WOLVERHAMPTON, England (Reuters)
Adama Traore was on target as a spirited Wolverhampton Wanderers stunned a wasteful Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at the Molineux Stadium in the English Premier League (EPL) on Saturday (March 4).
Raul Jimenez, brought on as a replacement for the injured Diego Costa, sent a powerful strike at Fraser Forster in the 82nd minute that the Spurs keeper could only parry into the path of Traore, who made no mistake with his finish.
The win moved Wolves up two places to 13th in the table, while Spurs stay fourth, four points behind third-placed Manchester United, who travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Sunday.
The defeat was Spurs’ second in a row after their 1-0 loss at Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Thursday.
“It’s been tough, a really disappointing week. All we can do is look forward now,” Spurs captain Harry Kane said.
“We have 12 or 13 games now to push for that top-four place. The games come around quick and we have to look to the next one.”
Spurs’ next match is against AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, where they will need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Italy.
Wolves, who lost Costa to an apparent knee injury in the first half, failed to muster a single shot before the break, with their manager Julen Lopetegui seemingly solely intent on keeping Spurs quiet.
The Spaniard, who has guided Wolves out of the relegation zone and into midtable since taking over in November, deployed Mario Lemina in a man-marking role on Kane to great effect in the first half.
Tottenham started strongly and could have taken the lead in the 19th minute when Dejan Kulusevski drew a smart save from Jose Sa in the Wolves goal with a first-time shot.
Pedro Porro crashed a free kick against the crossbar just before halftime but Wolves’ spoiling tactics kept their opponents at bay for the most part, with Kane unable to exert his usual influence.
Lopetegui made two changes at halftime, bringing on Nathan Collins for Pedro Neto and Traore for Lemina, and it was the 27-year-old Spaniard who swung the tide in the home side’s favour.
Heung-Min Son sent a deflected shot against the bar for Spurs in the 47th minute, but that was as good as it got for the visitors, who paid the price for failing to adjust to Wolves’ change in tactics at halftime.
Wolves came within inches of taking the lead in the 51st minute when Nelson Semedo failed to connect with Jimenez’s cross at the far post.
Ruben Neves served a warning of what was to come when he drew two saves from Forster in quick succession in the 69th minute before rifling a shot over the bar after a corner.
“We worked really hard to get the three points today,” said Neves, whose team are six points clear of the relegation zone. “We are in the middle of a war, playing every single game as a final.”
Wolves tore into Tottenham with ever-increasing regularity as the match wore on.
Matheus Cunha also firing agonisingly wide in the 73rd minute after being played in by Jimenez and there was even time for Traore to crash a cross of the woodwork in the dying minutes as Spurs slumped to a second defeat in a row.