Fulham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Adarabioyo own-goal settles tight contest
Photo by Getty Images/Pool

At a floodlit Craven Cottage, hosts Fulham were defeated by Tottenham Hotspur thanks to an own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo.

The defender diverted the ball into his own net after good build-up from Spurs in the 19th minute, but Fulham had the better of the play after the break, and thought they'd equalised around 15 minutes in the second half when Josh Maja powered home an assured finish before VAR disallowed the goal for handball.

For the rest of the match, Fulham pushed, they probed, but they just couldn't crack a solid and resilient Tottenham defence as the visitors ground out their third win in a week.

The result sees Fulham remain 18th in the Premier League table, still just three points off safety, while Tottenham stay 8th and well in with a shout of securing European football next season.

Story of the game

Fulham manager Scott Parker made three changes to the side that drew with Crystal Palace last time out. Antonee Robinson replaced Kenny Tete in defence in a move which saw Ola Aina shift to right-back, while Mario Lemina came in for Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in midfield and Ivan Cavaleiro took Bobby Decordova-Reid's spot on the wing.

There were also three adjustments to Jose Mourinho's Spurs side following their 4-0 drubbing of Burnley at the weekend. Matt Doherty replaced Serge Aurier on the right of defence while Ben Davies came in for Sergio Reguilon on the left, but the most notable change saw Dele Alli start ahead of Lucas Moura in the attacking midfield role behind Harry Kane.

It was an energetic start from the hosts. With just over a minute on the clock, Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up possession in midfield, skinned Tanguy Ndombele and drove towards the penalty area, shifting the ball onto his right for the shot; it was underwhelming when it came as he scuffed the contact, and Lemina blazed a follow-up way over the bar.

The Cottagers certainly had the better of the play in the opening exchanges. Loftus-Cheek, heavily involved from minute one, picked out Harrison Reed on the edge of the area. The midfielder looked to be sizing up a shot from 20 yards but instead played a clever reverse ball into the feet of Ademola Lookman one-on-one with Hugo Lloris, but the forward's touch let him down and Davinson Sanchez was able to marshal the ball back to the goalkeeper.

Tottenham, though, were gifted a good chance to open the scoring when Ndombele was felled by Lemina just over 20 yards from goal. Up stepped set-piece specialist Gareth Bale, but he couldn't get enough dip on his effort as it sailed over the bar.

The visitors seemed to have weathered an early storm and should have taken the lead on the 15-minute mark. Kane spread the ball out to Heung-min Son on the left who steadied himself before summoning a beautifully accurate cross with the outside of his foot which landed straight on Kane's head, but the striker made it far too easy for Alphonse Areola who was able to clutch the ball gratefully down by his feet.

However, they did manage to break the deadlock just moments later. Alli spread the ball out to Son, who left Aina for dead before cutting it back into the centre where Alli was lurking to flick the ball home with the aid of a deflection off Adarabioyo. Replays showed it was that touch off the defender which directed the ball on goal, so it went down as an own goal.

All of Tottenham's successes were coming down their left flank. Again, Kane picked out Son on the wing, and the forward cut inside before attempting to arrow an effort into the far top corner, but it sailed just wide of the post.

Kane was in the thick of the action, too. With about 10 minutes of the half remaining, Ndombele attempted to pick the striker out with an incisive disguised pass. Before he could receive it, the Spurs captain went down clutching his ankle claiming there had been contact from Aina, but both referee David Coote and VAR were unmoved.

The visitors had their hosts suffocated, unable to escape the confines of their own half. Alli received the ball on the right-hand edge of the area and floated a cross over to the left where Son rose higher than Aina, but his headed effort landed wide of the near post which in any case was being guarded alertly by Areola.

They'd been on the back foot for all of half an hour, but Fulham worked a golden opportunity to level the scores in the last passage of play before half-time. Robinson weaved down the left, evading challenge after challenge before feeding Maja in the area. The striker then laid it off for Lemina charging into the box, but the midfielder sent his effort way over the bar; he should at least have forced Lloris into a save from that position.

Tottenham went into the break just the one goal to the good but it could definitely have been more; half-time came at the right time for Fulham, and they needed to find a way of imposing themselves on this game a little more in the second half.

In fairness, it was the Cottagers who fashioned the first opportunity after the restart. Cavaleiro lofted a set-piece straight onto the head of Joachim Andersen, whose glancing header forced Lloris to make the save at full-stretch with the ball heading for the top corner. Adarabioyo diverted another effort from the resultant corner straight into the palms of the Frenchman.

Fulham looked a changed team. They controlled possession from right after the break onwards, and had the incision to cause Spurs some problems. Lemina demonstrated as much when he picked possession up high in midfield and fizzed the ball right into Loftus-Cheek, who struggled to control the ball and gave Sanchez the opportunity to clear.

They thought they'd deservedly equalised in virtually the next phase of play when Maja steered a powerful left-footed finish in the bottom corner, but VAR disallowed the goal for a handball by Lemina in the build-up.

The hosts were having all of the ball, enjoying just under 90% of the possession between the 60th and 70th minutes, but they struggled to create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities with Tottenham holding strong. It was increasingly obvious that it would take something pretty special to break down the visiting defence.

Tottenham just wouldn't let their opponents through, and fashioned a super opportunity to double their lead with just over seven minutes of regulation time remaining. Substitute Moussa Sissoko played the ball into Son who laid it off first-time for Kane darting into the area, who drew a fantastic save from Areola, the goalkeeper doing remarkably well to keep his side in this contest.

It just felt as though Spurs might need that second goal to make sure they would go on to win this. Anguissa freed Lookman down the left of the box, but the winger's cross aimed for Aleksandar Mitrovic was clasped well by Lloris.

Next, Mitrovic received a pass from Lemina on the right-hand edge of the box and drove an effort across goal. It was probably going wide, but Matt Doherty diving in at the back post nearly diverted the ball into his own net, presumably thinking a Fulham player was otherwise going to latch onto it behind him.

And with that, Fulham's fight to squeeze a point out of this game was rendered fruitless, Tottenham holding on for their third straight win in all competitions.


Fulham: Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson (Bryan 75'); Reed, Lemina; Cavaleiro (Mitrovic 71'), Loftus-Cheek (Anguissa 64'), Lookman; Maja.

Unused subs: Fabri, Tete, Ream, Kongolo, Onomah, Decordova-Reid.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Ndombele (Lamela 75'), Hojbjerg; Bale (Moura 67'), Alli (Sissoko 67'), Son; Kane.

Unused subs: Hart, Tanganga, Dier, Reguilon, Winks, Vinicius.

Up next

Following defeat here, Fulham travel to Anfield on Sunday to face reigning champions Liverpool.

Tottenham, meanwhile, return to the home comforts of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Crystal Palace in a battle of north vs south London.