Tottenham Hotspur leapfrogged arch-rivals Arsenal into the top four with a narrow 1-0 victory over a stubborn Burnley side who remain at risk of relegation in the Premier League.
Harry Kane converted from the spot on the stroke of half-time after Ashley Barnes was penalised for handball, a decision which proved decisive as Spurs took one step closer to Champions League football, while Burnley look nervously over their shoulders at the dreaded relegation zone with Leeds and Everton in action later in the day.
Spurs dominated the opening exchanges but were left frustrated by a resilient Burnley defence and inspired Nick Pope in the visiting goal. However, their resistance was broken right on half-time. VAR and referee Kevin Friend awarded Spurs a penalty with Barnes handling inside the box, putting the ball on a plate for Kane who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Burnley came out fighting in the second half and came within a lick of paint to an equaliser, with Barnes almost making amends with a long-range effort which struck the post. Spurs came closest to a second when Pope brilliantly denied Son from close-range, but the hosts held their nerve to secure a precious three points in their quest for the Champions League.
Spurs travel to already relegated Norwich City on the final day of the season next Sunday where victory will be the only thing on their minds. As for Burnley, they have a game in hand to play away at Aston Villa on Thursday evening, where they too will be desperate to win and boost their chances of survival.
Contentious VAR. This was the kind of game that was going to be decided on a moment of magic or a moment of controversy, it was the latter which prevailed. With just one replay, the consensus around the place was that referee Kevin Friend was going to point to the spot after looking for himself. The consensus was correct. Barnes’ arm did appear to be in an unnatural position, despite the vehement protests from the Burnley players and staff. When you concede a penalty to Spurs, there is typically only one outcome. Kane stepped up and could not have placed the ball anymore perfectly into the corner, leaving Pope rooted to the spot and Burnley reliant on Brentford and Brighton to do them a favour later today.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nick Pope. If it wasn’t for Pope, Spurs could have been out of sight long before the penalty. He produced countless saves, some routine and some quite remarkable. Kane and Son, two of the most prolific finishers in the league, were left wondering how many more times they would have to bang their heads against the brick wall that was the Burnley goalkeeper. With performances like that, not only from Pope but from the team collectively, their chances of survival are still alive and kicking. However, defeat does leave them in a predicament and there is no shying away from that fact. The clock is ticking, the tension is rising, but the belief will remain unwavered based on the character shown by the Clarets today.
Spurs: Lloris 6, Sanchez 6, Dier 6, Davies 6, Emerson 6, Hojbjerg 6, Bentancur 6, Sessegnon 7, Lucas 6, Son 7, Kane 7.
Subs: Rodon 5, Kulusevski 5.
Burnley: Pope 8, Roberts 6, Lowton 6, Collins 6, Long 6, Taylor 6, McNeil 6, Cork 6, Brownhill 6, Barnes 6, Cornet 6.
Subs: Lennon 5, Weghorst 5.
45+7’ PENALTY TO SPURS!
A VAR check has taken place for a potential penalty to Spurs and referee Kevin Friend, after looking at the monitor, has pointed to the spot. The ball has struck Barnes’ arm which does appear to be in an unnatural position. Kane will step up for Spurs…
45+8’ GOAL! SPURS 1-0 BURNLEY (KANE)
Was there ever any doubt? Spurs take the lead with the final kick of the first half! The penalty guru steps up and buries the ball into the bottom left corner to give Spurs a slender advantage at the break. What a frantic end to the opening 45 minutes!