Tottenham Hotspur’s record signing Tanguy Ndombele conjured a moment of magic to seal his side’s 3-1 victory at the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United on Sunday.
Spurs had just seen the commanding lead given to them by Serge Aurier and Harry Kane halved by David McGoldrick’s header on the hour when Ndombele struck with an audacious flicked lob.
It was a timely goal for Jose Mourinho’s side as McGoldrick’s effort revived memories of numerous points they have dropped from winning positions this season.
This time, however, they made no mistake to record only their second win in seven league games and move into fourth spot, at least until Manchester City play Crystal Palace later.
Tottenham had looked commanding in the first half with Aurier heading in from a corner after five minutes and Kane’s clinical finish doubling their lead in the 40th minute.
For Sheffield United it was a disappointing result after they had posted their first win of the season this week by beating Newcastle United. With only five points from 19 games they are 11 points away from the safety zone and their hopes of avoiding relegation look slender.
In the end it was a routine win for Tottenham but there was nothing ordinary about Ndombele’s fifth league goal for Spurs.
When Steven Bergwijn popped a ball over the top of the United defence, Ndombele was moving away from goal on the left side of the penalty area.
There appeared no way he could produce an effort on goal but with the outside of his right foot, and with his back to goal, he lifted the ball back over himself and over home keeper Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner.
“Tanguy’s goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the keeper was truly special,” Kane, who bagged his 12th league goal of the season, said.
“Anyone who can put a good spell together (is in the title race), that’s why it has been disappointing and frustrating for us dropping points from winning positions.”
Considering the lift they received by beating Newcastle, Sheffield United were terribly flat in the first half.
Their defence was nowhere when Aurier connected from close range with Son Heung-min’s corner and they were almost punished again soon after when Son was denied by the post.
Tottenham’s second goal stemmed from the hosts trying and failing to play out from the back. Tottenham won the ball and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fed the ball to Kane who did not have much space but dispatched a fizzing low shot past Ramsdale.
Tottenham have been criticised for an overly-cautious approach when leading — most recently this week in a 1-1 draw with struggling Fulham. And when McGoldrick glanced in John Fleck’s cross it appeared to be happening again.
But Ndomebele insured this time there was no repeat.