South Korean striker Son Heung-Min scored on his home Premier League debut at White Hart Lane to allow Tottenham Hotspur to prevail 1-0 over Crystal Palace in their London derby Sunday afternoon.
It was Son’s third goal in four days as he had struck twice Thursday in Spurs’ 3-1 Europa League victory over Qarabag and was enough to boost Spurs to nine points in the Premier League, level with Palace and three other sides after six matches of the new season.
Palace, who missed the chance to go fourth, were unable to produce the attacking look which had characterized their earlier performances this season. Hugo Lloris had to make one outstanding save to deny Bakary Sako but Spurs had the better of it for long stretches in the match.
Palace struggled to get a footing but Spurs were unable to make their territorial edge pay off until Son struck with the only goal of the match. Both Dele Alli and Harry Kane were always looking to create openings and newcomer Son wasn’t shy about shooting. Alli produced a hard-working afternoon which helped to keep Spurs ticking over and applied the kind of pressure that meant Palace had to defend far too much.
Alli brought a fine save from Alex McCarthy in the 32nd minute, only to see Kane unable to find the far corner of the net from the narrowest of angles on the rebound. Kane’s attempt got under McCarthy but the ball went across the face of goal and there was no white shirt at the opposite post. Both teams had near things just before the break. First, McCarthy got a finger-tip on a chance from Nacer Chadli, then Lloris was beaten by a Yohan Cabaye shot to the far post, but that one struck the woodwork and stayed out.
Alan Pardew sent on Fraizer Campbell for Wilfried Zaha to start the second half but that made no discernible difference to the sputtering Palace attack.
McCarthy nearly beat himself in the first minute after the restart as his clearance attempt struck Son and rebounded wide of the open goal with the keeper nowhere near it, then did well to scoop an Erik Lamela free kick over the bar in the 54th minute. He was acrobatic to keep another chance off his line in the 58th minute and Spurs thought they had scored on a Ben Davies header to the rebound scramble. But Kane was offside and the flag was up to correctly wipe off the goal.
Lloris made what turned out to be the save of the match in the 64th minute for Spurs when he spread out to his right to touch Sako’s attempt onto the far post after a long crossfield pass from Pape Souare split the defenders and set up the shot.
The breakthrough finally came minutes later with Spurs getting on top after a spell of Palace pressure. It was a 68th minute counterattack which beat Palace at its own game.
Lamela started it when he slipped the ball away from the edge of his own box, finding Christian Eriksen to sprint down the left channel before sending in Son on the left with a perfect pass. The latest Tottenham goal-scoring hero got the better of Brede Hangeland before beating McCarthy from the left,