lloris produced a brilliant save to deny Alexis Mac Allister before Moises Caicedo’s effort seconds later hit a post.

The discontent of the home supporters’ was already noticeable and De Zerbi saw his team level with 34 minutes played.

Lewis Dunk celebrates his equaliser for Brighton
Lewis Dunk celebrates his equaliser for Brighton (Zac Goodwin/PA).

De Zerbi had no hesitation in celebrating in front of the Spurs bench and was almost jubilant again minutes later, but March dragged a left-footed shot wide.

While Tottenham wing-back Pedro Porro directed a header on to the roof of the net before the break, the half-time whistle was met with a smattering of boos from the home fans.

More drama was in store at the beginning of the second half, with Brighton denied a second goal in the 55th minute.

Not long after Jason Steele had thwarted Perisic’s low effort, Welbeck saw a shot deflect past Lloris, but his and the visitors’ celebrations were cut short.

Tempers flared on the touchline as Cristian Stellini and Roberto De Zerbi were both sent off
Tempers flared on the touchline as Cristian Stellini and Roberto De Zerbi were both sent off (Zac Goodwin/PA).

Minutes later and further chaos reigned on the touchline when both benches were embroiled in a heated exchange while the game was still going on.

While De Zerbi was in the thick of the action, Stellini stood away from the drama in his own technical area, but referee Stuart Attwell decided to send off both managers.

The reaction of the Spurs supporters was to chants for former boss Pochettino and call for Levy to leave the club.

Without De Zerbi’s presence, Brighton’s control dwindled and Kane and Dejan Kulusevski both fired over.

Harry Kane fires home Tottenham's winner
Harry Kane fires home Tottenham’s winner (Zac Goodwin/PA).

Son combined with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the right and the latter cut the ball back for Kane, who saw a fierce effort from 18 yards deflect beyond Steele.

The home fans continued to make their feelings known with further chants against Levy and for Pochettino before a whirlwind encounter was brought to a close.

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