Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League Live Score, Highlights, Recap
Seven points from their last three matches has all but ensured Stoke City's status as a Premier League club for one more season (barring a massive goal-difference implosion). After such a close call, you can bet manager Tony Pulis will want to seal the deal with a win over Tottenham Hotspur in their final home game.
Sunday also marks the Potters' 150th anniversary, with a host of events planned around the game. Tottenham will have no qualms about attempting to spoil the celebratory atmosphere, knowing three points are vital to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive.
Doing so would take Spurs above North London rivals Arsenal into fourth place, putting a little pressure on the Gunners, who are not in action again until Tuesday when they host relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic.
Andre Villas-Boas' side drew 2-2 last Wednesday against fellow top-four chasers Chelsea. How valuable that point turns out to be will depend on how Spurs see out their remaining two games, beginning with Stoke.
Expected to be in contention is Mousa Dembele, after the influential midfielder missed his team's midweek draw.
Stoke could again be without Glenn Whelan, while defenders Andy Wilkinson and Marc Wilson are also doubts.
The two sides' previous meeting just prior to Christmas resulted in a 0-0 draw, with a stubborn Stoke defensive display frustrating a creatively lethargic Spurs. At the Britannia Stadium the series has been even in the league since Stoke's return to the top flight, each winning twice.
It was the Potters who came out on top last time in December 2011. Former Spur Matthew Etherington scored twice, with Emmanuel Adebayor replying, to record a 2-1 victory.
The defeat brought Spurs' 11-match unbeaten run to an end, with then-manager Harry Redknapp particularly incensed by referee Chris Foy's performance—elements of which he labelled as "farcical."
Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 - Britannia Stadium, 12 May
Goals from Clint Dempsey and Emmanuel Adebayor saw Tottenham Hotspur come back from a goal down to beat Stoke City 2-1.
The win sees Andre Villas-Boas' side move into fourth place, two points ahead of Arsenal who host FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.
A slow start threatened to prove costly for the North Londoners. Steven Nzonzi's opener caught Tottenham napping, as he ran unmarked to head in a near-post free-kick.
The goal woke Spurs up, and Dempsey's quick-reaction saw him equalize with a lofted, long-range effort after Asmir Begovic got caught off his line.
The game swung in Spurs' favor when, shortly after the interval, Charlie Adam was sent off for a second bookable offense. Jan Vertonghen had raced ahead of the Scotsman, into the Stoke half, and was chopped down from behind.
With the Potters down to ten men Spurs took the upper hand. Despite their dominance of possession, they struggled to find a way through the resolute home defense.
Mousa Dembele and Jermain Defoe were brought on in search of a winner, but instead it was the earlier goalscorer who made the telling impact in his final action before being substituted for Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Dempsey took hold of a deflected Gareth Bale pass in the penalty area. With several Stoke players appealing for offside they were slow to react, and the American took advantage.
Composing himself, he spotted Emmanuel Adebayor at the far post and teed him up perfectly with a pass across the six-yard box. The striker comfortably tapped in, his second important goal in two games.
Spurs know their hopes of securing a Top Four finish and Champions League qualification will go down to the final weekend now. They will be desperate for Wigan to do them a favor before then, and give them the best possible chance.
"Yessss.... Come on you spurss..."
Tottenham midfielder Sandro reacts on Twitter to his team's win (via @sandroraniere)
Tottenham left it late, but got the job done and move into fourth in the Premier League.
Arsenal's move now. The Gunners face FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
FULL TIME: Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
92': Tottenham fans are sarcastically singing 'Happy Birthday' to Stoke on this, their 150th anniversary. Aston Villa fans did the same back in 2007 when Spurs were celebrating their 125th anniversary and losing 4-1.
Spurs subsequently came back to draw it 4-4.
90': Four minutes of stoppage time for Tottenham to hold onto this lead and keep their hopes of Champions League qualification well and truly alive.
88': A nervy finish in store for Tottenham here. Stoke have not caused them too many problems but Spurs keep giving the ball away, giving them another chance to do so.
SUBSTITUTION (Tottenham) 83': Gylfi Sigurdsson replaces Dempsey.
GOAL - 81': Dempsey reacts to deflected ball through from Bale. Keeping calm, he squares across the six yard box for Adebayor to tap in.
Stoke City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
79': Huth heads just over from wonderfully floated Dean Whitehead free-kick from the right of the Spurs box. Close call for Villas-Boas and his team. Time is running out here but the visiting fans are in good voice supporting their team.
78': Adebayor and Shawcross have words after the defender bumped into the striker. Referee Kevin Friend swiftly settles thing down.
74': Great work by Dembele, threads a pass through to Bale in the box. The Welshman turns superbly but fires his shot just wide.
73': Lennon shot from out left blocked. Adebayor tries to chip a cross back into the box but Stoke clear.
SUBSTITUTION (Stoke): Geoff Cameron on for Ryan Shotton
SUBSTITUTION (Tottenham): Lennon's last action, he is replaced by Jermain Defoe.
71': Dembele backheels to Dempsey, his powerful shot tipped over from Begovic. Resulting corner leads to nothing.
69': Wilkinson scuffs a shot over after space opened up in front of him just outside the box following a long-throw from Shotton.
67': Shotton and Nzonzi combine to bring down Bale to give Spurs another free-kick. Vertonghen heads over from Huddlestone's delivery to the back-post, perhaps should have done better.
SUBSTITUTION (Tottenham): Mousa Dembele replaces Scott Parker.
65': Stoke wall stands firm, Shawcross heading away Bale's free-kick attempt.
64': Lennon wins free-kick just outside the dee after Nzonzi trips him.
63': Huddlestone almost weaves his way into a shooting opportunity in the box. Stoke clear only as far as Bale whose teasing cross is gathered up by Begovic.
59': Lovely through ball from Parker almost finds Lennon cutting in from the right of the Stoke box. Marc Wilson times his challenge to perfection though, deflecting it off the winger's toes for a goal kick.
SUBSTITUTION (Stoke) - 57': Cameron Jerome for Peter Crouch, and Andy Wilkinson for Matthew Etherington.
55': Vertonghen's slips a crafty ball into the channel to Dempsey. Stoke appeal for offside but play carries on, with Dempsey teeing the Belgian up on the edge of the box. He blasts his shot way over.
54': Huddlestone contemplates shooting from 25 yards out before passing to Vertonghen. The left-back's cross is deflected straight into Begovic's arms.
53': Tottenham dominating possession since Adam's sending off but Stoke are not making it easy for them to find a way through. How long will Villas-Boas wait without a goal until he makes a change? Plenty of time left but it will soon fly by.
48': Bale corner is hit in hard and low across the Stoke box. Dempsey made contact just on the edge of the six-yard box, his effort going just over. Good chance with the American rather unlucky.
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