LONDON. – Tottenham remain hot on the heels of Leicester in the English Premier League soccer title race after Danny Rose’s late winner capped a dramatic fightback in yesterday’s vital 2-1 victory against Swansea. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were in danger of losing ground on the leaders when Alberto Paloschi gave struggling Swansea a shock lead at White Hart Lane with his first goal since his January move from Chievo.
But Nacer Chadli came off the bench to equalise in the 70th minute and Rose sealed the comeback seven minutes later when the defender bagged his first goal since May.
Tottenham have now won their last six league matches and sit in second place, just two points behind Leicester, as their fans start to dream of a first English top-flight title since 1961.
Making the day even sweeter for Tottenham, their bitter rivals Arsenal were beaten at Manchester United and are now three points behind them ahead of next Saturday’s crucial north London derby.
Swansea, who are only three points above the relegation zone, had an early chance when Paloschi crossed low to the edge of the six-yard box, where Gylfi Sigurdsson fired powerfully towards goal, only to be denied by a superb tip over from Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane, wearing a mask to protect his broke nose, should have opened the scoring moments later, yet Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was equal to his close-range effort from a Christian Eriksen cross.
Those early misses came back to haunt Tottenham in the 19th minute as Swansea snatched the lead.
A short corner gave Angel Rangel the chance to shoot from distance and the Swansea defender’s. effort took a deflection off the heels of Jack Cork and fell perfectly for Italian forward Paloschi to lash into the roof of the net.
Tottenham’s response was emphatic as they laid seige to the visitors’ goal.
Eriksen tested Fabianski with a dipping free-kick, then Kane had a low drive turned away by the former Arsenal keeper.
Son Heung-min should have equalised before the interval but the South Korean forward, clean through with just Fabianski to beat, could only produce a tame shot that was easily saved.
Paloschi had an opportunity from Andre Ayew’s pass, with only Toby Alderweireld’s block denying him a second goal.
Just after, Rose’s low cross looked certain to be converted by Eric Dier, but his shot was brilliantly pushed away by Fabianski.
Tottenham had played four games in the last two weeks, while Swansea had been inactive, and their prospects were hardly enhanced by the foot injury that England midfielder Dele Alli appeared to suffer in the pre-match warm-up.
Alli had played on but was well below his best as Tottenham laboured to breach Fabianski’s goal.
The Swansea stopper denied Eriksen with a good stop early in the second half and reached up to palm away Kane’s long-range effort.
Eriksen was narrowly off target with another free-kick and Dier also failed to hit the mark as Tottenham swarmed forward.
The relentless pressure paid off in the 70th minute when Kyle Walker fired goalwards and substitute Chadli was in the right place to divert the ball past Fabianski at last.
Eriksen saw a 30-yard rocket kept out by Fabianski, but Tottenham were too dynamic to be denied and the winner arrived in the 77th minute. – AFP