Matchwinner Bale lifts Spurs to second

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Tottenham Hotspur moved within two points of the Premier League summit after substitute Gareth Bales late goal secured a narrow success over battling Brighton in N17.

The Welshman headed his first Spurs goal in seven -years – meeting Sergio Reguilon’s centre seventeen minutes from time.

Earlier, Harry Kane had given the Lilywhites the lead from the penalty spot – The England skipper performing the formalities – his 149th Premier League goal – after VAR had suggested Adam Lallana had impeded him.

Brighton’s equaliser, shortly before the hour, was somewhat contentious. Solly March appeared to foul Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before Tariq Lamptey netted. However, it was Spurs, and Bale, who had the last word.

Understandably, much of the post-match focus circled Bale triumphant cameo: “I told already for about a week or so, I’m saying he’s improving,” boss, Jose Mourinho explained. 

“It’s not just by watching him, the data supports our training process. We knew. The good thing is Gareth also knows. We share ideas and share feelings.

“He doesn’t have ninety-minutes of a Premier League match in his legs yet so we’re using the Europa League to complement his training process.

“We are using some matches in the Premier League when we decide to play him and the normal tendency for him will be of course to be better and better and better.

Mourinho added: “He will start again on Thursday and even in a Europa League match when the intensity is different to the Premier League I will not play him for ninety-minutes. I always will have this care with him until we feel that he’s ready.

“Today – great impact, a very important goal for us and after that he joined Harry in a very experienced way to play the last 1fifteen minutes of the game, both very clever, very intelligent, both very good, holding the ball, bringing the ball to zones where they couldn’t hurt us.

“I’m very pleased for him, but very pleased especially for him because he deserves that. When I have five minutes I’m going to Safari to look at Madrid websites to see what they say.”

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Lamela (Bale 70’), Ndombele (Lo Celso 64.), Son (Davies 85.), Kane Subs not used: Hart, Rodon, Winks, Lucas.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Sanchez, Webster (Capt), Veltman, Burn, Lamptey (Mac Allister 79’), White, Bissouma, March (Bernardo 66’), Gross, Lallana, Trossard (Welbeck 74’) Subs not used: Ryan, Alzate, Propper, Zeqiri.

Referee: Graham Scott

Assistants: Simon Long and Tim Wood

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

VAR: Jonathan Moss

Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton

Brian Jeeves

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