Tottenham Hotspur went top of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win at Luton Town on Saturday, despite playing the whole of the second half with 10 men.
Dutch defender Micky van de Ven scored the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute when he poked home a first-time shot after a cut back from James Maddison following a Spurs short corner move.
“A lot of character and resilience, which the team has showed a lot in the previous games before today,” Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou said.
Spurs remain unbeaten after eight league games, and are now two points clear of Manchester City and three ahead of Arsenal, before those two sides meet on Sunday. Luton remain on four points.
The visitors had Yves Bissouma sent off in added time at the end of the first half, receiving a second booking for a dive outside the Luton area, but went on to break the deadlock early in the second-half to eventually claim all three points.
Luton missed some clear chances to take something from the game having weathered an early Spurs storm, but fell to their sixth league defeat of the season.
It was all one-way traffic early on, and in the seventh minute Spurs’ Pedro Porro got in behind the keeper after a one-two with Son Heung-Min but Porro pulled his shot wide.
Luton’s keeper Thomas Kaminski was called in to action again in the 17th minute when a Dejan Kulusevski cross was cleared by Tom Lockyer but only as far as Son, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
“They started strongly, we rode our luck for the first 10 minutes or so, then we found our way into the game,” Luton manager Rob Edwards said.
Luton had their first shot on goal in the 21st minute, but Marvelous Nakamba blasted his effort high and wide. The home side did, however, take some courage after holding Spurs scoreless and began to make inroads on the visitors’ goal.
Spurs kept pushing, and on the half-hour mark Kulusevski’s first-time shot was pushed wide by Kaminski at full stretch.
Luton thought they had found the breakthrough after 40 minutes. A free-kick into the box was headed on by Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo got a foot to the ball and flicked it towards the far post.
The ball came back off the upright and Lockyer was quickest to react and head into an open goal. But after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out for a foul by Adebayo on Cristian Romero.
The free-kick proved costly for Spurs, however, as Bissouma received a booking for his foul on Chiedozie Ogbene. With added time almost over, Bissouma received a second booking for a blatant dive.
“We started really well, should have been three or four up, but then you get the red card and it is a different type of game,” Postecoglou said.
Luton should have taken full advantage of the extra man at the start of the second half, but Adebayo missed the best chance of the game in the 47th minute when his effort went wide.
Five minutes later and Van de Ven’s first goal for Spurs would prove enough to put Tottenham top of the table, while Luton still await their first home win of the season.