Fernando Llorente atones for earlier miss to fire Tottenham to victory



Posted Thursday, January 31, 2019 by PA

Fernando Llorente atones for earlier miss to fire Tottenham to victory

Fernando Llorente proved the unlikely hero for Tottenham as they produced a late turnaround to beat Watford 2-1 and significantly strengthen their Premier League top-four hopes.

The Spaniard had earlier produced a shocking miss that would have made it onto any blooper DVD, but made up for it in the best way possible as he headed home an 87th-minute winner at Wembley.

That came seven minutes after Son Heung-min had provided the perfect homecoming present by equalising on his first appearance back from international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup.

Before that Spurs were labouring towards what would have been a third successive league defeat at Wembley after Craig Cathcart’s first-half header, courtesy of a shocking error from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, had put Watford on course for a league double over their hosts.

But Tottenham’s late show could not have come at a better time as they are now seven points clear of Arsenal in third place after Chelsea’s surprise 4-0 humbling at Bournemouth.

That will be the perfect tonic for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who reminded everyone that it is the top four that counts for his side after they crashed out of two cup competitions in the space of four days.

Son’s return was a big boost for Spurs, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli still injured, as they had missed his pace and enterprise and he came close to marking his comeback with a fine goal inside the opening 10 minutes.

The South Korean received the ball with his back to goal, engineered some space for himself and then curled a 20-yard effort just wide of Ben Foster’s post.

Foster then had to be alert to get down well to Christian Eriksen’s deflected effort before the former England goalkeeper charged out to clear when Jan Vertonghen was racing through on goal.

For all of Spurs’ domination they were undone by a kamikaze piece of goalkeeping by Lloris seven minutes before the break.

The France goalkeeper came out to meet a corner, got nowhere near it and Cathcart bundled home into an empty net.

Spurs should have been level early on in the second half but Llorente produced a mystifying miss.

After Foster had parried Llorente’s first effort from a Moussa Sissoko cross, the Spaniard was left with the simplest of tasks of converting from three yards, but with Foster on the floor he somehow managed to knee the rebound over the crossbar.

Llorente missed another chance when he headed wide after Foster had saved Eriksen’s low free-kick with his feet.

The Spaniard was involved as Spurs finally found an equaliser.

His shot was blocked but the ball fell to Son, who got it out of his feet and lashed home from close to the penalty spot for his ninth goal of the season.

Seven minutes later Llorente stepped up to the plate, planting a fine header back across goal from Danny Rose’s cross to win it for Spurs.

It was just his second league goal for the club, but one that could have a big say at the end of the season.

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