A Sarr is born in north London as Spurs leave it late

A last gasp Brennan Johnson goal in the 96th minute saw Tottenham complete a dramatic second-half comeback to beat Brighton 2-1 reports Vlad Andrejevic from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Pascal Gross converted a penalty won by Danny Welbeck early in the first half before Pape Matar Sarr squeezed in a finish after the break to set the game up for a dramatic finale. Two substitutes combined right at the death as Heung-Min Son picked out an excellent cross for Johnson to finish and send the fans into delirium.

Tottenham went into the game with their strongest squad since the start of the season following the return of Sarr, Son and Yves Bissouma from their international duties. Whilst Son and Bissouma were named on the bench, Sarr was brought back into the starting lineup as his influence at Spurs continues to grow.

Featured on the front cover of the programme notes ahead of the game, Sarr has very much become a symbol of the new era at Tottenham. Brought in from Metz in 2021, his first full season at the club saw him get limited game time.

However, the summer arrival of Ange Postecoglou, who identified his many unique attributes as early as pre-season, has since seen the Senegal international become key for his club; starting more games in midfield this season than any other player in the squad.

At the age of 21, Sarr ‘s bright future is apparent, however his rapid rise to the big stage has perhaps taken some by surprise. His understanding and seamless adaptation to the new style of football have made him indispensable for Postecoglou, who has quick to praise the young talisman, often commenting on his maturity beyond his years, calmness on the ball and seemingly boundless energy.

Sarr has also made an impact on his national team where he has already earned 21 caps. Despite the Lions of Teranga’s disappointing exit to Ivory Coast in the Round of 16 at AFCON, there is optimism that the new generation of Senegalese footballers will soon reemerge as a force on the international stage, with Sarr at the heart of it.

Against Brighton, Sarr’s inclusion certainly aided Tottenham return to winning ways, though it was not a given by any means. The Seagulls almost went ahead in the first minute as Welbeck stole the ball off Micky Van De Ven and charged towards goal before chopping in and floating a shot towards the top corner which needed saving by Guglielmo Vicario.

15 minutes later, Welbeck got the better of Van De Ven again, this time shielding the ball as it fell to him in the box and drawing a clumsy foul to earn his side a penalty which Gross showed unerring composure to put away.

The Lilywhites tried to respond as they nicked the ball off Brighton in dangerous areas, with Richarlison being played through by James Maddison and forcing a good save from Jason Steele before the roles reversed and Maddison could only curl his shot wide from a Richarlison pass.

Counter-pressing looked the most likely route to goal for both teams, with GuglielmoVicario needing to make a smart stop from Kaoru Mitoma after Rodrigo Bentancur was dispossessed before the last chance of the half fell to an off-balance Dejan Kulusevksi to hit straight at the onrushing keeper.

Tottenham looked revitalised after the break and played with more purpose which was rewarded in the 61st minute as Dejan Kulusevski cleverly found the run of Sarr. His attempted cross was diverted onto the post and back into his path, prompting him to show typical composure and sweep in the equaliser with a neat first-time finish.

A flurry of substitutions from both sides broke the rhythm of the game until Mitoma escaped down the left once more and pulled the ball back to Ansu Fati who dragged his shot inches wide of the post.

Following another heart-in-mouth moment for the home supporters as Facundo Buonanotte had a good opportunity blocked, the crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated as their team seemed to be trickling towards a draw before substitute Son was played in by Richarlison and sent a perfectly weighted ball across the box for Johnson to tap in with virtually the last kick of the game and seal the three points.

https://www.voice-online.co.uk/sport/premier-league/2024/02/11/a-sarr-is-born-in-north-london-as-spurs-leave-it-late/

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