Tottenham completed a dramatic comeback against Bournemouth, winning 3-2 in the Premier League after initially going 2-0 down.
As he alluded to prior to kick-off, Antonio Conte did make a number of changes to his starting XI with one eye firmly on next week’s crucial Champions League clash with Marseille. But two goals from Kieffer Moore put Bournemouth ahead and on course for victory.
Conte was eventually forced to bring his usual starters back in, with a late goal from substitute Rodrigo Bentancur deciding it at the death after Ryan Sessgnon and Ben Davies had put Spurs level.
Not a lot had really happened before Bournemouth took the lead, with Spurs having the lion’s share of possession but failing to turn it into anything remotely meaningful.
The Cherries broke the deadlock midway through the first half, clinically moving the ball from back to front. Dominic Solanke played an important role with his back to goal in midfield, playing in Marcus Tavernier down the right, whose low cross was expertly turned in first time by Moore.
The hosts then continued to get the ball into good areas but twice in fairly quick succession Lewis Cook seemed to get it caught under his feet and the promising moves broke down. Hugo Lloris also had to be sharp off his line to beat Tavernier to the ball as he raced through.
Spurs didn’t test Mark Travers, who conceded nine goals on his previous Premier League appearance until the final 10 minutes of the half when he parried a shot from Oliver Skipp. It did seem to spark something though as only moments later they hit the woodwork courtesy of a dangerous cross from Son Heung-min that flicked off the head of Marcos Senesi.
Then again, Emerson Royal also put a shot over the stand and into the car park. But Son made sure Travers was still paying attention in first half stoppage time, with the Irishman equal to a fierce effort.
Conte flinched first at half-time, throwing on Lucas Moura to give Spurs something more after what had been a fairly lacklustre opening 45 minutes overall, despite some improvement. But Bournemouth again proved clinical, working the ball down the right and then Adam Smith swinging it into the box. It was an invitation Moore couldn’t refuse, burying the header past Lloris.
That could have been Bournemouth out of sight, but football can change in an instant and Sessegnon’s strike, pretty much out of nowhere, cut the deficit after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg found the gap between Cherries defenders.
They hadn’t really deserved to be in the game, but Spurs began turning up the heat to try and get back level. In reality, the equaliser with just over 15 minutes left was a gift. Bournemouth didn’t deal with Ivan Perisic’s in-swinging corner, Travers flapped, and Davies couldn’t miss the easy header.
Travers looked shaken at another corner soon after, although he did save really well from Son after that to at least keep Bournemouth level.
The sheer volume of Tottenham corners was ultimately what did it – the Cherries could no longer hold out. When the stoppage time winner came, Son swung the ball into the box, Bournemouth failed to clear and Bentancur was on hand to turn it in and break Bournemouth hearts.
GK: Mark Travers – 5/10 – First start since Neto’s injury. Made a few saves but really poor at the corner when Spurs equalised.
CB: Adam Smith (c) – 6/10 – Great inviting cross against his former club. Got drawn out of position for the first Tottenham goal.
CB: Chris Mepham – 6/10 – Didn’t cover himself in glory at the late winner. Disappointing after a huge block moments earlier.
CB: Marcos Senesi – 7/10 – Seemed to be in the right place at the right time to repel most balls into the box… but not every time.
RWB: Marcus Tavernier – 7/10 – First assist of his Bournemouth career. Provided good width and attacking threat.
CM: Lewis Cook – 5/10 – Lacked quality in good attacking positions on more than one occasion.
CM: Jefferson Lerma – 6/10 – Worked hard considering Spurs had three in the middle.
LWB: Jordan Zemura – 6/10 – Covered a lot of ground up and down his flank.
AM: Dominic Solanke – 8/10 – Played the role really well to ensure that Moore was never too isolated. Involved in both goals too.
AM: Philip Billing – 5/10 – Didn’t see loads of the ball.
ST: Kieffer Moore – 8/10 – Kept his head in front of goal so well to break the deadlock with the first time finish. His second was pure trademark.
SUB: Jaidon Anthony (63′ for Billing) – 5/10
SUB: Ryan Fredericks (78′ for Tavernier) – 5/10
SUB: Jack Stephens (89′ for Solanke) – N/A
Manager: Gary O’Neil – 7/10 – Was winning the battle of wits with Conte until the final quarter. The game plan worked though.
GK: Hugo Lloris – 6/10 – Conceded twice but massively tested. Smothered well against Tavernier when it was still 1-0.
CB: Davinson Sanchez – 4/10 – Goes to ground too easily when staying on his feet would be more effective. Doesn’t normally start and it showed.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 6/10 – Covered well generally, but the pace of Bournemouth’s first half countering caught him out.
CB: Ben Davies- 6/10 – Couldn’t miss from yards out to equalise.
RWB: Emerson Royal – 5/10 – Had no chance competing with the physical Moore at the back post when Bournemouth went 2-0 up.
CM: Oliver Skipp – 5/10 – Tested Travers but not a consistent threat and lacked general creativity. Subbed at half-time.
CM: Yves Bissouma – 5/10 – Disappointing considering Spurs should have outnumbered the Cherries in central midfield.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 7/10 – Better than his midfield partners. It was his defence splitting pass that got Spurs back into it.
LWB: Ryan Sessegnon – 7/10 – Was about to be hooked seconds before he got Spurs back into it with a good finish.
ST: Harry Kane – 6/10 – Got more involved towards the end of the first half when he dropped deeper to try and create.
ST: Son Heung-min – 6/10 – Looked dangerous for a brief spell at the end of the first half. Faded but delivered threatening corners.
SUB: Lucas Moura (46′ for Skipp) – 6/10
SUB: Eric Dier (58′ for Sanchez) – 7/10
SUB: Rodrigo Bentancur (58′ for Bissouma) – 7/10
SUB: Ivan Perisic (64′ for Royal) – 6/10
SUB: Bryan Gil (84′ for Sessegnon) – N/A
Manager: Antonio Conte – 6/10 – Gambled by resting players for the Marseille game. Eventually had to bring on his usual starters to save the result anyway.