LONDON (AP) — Tottenham’s ambitions of playing in a lucrative Super League may be over, but a place among European soccer’s elite next season is still within reach after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Son Heung-min converted a 90th-minute penalty to leave Tottenham just two points behind fourth-place Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification, a day after the club abandoned its plans to join the breakaway Super League.
It marked a successful start to Ryan Mason’s temporary spell as manager after he replaced Jose Mourinho, who was fired on Monday with Tottenham in seventh place in the league.
Mason, a former Tottenham midfielder who was forced to retire in 2018 after failing to fully recover from a fractured skull, became the youngest person to manage a team in a Premier League game, at the age of 29 years, 312 days.
Tottenham was forced to come from behind after conceding a 30th-minute opener to Danny Ings, who glanced a header in off the post at a corner. Ings went off injured in the second half.
Gareth Bale, making his first start in more than a month, equalized in the 60th with a curling shot and Son had a goal disallowed for an offside against teammate Lucas Moura before getting handed a chance to win the game from the penalty spot after Sergio Reguilon was fouled just inside the area.
Son made no mistake from the spot.
Mason was unable to call upon Harry Kane for the match, with the league’s top scorer watching from the stands inside a virtually empty Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after hurting his ankle against Everton last week.
Mason said before kickoff against Southampton that Kane could return to training by the end of the week, giving him a chance of playing in the English League Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday. It’s Tottenham’s only shot at a trophy this season, and another chance to get into European competition next season.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy hoped to have guaranteed the club a permanent place on European football’s top table by getting it included in the controversial Super League, a closed shop of elite teams that was announced late Sunday to widespread disgust and anger.
By Tuesday, Tottenham and five other English clubs had humiliatingly withdrawn from the scheme because of government and supporter pressure, leaving the proposals in ruins. A small band of supporters protested outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday’s match calling for the removal of Levy and the club’s owners, the ENIC Group.
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