London (AFP) – Tottenham’s Premier League title hopes took a major hit on Saturday when Wolves beat them 3-1 at Wembley to end their winning run.
Spurs took the lead with a Harry Kane pile-driver in the first half but the visitors staged a ferocious comeback through Willy Boly, Raul Jimenez and substitute Helder Costa.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team found themselves in the title picture thanks to five straight league wins and a mini-collapse from defending champions Manchester City.
With league leaders Liverpool not in action against Arsenal until later on Saturday, Spurs knew they had a chance to crank up the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten side.
But Tottenham — who had scored 11 goals in their previous two festive fixtures, will be bitterly disappointed that they did not beat Wolves after dominating the first half.
The first few minutes of the match were scrappy as both teams looked for rhythm but Spurs gradually exerted control, Christian Eriksen and the returning Dele Alli probing for openings around the edge of the box.
The in-form Son Heung-min, with four goals in his previous two league games, was a constant threat with his pace and tried his luck from distance in the eighth minute after patient build-up play.
Kieran Trippier hit a free-kick into the arms of Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio after Kane was fouled and Eriksen then tested Patricio from distance.
Spurs were finally rewarded midway through the first half when Son fed Kane, who marauded forward down the right.
Just before he reached the edge of the Wolves box he checked back onto his left foot and hit an unstoppable shot into the far corner past the despairing Patricio.
But Tottenham were unable to add to their lead before the break and Wolves sporadically threatened, especially when Adama Traore was on the ball.
Traore was substituted with just over half an hour to go but the visitors were seeing more of the ball and the Spurs fans became increasingly edgy as the second half progressed.
Wolves, urged on by a sizeable travelling support, disrupted Tottenham’s smooth passing game, denying their creative players time on the ball.
The equaliser came in the 72nd minute after a period of pressure from Wolves earned a corner.
Substitute Moutinho swung in the corner and Boly rose to head it past Hugo Lloris.
Kane was booked for diving as Spurs poured forward looking for an winner but Wolves scored again when Jimenez struck the ball right-footed from the centre of the box past Lloris in the 83rd minute.
Four minutes later they extended their lead as substitute Costa struck to leave Spurs with a mountain to climb.
The defeat leaves Spurs on 45 points after 20 games, with 15 wins and five defeats.
Liverpool had 51 points from 19 games before they kicked off against Arsenal while Manchester City, in action on Sunday, have 44 points from 19 matches.
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