Bryan Mbeumo’s double inspires Brentford to comeback win at Spurs | Premier League
For Tottenham there was more pain, more frustration, another defeat. The hope was that fans would linger in the stadium for the crucial WSL match that followed it, but instead it was well on its way to emptiness by the time the final whistle blew. Spurs have lost five of their past seven games and were helpless as Brentford turned the game on its head and ripped the points from their grasp in the second half.
Bryan Mbeumo scored twice and Yoane Wissa grabbed a late third as the Bees won for the fourth time in five matches to sit a point behind Spurs with a game to play.
The turnaround was dramatic, but in the circumstances not entirely unexpected. In his programme notes Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, wrote about “an immensely difficult season” during which “footballing decisions based on ambition and a desire to bring success to our club have not delivered what we have hoped”.
Before kick-off a mural of Harry Kane was unveiled opposite the ground; for this Spurs side, poised for a summer of transformation – “We shall spend the period ahead of next season working relentlessly to position our club for on-pitch success,” Levy wrote – the writing is on the wall.
This may be the last this ground sees of Kane in a Spurs shirt and he provided one last memory to savour. Placing the England captain in such a dull side has only made his luminescence more thrilling and his goal, scored from 25 yards after Dejan Kulusevski nudged a free-kick into his path, was simply breathtaking.
How much suffering, how much frustration was it worth enduring simply to spend a single glorious second sitting in the warmth of the May sunshine, watching that ball dip and curl towards the top corner? It was the striker’s 28th league goal of the season, and his 10th in as many games, while all around him has fallen apart. Anyone who complains that Manchester City have turned the Premier League title race into a procession should consider what Kane did to Tottenham’s player of the season award.
Buoyed by an early goal, Tottenham flowed impressively for the remainder of the first half, but did not convert their chances. As Ryan Mason, their interim manager, put it: “We just needed to take our opportunities when they came in the first half – and in the second half they really took theirs.”
The arrival of Mikkel Damsgaard, to assist Vitaly Janelt in patrolling the space in front of the defence, was the catalyst. “His ability to put a few passes together, to take the right decision, was part of changing the game,” said Thomas Frank.
Tottenham’s attacks faltered, and at the first sign of pressure their defence buckled. From a throw-in in the 50th minute the ball was worked from left to right where Mbeumo cut on to his left foot and speared a shot across goal and past a leaden-footed Fraser Forster.
Six minutes later Mbeumo volleyed a shot straight at the goalkeeper, and six minutes after that Aaron Hickey was given the space to measure a simple pass through the gap between full-back and centre-half and Mbeumo cut into the area before finishing smartly.
In desperation, Spurs threw on forwards. Lucas Moura was rapturously received, on his final home appearance before he leaves in the summer; Richarlison not so much. The latter twice came close to scoring, headers clawed on to a post and over the bar in the space of a few stoppage-time seconds, but by then the game was lost.
The final goal was an act of self-sabotage, Oliver Skipp dallying on the ball from a throw-in as two black shirts closed in, and Mbeumo setting up Wissa to deal the killer blow to a moribund team.
“Playing the perfect 90 minutes is very rare,” Frank said. “I expect us to do better first half, but the second half was probably our best away half of the season.”