SU­PER SON STARTS THE HOUSEWARMI­NG PARTY

Daily Mail - - Premier League - MARTIN SA­MUEL Chief Sports Writer

The record books will show that the first goal at Tot­ten­ham hot­spur’s mag­nif­i­cent new sta­dium was scored by one of their own. Son he­ung­min, very much a lo­cal hero, if not ex­actly a lo­cal lad. Un­less your lo­cal­ity is Chun­cheon in Gang­won Prov­ince, South Korea.

The 59,215 who were here, how­ever, may re­call a dif­fer­ent chain of events. Son’s goal, the one that set Tot­ten­ham off on their win­ning start, was the re­sult of a sig­nif­i­cant de­flec­tion off the boot of Crys­tal Palace cap­tain Luka Milivo­je­vic. It was a slid­ing tackle that went hor­ri­bly wrong, Milivo­je­vic ar­riv­ing at just the moment Son let fly, mean­ing his shot took an un­nat­u­ral tra­jec­tory that left goal­keeper Vi­cente Guaita stranded.

Sometimes the du­bi­ous goals panel take a look at stuff like that, live. Of­ten, the op­ti­mistic claim of a home goalscorer is over­turned. Clearly those guys have a sense of oc­ca­sion, though. The first goal in a new £1bil­lion arena

sounds so much bet­ter be­ing scored by a crowd favourite rather than Milivo­je­vic ( og). Son’s con­tri­bu­tion stood.

Of the se­cond, there could be no doubt. That was down to An­dre Mar­riner — sorry, Chris­tian erik­sen. Well, maybe some­thing of both. There were 10 min­utes re­main­ing and Crys­tal Palace had at last come out of their shell.

Spa­ces were open­ing up as a re­sult and Tot­ten­ham ex­ploited them. An­dros Townsend, in­tro­duced late to spark an equaliser, in­stead gave the ball away and Son found harry Kane on the left. he made a strong run into the box be­fore be­ing taken down in a chal­lenge by James McArthur. The 17,500 in the sky- scrap­ing Park Lane end ap­pealed for a penalty, barely notic­ing that the ball had run loose to erik­sen di­rectly in front of goal. Mar­riner, a gen­er­ous de­ci­sion- maker and com­mon sense of­fi­cial, had let the play run, how­ever, and was able to give a goal, not a foul.

So all was well that ended well. Tot­ten­ham got home in time for easter and their fans had a vic­tory to cel­e­brate in a week when one was sorely needed. With Arse­nal and Chelsea both win­ning mid­week games, a mis­step and Tot­ten­ham could have ended the night with the best sta­dium in the cap­i­tal, and the third best team. In­stead, they re­turned to Lon­don’s top spot, and the na­tional third, even if Arse­nal are merely a point be­hind with a game in hand. It is not al­ways easy to win a first game in a new sta­dium — Arse­nal did not man­age it against As­ton Villa at the emi­rates — but Tot­ten­ham were com­fort­able here, rarely chal­lenged by a Palace team long on grit but short on am­bi­tion. It was only when the match was lost that Palace played as if they aimed to win it, and Wil­fried Zaha forced an ex­cel­lent save from hugo Lloris.

It was a night for cel­e­bra­tions and souvenirs, too, and there is no doubt Tot­ten­ham’s fans have al­ready fallen in love with their new home. Next week’s Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nal against Manch­ester City is al­ready tin­gling a few spines.

In­deed, ev­ery­thing went ac­cord­ing to plan, ex­cept the bit where Tot­ten­ham score nice and early and al­low their sup­port­ers to en­joy the home­com­ing with­out drama. By half-time, not only was it still goal­less, but Olivier Giroud’s opener for Chelsea against Brighton had tem­po­rar­ily rel­e­gated Tot­ten­ham to fifth place, out­side Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Brighton are Crys­tal Palace’s ri­vals so Chelsea’s lead brought an in­con­gru­ous cheer from one cor­ner.

