Brilliant Brighton hold Tottenham to edge closer to safety

Pascal Gross scored Brighton’s goal from a spot kick

Brighton edged closer to Premier League safety with a hard-earned point against a much-changed Tottenham side.

Harry Kane’s 26th league goal of the season, following Gaetan Bong’s error, put Spurs in sight of an 11th away win.

But Brighton were behind for just two minutes, Pascal Gross levelling with an excellent penalty after Serge Aurier had caught Jose Izquierdo.

The Seagulls are without a win in six games but are eight points above the relegation zone with four games left.

Spurs almost won it through an own goal when Shane Duffy deflected Christian Eriksen’s cross a fraction wide.

Much-changed Spurs fail to impress

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, a competition which could earn Tottenham a first trophy since 2008, as he made six changes to his side.

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Dele Alli and Davinson Sanchez were rested while Toby Alderweireld, who has failed to agree a new contract, was drafted in for his first Premier League appearance since October.

Spurs lacked their usual zip as their fringe players struggled to turn on the style in the club’s 50th competitive game of the season.

They remain fourth in the table, two points behind third-placed Liverpool and eight ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea, but are now without a win in two league games having gone 14 unbeaten before last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City.

Son Heung-min was denied his 13th league goal by Mathew Ryan’s tremendous save at the end of a goalless first half before the South Korea international’s perseverance saw Kane break the deadlock three minutes after the re-start.

Son was sharp to react after Bong’s careless play and his clever ball for Kane allowed the England international to score with a shot which deflected off Bruno before finding the net.

However, Spurs quickly conceded an equaliser as gritty Brighton took a big step towards survival.

Seagulls all but safe?

Brighton fans celebrated at the final whistle as though their team had secured Premier League survival, but manager Chris Hughton will certainly not be popping the champagne corks until it is mathematically certain.

But this was a crucial point – particularly as his side’s last four games are away to Europa League-chasing Burnley and champions Manchester City, and home to Manchester United and Liverpool.

The eight-point gap should be enough, particularly as their performance against Spurs showed they have the appetite for a battle.

Lewis Dunk tested Hugo Lloris with a bullet header while Anthony Knockaert also forced a smart save before half-time.

Even when they fell behind Brighton’s players refused to let their heads drop, with Gross producing a textbook penalty to level before they dug in for an impressive result.

Brighton still have work to do to secure a second season in the Premier League, but they are showing the character they’ll need to get over the line.

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