London (AFP) – Tottenham’s Premier League title hopes suffered a major blow on Saturday as Wolves fought back to win 3-1 at Wembley and snap their five-match winning run.
Spurs took the lead with a Harry Kane piledriver 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.
“We did not dominate the ball in the second half,” Pochettino told the BBC. “We were wrong in the way we tried to play, too much long ball and our energy dropped in the second half.
“It was difficult to come back into the game after their equaliser. But that is football. We have had a very good run in the last few weeks and to keep that level is difficult.”
– Spurs control –
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 wore on.
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 it was Wolves who 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.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo told the BBC: “The second half was really, really good.We managed possession, had chances and goals.
“We had a lot of belief after the equaliser. I would have said a draw was a good result but I cannot control the emotions of the boys if they see space in front of them.”
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