No Kane, no problem: Tottenham beats Southampton 2-1 in EPL
Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, March 19, 2017.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
SAM JOHNSTON, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — No Harry Kane, no problem.
Tottenham overcame the absence of its injured star striker to record its 10th straight Premier League home victory as it beat Southampton 2-1 Sunday at White Hart Lane.
Christian Eriksen's long-range strike and Dele Alli's penalty kick in the first half proved enough for victory as Spurs survived a second-half fightback from Southampton after James Ward-Prowse scored for the visitors.
The win kept Tottenham within 10 points of league leader Chelsea, but perhaps more importantly extended its advantage over fifth-placed Champions League qualification rival Manchester United to seven points.
"You will always miss your main striker but it was important to win the game, score goals and keep our position in the table," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
"It's good to have players on the pitch who want to take responsibility to take the penalty. With no Harry Kane, everyone can take the penalty."
Both sides struggled to deal with each other's high pressing in the early stages, but Spurs' greater quality didn't take long to show with Eriksen the main creative force.
The Denmark midfielder first played Heung-Min Son through on goal with an inch-perfect pass, only to see Kane's replacement foiled by a strong save from Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Eriksen took matters into his own hands in the 14th, as he picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, took a touch and then found the bottom corner with his weaker left foot.
Midtable Southampton had scored four goals in each of its two previous Premier League outings and posed a real threat going forward.
Dusan Tadic was guilty of one of the misses of the season in the 29th. With the Tottenham defense thinking the ball was going out, Nathan Redmond flicked it back to Tadic, who unchallenged from six yards (meters) out managed to fire over the bar.
The visitors were almost immediately punished as Alli beat Steven Davis to a bouncing ball in the Southampton area and was felled by the Saints captain, leading referee Andre Marriner to award a penalty.
After a brief discussion — with regular penalty-taker Kane absent — Alli stepped up to send Forster the wrong way and double Tottenham's lead in the 33rd.
The Saints lost in-form striker Manolo Gabbiadini, who was forced off moments before the second goal with a groin strain.
Southampton unsuccessfully claimed a penalty of its own on the stroke of halftime. Ben Davies missed the ball with his attempted clearance and kicked Tadic's thigh, but play was waved on.
"I think it's the same. If the referee gives a penalty for them, he needs to give one for us," Southampton manager Claude Puel said.
"In the first half, without a lot of pressure from Tottenham we were 2-0 down, it was difficult to accept. The second half was better. But we didn't find a good clinical edge to finish off the situation."
Southampton channeled its frustration into an improved performance after the break and was rewarded seven minutes into the second half.
Toby Alderweireld made a rare error as he miskicked Redmond's cross from the left, allowing the ball to reach Ward-Prowse at the back post, who made no mistake from close range.
Southampton went in search of an equalizer and made Tottenham uncomfortable but failed to create clear openings.
Tottenham came closest to adding another goal as substitute Vincent Janssen led a counterattack and forced another good save from Forster.
Club top scorer Kane left the field with a right-ankle injury a week ago during Tottenham's FA Cup quarterfinal 4-0 win against Millwall and could be out for up to five weeks.