The vis­i­tors al­most had even more to cheer just three min­utes in when Jef­frey Schlupp got the bet­ter of Toby Alder­weireld, only to shoot over.

There was lit­tle in the way of threat after that, al­though Palace de­fended well, as ex­pected.

Tot­ten­ham also started as one imag­ined they would: high tempo, bags of en­ergy, ev­ery for­ward keen to score the first goal of mean­ing at their new home. The night had be­gun with an open­ing cer­e­mony — choirs, bands and a Tot­ten­ham-sup­port­ing tenor by the name of Wynne evans, which was ironic, con­sid­er­ing Tot­ten­ham haven’t had a ten­ner to spend in over a year now, a po­si­tion Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino hopes to rec­tify soon.

even so, this is a squad that should achieve, and it was frus­trat­ing for the lo­cals to see them ini­tially make hard work of a Palace side that were lit­tle more than or­gan­ised, and game.

It started brightly enough, with a Kieran Trip­pier cross met by Dele Alli, whose header was com­fort­ably mopped up by Guaita, but the more chances that went beg­ging, the more ap­pre­hen­sive the crowd became. The evening had al­ready

fea­tured a brief snow­storm in april for those who be­lieve in bad omens.

Son, play­ing his best game since kane re­turned from in­jury, in­spired the crowd with some fine runs, in­clud­ing one, left to right, that ended with him feed­ing the ball to Erik­sen, whose shot was very poor. Yet it took Tot­ten­ham 17 min­utes to force the first real save of the night when kane played a lovely cross­field ball to Trip­pier, who cut it back to Erik­sen.

His shot was bet­ter this time, and Guaita did well to keep it out, un­der pres­sure from alli.

Tot­ten­ham drew nearer with ev­ery for­ward sor­tie and four min­utes later a beau­ti­ful chip by alli should have been fin­ished by Erik­sen, but the Dane seemed caught in two minds about how to fin­ish it, failed to alight on ei­ther scheme, and the ball nearly went straight in with­out con­tact, tak­ing Guaita by sur­prise.

Frus­tra­tion was set­ting in and alli became the first book­ing at the new sta­dium, cau­tioned for a foul on Milivo­je­vic. Then it was back to busi­ness: an Erik­sen chip met by a glanc­ing kane header, an Erik­sen pass to Son, struck low and fum­bled for­tu­itously around the near post by Guaita.

a cor­ner from Danny Rose that kane headed just wide, and a spec­u­la­tive Son shot that flew up­wards into what Tot­ten­ham hope will one day be known as the White Wall. It wasn’t quite into row Z — but then with­out the aid of a rocket-launcher it is hard to imag­ine a strike that could be.

It’s that kind of place. Very im­pres­sive, as Tot­ten­ham hope to be once set­tled.

They’re un­beaten at home, at least.

TOT­TEN­HAM (4-4-2): Lloris 6; Trip­pier 6.5, Alder­weireld 6, Ver­tonghen 6.5, Davies 6;

ERIK­SEN 7.5, Sis­soko 6.5, Alli 7 (Moura 82min), Rose 6 (Winks 69, 7); Kane 6, Son 7 (Wanyama 90+2).

Subs not used: Gaz­zaniga, Sanchez, Walker-Peters, Foyth. Scor­ers: Son 55, Erik­sen 80. Booked: Alli.

Man­ager: Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino 7. CRYS­TAL PALACE (4-4-2): Guaita 5; Wan-Bis­saka 6, Kelly 6, Tomkins 6.5, Van Aan­holt 6; McArthur 6, Milivo­je­vic 6, Kouy­ate 6 (Townsend 79), Schlupp 6; Bat­shuayi 5 (Ben­teke 81), Zaha 5.

Subs not used: Hen­nessey, Ward, Dann, Meyer, Ayew. Booked: None. Man­ager: Roy Hodg­son 6. Ref­eree: An­dre Mar­riner 6.5. At­ten­dance: 59,215.

PIC­TURE: ANDY HOOPER

Favourite Son: the Spurs for­ward opens the scor­ing

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