Southampton 1 - 4 Tottenham

16:01 | 29.12.2016
Dele Alli scored twice as Tottenham maintained their challenge for a Champions League spot with victory over 10-man Southampton.

Saints took the lead in the second minute when defender Virgil van Dijk demonstrated his aerial threat by nodding in James Ward-Prowse's free-kick.

The visitors were level just before midway in the half when Alli out-jumped Van Dijk to direct Moussa Sissoko's deflected cross past keeper Fraser Forster.

Shortly after the break, Harry Kane ended his run of three league games without a goal when he headed in from Christian Eriksen's corner in the 52nd minute.

And the England forward should have extended his side's advantage moments later when Southampton's Nathan Redmond brought down Alli in the area to concede a penalty and earn a red card. However Kane fired the spot-kick over the bar.

The sending off changed the complexion of the match as Spurs took advantage of the extra space, with both substitute Son Heung-Min and Alli firing in low strikes to put gloss on the win.

Spurs remain in fifth spot, but are now only a point behind fourth-place Arsenal.

Was it a red card?

There was confusion on social media as to whether Redmond's foul on Alli warranted a red card in the 57th minute.

The Saints midfielder pulled back his Spurs counterpart in the area which prompted referee Mike Dean to point to the spot. The official then, after a delay, sent the England Under-21 international off.

Under new rules, had Redmond tried to win the ball with a tackle he would have received just a caution. However, the pull meant it was both a penalty and red card offence.

The England internationals scored 35 league goals between them last season as Spurs finished third - and they are on course to emulate that feat this campaign.

Alli led the way against what was the third meanest defence in the league coming into the match.

He brought Spurs back into the contest with a majestic leap above 6ft 4in Van Dijk to nod Sissoko's delivery past Forster. And showed composure to fire past the England keeper in the closing minutes.

Kane had the second fewest touches of all outfield players in the first half, but after the break the 23-year-old scored with his first effort on target when he headed in from Eriksen's set-piece in the 52nd minute.

He should have added his ninth league goal of the season soon after but his standing foot slipped as he fired over from the penalty spot.

After the match, Kane suggested a brand new square of turf on the penalty spot might have been the cause for his miss.'Important for us to keep fighting'

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "It was a difficult game from the start. It was hard to settle but we prepared in the way we wanted to in order to play against Southampton.

"It was unlucky for us to concede early in the first half but after 10-15 minutes we started to come into the game and push a little harder. We certainly deserved the victory.

"It was important for Kane and Alli as brilliant offensive players to score goals and I am very pleased with their performances.

"All the top sides have won over the festive period so it was important for us to keep fighting and after that I think we are in a good position."

Southampton manager Claude Puel: "With the red card it was too difficult to come back and we conceded another two goals. The red card is the end of the game for us.

"The two players went for the ball, I don't know I didn't see the action. This gave Spurs the opportunity to win the game."

New Spurs record

Spurs are unbeaten in their last five visits to St Mary's, with four wins and a draw.

Spurs' win means they have claimed 71 points in 2016, a new club record in the Premier League (surpassing their haul of 70 in 2013).

This is the first time that Southampton have conceded four goals in a Premier League home game since November 1998 (1-4 v Aston Villa).

There have been 10 comeback wins in the Premier League in December 2016 - the last month to see more was December 2013 (12).