Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Spurs, Potters come from behind to claim victories

AP, LONDON

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph, right, vies with Stoke City striker Peter Crouch during their English Premier League match at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

A lively Premier League weekend ended with Tottenham Hotspur producing a stoppage-time winner against Southampton and Stoke City coming from behind to easily win at Aston Villa as 10 goals were scored in Sunday’s two games.

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood launched himself down the touchline pumping his fists after Gylfi Sigurdsson completed a fight-back from 2-0 down at home to Southampton to win 3-2.

The victory kept Tottenham within reach of the Champions League places, with the London club six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. Tottenham has played an extra game.

Stoke climbed above Villa into 10th place after hitting back to win 4-1, the team’s first away success in the league since August last year, which took the weekend goal tally in the league to 42.

Chelsea remain top of the league after crushing Arsenal 6-0, with Liverpool second following a 6-3 win at Swansea and third-placed Manchester City beating Fulham 5-0.

Returning to the top four remains Tottenham’s aspiration, but Sherwood’s defense will have to be tighter and less error-prone to achieve that.

Jay Rodriguez put Southampton ahead on the break in the 19th minute at White Hart Lane after Tottenham defender Kyle Naughton managed to miss goalkeeper Artur Boruc’s kick. Rodriguez took advantage to slot the ball into the bottom corner of the net beyond Hugo Lloris’ reach.

Naughton was at fault for Southampton’s second, as his half-clearance went straight to Rickie Lambert who fed Lallana to sweep in his ninth goal of the season.

Yet it was slackness in the Southampton defense that gave Tottenham a route back into the game in the 31st. Nacer Chadli teed up Naughton, whose cross was only partially blocked by Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Eriksen slammed the ball into the net at the back post.

Whatever Sherwood then said at halftime to his players worked.

“It wasn’t ranting and raving, it was considered and it was measured what I had to say to them,” Sherwood said. “I wanted to play a high-tempo game and press them high up the field and I didn’t think we had the energy to do it.”

Yet Eriksen was on target again in the first minute of the second half. Roberto Soldado outmuscled Dejan Lovren off the ball on the left flank, and squared for Eriksen to tap in from close range.

Then, with it appearing the points would be shared, Eriksen laid the ball off for Sigurdsson to score his fourth league goal of the season.

“It takes real guts, character and spirit to do that [comeback] and we showed that today — brilliant,” Sherwood said.

At Villa Park, the hosts went in front after just five minutes through Christian Benteke.

Peter Odemwingie scored his third goal in two games to equalize in the 22nd minute and Peter Crouch seized on slack marking to put Stoke ahead four minutes later.

When Leandro Bacuna and Nathan Baker both failed to clear the ball just before halftime, Steven Nzonzi scored from inside the penalty area.

It took Stoke until the 90th to score again, with Geoff Cameron netting his second goal of the season.

“At the start of the season we might have collapsed, but we showed we’ve definitely improved,” Stoke striker Peter Crouch said.

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