Tottenham equalled their best ever start to a Premier League campaign as they picked up all three points at home to Cardiff.
Eric Dier’s early goal proved to be the difference between the sides, as they played out their third successive 1-0 scoreline.
The England midfielder pounced on a loose ball to fire past Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff goal after just nine minutes to set Spurs on their way.
Despite dominating possession, Spurs could not add to their tally.
Lucas Moura and Harry Kane both went close either side of a Sol Bamba effort at the other end.
Cardiff were then reduced to ten men in the second half when Joe Ralls was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge on Lucas Moura.
Despite their one-man deficit, the Bluebirds almost equalised, when Sean Morrison’s header was goalbound until Hugo Lloris pulled off a great save to keep it out.
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Tottenham head into the international break with three points and a place in the top four, but it was far from convincing from Mauricio Pochettino’s side following Eric Dier’s early opener, as they offered little threat going forward against the 10 men of Cardiff, with Joe Ralls sent off at the hour mark, and were exposed defensively on more than a few occasions by a Bluebirds attack which has largely sputtered upon their Premier League return.
Full time: Tottenham 1-0 Cardiff
It’s all over here, and Tottenham pick up all three points against the ten men of Cardiff.
No real surprise at the scoreline, as the sides play out their third successive 1-0, with Spurs stretching their unbeaten run against the Bluebirds to eight matches.
Eric Dier’s early goal proved to be enough, after he cooly slotted home past Neil Etheridge inside the Cardiff box.
Spurs dominated most of the match, but couldn’t add to their lead despite Harry Kane’s best effort just going the wrong side of the post.
The visitors were reduced to ten men when Joe Ralls fouled Lucas Moura and was shown a straight red, much to his protests.
Sean Morrison almost equalised however, but for Hugo Lloris’ fine save from his header as Tottenham held on for the win.
FULL-TIME: TOTTENHAM 1-0 CARDIFF CITY.
A silly yellow for Arter to pick up as he doesn’t retreat in anticipation of a Spurs free-kick, which prompts the referee to put him into the book.
It doesn’t appear as though it’s going to happen for Cardiff, as Spurs are knocking it around capably in defence with the visitors enjoying little success in their pursuit to win it back. The travelling fans are in full voice as the clock winds down, however, encouraged a great deal by the performance of their side today.
Bamba is high up the pitch for Cardiff as they’re hoping to use him as a target man up top. It’s left a hole in their defence, however, and Lucas nearly takes advantage as he knocks the ball forward in an attempt to get behind the defence, but Ecuele Manga does very well to recover and snuff out the chance.
The fourth official indicates there will be a minimum of five minutes added on at the end of this match. Is there to be a twist in the tale?
Overall Possession Ratio
Davies finally comes on now to replace Rose, and play can resume again. Surely there will be a fair bit of time added on at the end here, as the match has barely been going in the last five minutes.
Another stoppage now as Rose goes down and requires attention from the training staff following a long sprint and duel with Murphy. He’s likely going to have to give way here as well, as Davies immediately is up and getting warm.
Reid comes on to replace Ward, not Zohore. The plan for Cardiff then seems to be play balls over the top and use the pace of Reid and Murphy to try and attack, perhaps winning a set-piece or something from which they can manufacture an equaliser.
Cardiff are winless in seven matches against Spurs in all competitions (W0 D2 L5), scoring just once in those matches, a Paul Went goal in a 2-1 league defeat in January 1978.
Pochettino uses the stoppage to make his second change, as Wanyama replaces Sissoko in a like-for-like swap in midfield.
Well this is the last thing Cardiff needed! Ward, who has only just come on, has pulled up lame with what appears to be a calf or hamstring issue. He goes to ground and Spurs sportingly put the ball out of play so he can get treatment. This will likely force him off, just minutes after coming into the match.
Into the final 10 minutes now and Spurs are dominating possession, but doing precious little with it. They’re just leaving the door a little bit open for Cardiff to find an equaliser – now can the visitors make them pay?
A double-switch made by Warnock in advance of the last 10 minutes. Paterson has run himself into the ground today and will be replaced by Ward up top.
Hoilett has also put in a tireless showing here and will give way to Harris.
It will be very interesting to see what Warnock does with his substitutions in the final 15 minutes. Will he be bold and make an attacking change despite being down to 10 men? Or will he be cautious so as to ensure Spurs can’t run up the score late?
Overall Possession Ratio
Dier’s goal was his first in the Premier League in 546 days, since netting against Watford at White Hart Lane in April 2017.
Pochettino does go to his bench here as Lamela, who has been on good form in front of goal, comes on to take the place on Son.
Into the final 20 minutes and against all odds, it remains very much in the balance at Wembley Stadium. Spurs just can’t seem to pick themselves out of first gear, even following Ralls’ sending off. Pochettino has to be pondering some changes here to spark their attack.
Great play from Murphy who breaks quickly following a penalty appeal from Rose. He leads a counter for the visitors and does well to nudge the ball beyond Alderweireld, who blatantly blocks the path of the attacker to concede a free-kick, and also pick up a yellow card.
It would be easy to write Cardiff off following that red card, but they still might just have a say in this match still! Spurs have bossed possession since Ralls’ sending off, but the visitors are showing some good fight, clearly not willing to go down easy.
WHAT A CHANCE! Playing with 10 men hasn’t bothered Cardiff just yet! Camarasa floats a free-kick into the area from 40 yards and Morrison meets it with a bullet header that Lloris reacts superbly to get a hand to, turning it onto the post and somehow it stays out!
Spurs have won 13 of their last 15 home league matches against Welsh sides (D2) since Cardiff won 2-0 in a top-flight match in November 1954.
Ralls sees RED
There’s been a red card here and Cardiff are down to ten men.
Joe Ralls receives his marching orders from referee Mike Dean after a poor challenge.
It’s all up hill for the Bluebirds from here.
Well Cardiff really have a mountain to climb now. Finding a way back into this match with 10 men will be a lion’s task. Their focus here is going to have to switch to damage control, as Spurs are surely poised to commit bodies forward to exploit the extra space.
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