Son Heung-min was Tottenham’s hero once again as the South Korean’s first Premier League goal clinched a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Son had scored twice on his home debut in Tottenham’s Europa League victory against Qarabag of Azerbaijan on Thursday and the forward’s dream start continued as he was the toast of White Hart Lane just three days later.
The 23-year-old settled a hard-fought encounter midway through the second half to give Mauricio Pochettino’s side their first home league win of the season.
Son already has three goals in three appearances since signing from German club Bayer Leverkusen for A?18 million ($27 million, 24 million euros) in August and he departed to a standing ovation with 12 minutes remaining.
After his team made a slow start to the season, Son’s dynamic displays have been a much-needed tonic for Tottenham, helping them climb to mid-table in the Premier League with two successive wins.
Pochettino made five changes to the side which beat Qarabag, including a return for Harry Kane after the out-of-form England striker was rested for the Europa League tie.
Kane’s presence up front meant Son moved into a deeper role, but he was no less effective as he roamed menacingly across Tottenham’s attacking midfield trio.
Kane, without a club goal this season, hadn’t scored at White Hart Lane since March and the youngster’s lack of confidence was clear to see when he headed over from a corner in the opening minutes.
While Kane struggles to find his peak form, teenage midfielder Dele Alli has burst into the Tottenham team in the vibrant manner that his team-mate did last season.
Blur of energy
The 19-year-old was a blur of energy and enthusiasm when he won a sliding tackle and powered forward to pick out Erik Lamela.
Lamela cleverly worked space for a fierce shot that Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy couldn’t hold, but Kane wasn’t able to react quickly enough to convert the rebound.
Alli flashed his potential again with a stinging drive from the edge of the penalty area that McCarthy parried out to Kane, who again lost his composure as he drove the loose ball wide from a tight angle.
Palace, who had won both their previous away games including a stunning success at Chelsea, began to threaten with some incisive counter-attacks and Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris was forced into action to repel Bakary Sako’s curling free-kick.
Alan Pardew’s team went even closer just before half-time through French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who unloaded a swerving strike that cannoned off the far post with Lloris beaten.
But Pochettino’s side regained the upper hand in the second half, with Son setting the tone as he closed down McCarthy tenaciously before the Palace keeper tipped over Lamela’s dipping free-kick.
Ben Davies thought he had put Tottenham ahead in the 57th minute when the defender nodded home after Son’s cross-shot was saved by McCarthy, but the goal was disallowed as Kane was clearly offside.
Tottenham remained vulnerable at the back and Lloris produced a superb one-handed save from Sako’s effort after the Palace forward was left in space at the far post.
That proved the turning point as Tottenham took the lead moments later in the 68th minute when substitute Christen Eriksen slipped a pass to Son, who accelerated away from Brede Hangeland and Kelly Marti before hitting a low strike just powerful enough to beat McCarthy through his legs.