Gareth Bale was the match-winner as his first goal since his return to Tottenham proved enough to beat Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tariq Lamptey cancelled out Harry Kane’s first-half penalty for the Seagulls but Bale, who had only been on the pitch a few minutes stole the headlines with his header giving the hosts a 2-1 win at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Jose Mourinho made two changes from Spurs’ last Premier League outing, with Sergio Reguilon and Erik Lamela coming in for Ben Davies and Lucas Moura, who were named on the bench.
Sanchez given debut
The big team news for the Seagulls was that of Robert Sanchez, with the young Spaniard making his Premier League debut in goal whilst Graham Potter was also without Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly meaning Leandro Trossard played as the lead striker.
Debutant Sanchez was called into action within six minutes when Reguilon was afforded a little too much room in the box, but his shot looking for the top corner was turned away by the Albion keeper.
However, Spurs did get the breakthrough from the penalty spot 13 minutes in. Adam Lallana was harshly judged to have fouled Kane and after referee Graham Scott initially gave a free-kick, VAR overruled to award a penalty.
And the England skipper made no mistake from twelve yards, sending Sanchez the wrong way to give Spurs the advantage.
As the half grew, the Seagulls grew into the game with Trossard perhaps unlucky not to have won a penalty when Matt Doherty looked to have pulled him back as he tried to get on the end of Ben White’s ball in.
John Veltman then searched for the run of Adam Lallana in behind and looked as though he found him, but the former Liverpool man couldn’t quite bring it down out of the air and the ball got away from him.
The Seagulls started brightly in the second half and duly got an equaliser just before the hour. Lamptey latched onto a neat through ball from Pascal Gross and the wing-back fired past Hugo Lloris to make it 1-1.
The goal stood despite Scott looking at the monitor to assess Solly March’s tackle on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the build-up to the goal. It was a controversial moment and a first for VAR in the Premier League.
The game then had an end to end feel about it as both sides looked for a second goal, and Spurs came a whisker away from regaining their advantage midway through the second period.
Lamela drove forwards from midfield and saw his 25-yard strike come back off the post. Veltman’s touch then sent the ball back towards goal and only a stretching Sanchez could divert it behind for a corner.
Kane then should have done better when a ball in was flicked to the striker at the far post but from close range, he could only hit the post.
However, Spurs did go back in front after 73 minutes. Substitute Bale had been on the pitch a matter of moments before taking matters into his own hands. He combined well with Reguilon on the left and the full-back’s cross picked him out before he headed home past Sanchez.
The visitors searched for a second equaliser, and after making his debut from the bench Danny Welbeck was unlucky when he did well to win the ball from a corner, but he couldn’t pick out a blue shirt with his pull back inside the area.