Tottenham Hotspur rode their luck in the quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory at Fulham on Thursday thanks to an own-goal by Tosin Adarabioyo and the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Victory dragged Tottenham back into the race for a Champions League spot with Jose Mourinho’s eighth-placed side on 42 points from 26 matches, four points behind Everton in fourth, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace.
“In this period we need three points. Fulham are a very good team,” Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld told BT Sport. “We should be better on the ball but without it we did everything we could to keep a clean sheet.”
Seconds after an unmarked Harry Kane failed to head his team in front, Tottenham took the lead from a quick counter-attack in the 19th minute when Son Heung-min’s cross was met by Dele Alli before going over the line following a touch by Adarabioyo.
Fulham began the second half brightly and thought they had equalised through Josh Maja but his effort was chalked off by VAR after Davinson Sanchez kicked the ball onto Mario Lemina’s hand as Tottenham looked to clear.
“For the players and maybe referees it’s a difficult one because some are high intensity and not on purpose but they get given,” Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said.
“As players I think what we wish is some kind of consistency in the reviews with the handball situations but I haven’t seen it so I can’t say if it was on or not.”
Midfielder Alli looked sharp in his first league start since the opening day of the season and combined well with Son late in the first half, but the forward was unable to head in the England international’s cross from a tight angle.
Fulham pushed on after going behind as Antonee Robinson weaved his way into Spurs’ penalty area in the dying seconds of the first half and found Maja who set up Lemina, but the Gabon midfielder’s shot flew over the crossbar.
Fulham stayed 18th in the table and deep in relegation trouble, three points behind Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion.
WEST BROM 0-1 EVERTON
Everton striker Richarlison continued his scoring form with a fourth goal in as many Premier League games to earn his side a hard-fought 1-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Thursday.
Everton climbed into the top four to stay on course for a European club competition berth next season.
A third successive win moved the Toffees to 46 points from 26 matches, above both Chelsea and Liverpool who meet at Anfield later on Thursday.
West Brom’s narrow defeat and their first loss in almost a month left them still deep in relegation trouble. They have 17 points from 27 games, nine points from safety, as they stayed second bottom of the table.
Brazilian Richarlison rose above the home defence at The Hawthorns to power home a 65th-minute header from a curling cross by Gylfi Sigurdsson, who had just come off the bench, for his sixth league goal of the season.
“We had an idea a set-piece might win it,” Sigurdsson said.
“We are confident after a couple of good results. But it is tight at the top. We have to keep going and work hard. If we get on a run we have a chance.”
West Brom looked to have equalised for a much-needed point three minutes into stoppage time when Mbaye Diagne netted from close range, only for VAR to rule he was just offside.
It was a heartbreaking finish after they had started brightly with a good opportunity inside the opening two minutes for Diagne from Conor Gallagher’s cross, only to be thwarted by a flying save from Jordan Pickford.
The Senegal international proved a real handful for the visiting defence and had several other chances.
Everton were largely on the back foot in the first half but despite limited opportunity were still able to conjure up chances of their own.
Richarlison had an effort half blocked by Darnell Furlong and a fortuitous bounce of the ball put Dominic Calvert-Lewin through on goal but his shot was straight at West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone.
Everton looked more attacking in the second half but still required strong defence to keep the home side at bay and take home all three points.