Harry Kane’s 22nd-minute goal helped Tottenham end a difficult week with three points after a 1-0 Premier League win at Brighton.
Spurs suffered a derby defeat at rivals Arsenal last Saturday but worse news was to follow on Thursday when it was revealed that the club’s fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone had died aged 61.
Everyone at Tottenham was stunned, particularly Antonio Conte, who had known the highly regarded Italian for almost three decades, but his players honored Ventrone in the best possible way by ensuring they got back to winning ways in the Premier League.
While it spoiled Roberto De Zerbi’s home debut, the new Seagulls coach would have been heartened by a good performance from his side, which have slipped to sixth in the table.
This was De Zerbi’s first game at the Amex Stadium but another Italian took center stage before kick-off, with Ventrone applauding for a minute.
The Spurs fitness coach’s latest death came in an already tough week, in which a defeat at Arsenal was followed by a stalemate at Frankfurt.
Conte then ripped up his playbook and switched to a 3-5-2 formation with Matt Doherty and Yves Bissouma making rare starts.
It paid off immediately as Son Heung-min tested Robert Sanchez early and Doherty fired over the goal in the 11th minute from a Ryan Sessegnon cross.
Rodrigo Bentancur was the next to come close with a solid shot which was fired wide by the Brighton keeper with 21 minutes to go and the deadlock was broken after the resulting corner.
Son’s first delivery was cleared but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg returned the ball to the South Korea international who scored Leonardo Trossard and selected Kane to go home.
It was a smart header from Kane, who bent low to score his eighth goal of the season and pointed skyward in memory of Ventrone.
Brighton responded well to the opener in the 22nd minute when Moises Caicedo stabbed Hugo Lloris in the palms before Lewis Dunk headed in quick succession from six yards from a third corner.
It gave the hosts a boost – who had held Liverpool on De Zerbi’s debut at Anfield – and they arguably should have equalized before half-time as Solly March sent a 20-yarder wide and Danny Welbeck failed to hit Lloris from inside the box.
After a quiet start to the second half, the fight went from end to end as Cristian Romero blocked an Adam Webster shot and Dunk had to make a perfectly timed last desperate tackle to prevent Son from racing through.
Kane turned the dunk minutes later but dragged it wide from 14 yards to leave the clash finely balanced and it was the Brighton boss who made the first change when Kaoru Mitoma was introduced with 24 minutes to go.
Mitoma would have made an impression almost immediately, passing Romero and Eric Dier with a great jinking run, but Lloris was quickly out to lay at the feet of the Japanese attacker.
Son created a chance for Kane minutes later but the striker headed wide and by that point Richarlison had been introduced for the visitors.
The offside flag denied Son a fine curl attempt with his left foot after 74 minutes and Welbeck darted past the other end with an arrow before Doherty’s final interception thwarted Trossard to ensure Spurs held.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/brighton-tottenham-result-final-score-b2198599.html Result Brighton vs Tottenham: Harry Kane scores a first-half header as Spurs end a tough week with a win