Son and Eriksen seal Spurs victory in opening game at new stadium
Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Son 55’, Eriksen 80’)
Second-half goals from Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen were enough to consecrate Spurs' new stadium, on an emotional night next door to the old White Hart Lane. They move third in the league, a point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea, while Palace stay 13th and probably safe from relegation.
After an opening ceremony putting the club and the ground at the heart of the community - let’s hope it really goes out like that - the game began, and Spurs immediately assumed the ascendancy. But they could not do much with it in the first half, creating a couple of half-chances but little else. Palace, though had no out-ball and as such were under constant pressure; the idea that they could spend 90 minutes defending without conceding looked fanciful in the extreme.
And they could not, Luka Milivojevic conceding possession on 55 minutes, charging back after the ball and arriving at it just in time to deflect Son's shot past Vicente Guaita.
Spurs maintained the pressure, and 10 minutes from time put the game beyond doubt, Kane taking advantage of a mistake to burn forward, and though a challenge robbed him of possession, Eriksen quickly put the ball in the net before he could claim a penalty.
Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with his team mates during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 03, 2019 in London, United KingdoGetty Images
Palace roused themselves in the closing stages and might have nabbed a consolation, but over the course of 90 minutes were the politest of guests, at no point did they threaten to ruin Spurs' special night.
How quickly can Spurs get comfortable? Though they won easily enough this time, their next visitors are Manchester City in the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino should have his players train at the new ground every day between now and then, because they're going to need every possible advantage for that and the battle to win a Champions League spot.
Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur speaks to Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 03, 2019 in London, United KingdomGetty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) No one really stood out, but his pace, skill and movement looked the most likely route to a goal, and so it proved.
Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 03, 2019 in London, United KingdomGetty Images
17’ - And here come Spurs! Kane comes short and feeds in Trippier with a lovely pass. He turns back for Eriksen, who mistimes his sweep; Guaita dives on it, and is probably relieved when the whistle goes after he spills it on front of Son. That's the closest we've come to a goal.
37’ - Alderweireld into Eriksen in midfield, and he caresses a lovely pass for Son, haring into the box, right-hand side; he cracks low and hard, forcing Guaita to shovel around the post. The corner comes to nowt.
51’ - There's one! Spurs give the ball away, twice, and McArthur wallops a hoof towards Batshuayi. He gets on it, eventually, and 25 yards out, left of centre, looks to bend one inside the far post! He's wide, but not by much.
55’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Crystal Palace (Son) AND THERE IT IS! Milivojevic dawdles on the ball and Eriksen robs him, snapping the ball across the face of the box to Son, who nips inside then swivels to shoot inside the near post ... and Milivojevic slides in to make sure, the effort flicking off him to give Guaita no chance! Spurs are away!
Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on April 3, 2Getty Images
80’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Crystal Palace (Eriksen) Again, Palace give it away in midfield and again Kane burns down the inside-left channel, zoning into the box and running at McArthur who disappears out for a bag of chips when a feint inside is followed by a movement outside. In the palaver, Kane loses the ball and wants a penalty, but Eriksen quickly smacks home from close range. Game over.
86’ - The corner's cleared to Townsend on the edge, and he slides a pass for Milivojevic, who swivels into it beautifully and pings a cross into the middle; Benteke makes good contact but can only head wide.