West Bromwich Albion
7:00 PM UTC
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Real Betis
7:00 PM UTC
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 By Ben Pearce

Tottenham's solid defence deserved better in loss to Leicester

On Sunday it was Tottenham who got the late goal, with Harry Kane's penalty denying Leicester City victory in the third round of the FA Cup, grabbing a 2-2 draw at the death and booking a replay in the Midlands.

But on Wednesday night, Claudio Ranieri's side returned to White Hart Lane and got their revenge -- and then some -- as Robert Huth's 83rd-minute header earned a 1-0 triumph for the visitors in a crucial top-four showdown in the Premier League.

It was harsh on Spurs, who deserved a draw but have now lost two of their last three home games in the top flight, following the 2-1 defeat against Newcastle in December.

This was a big opportunity for Tottenham to reel Leicester in, to move within four points of the top and continue dreaming about a title challenge.

Instead, Leicester have moved seven points ahead -- level with leaders Arsenal -- and Mauricio Pochettino and his players find themselves looking over their shoulders in the battle for the top four, with West Ham and Manchester United both within two points of them.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
Leicester CityLeicester City
Game Details

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- There was an awkward exchange of passes with Kyle Walker in the first half that got Spurs into trouble, but the Frenchman made a fine save from a Huth volley and then spared Walker's blushes by rushing out to dive at Jamie Vardy's feet after another error from the right-back.

DF Kyle Walker, 5 -- Even when generally playing well he has the ability to make costly gaffes and there were a couple of unfortunate errors here, particularly when he fell and gifted Vardy a chance when there seemed to be little cause for concern.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- Defended well, particularly when he got a foot in to deny Shinji Okazaki a shot at goal in the first half, and he also saw a header saved at the other end.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- Also unlucky to be on the losing side after a solid display, including a diving challenge on Vardy and a block during a goalmouth scramble.

DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Kept the dangerous Riyad Mahrez fairly quiet and delivered two good low crosses to Erik Lamela, who should have done better.

MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Put in a strong display of controlled aggression and ensured Leicester had precious few opportunities to counter-attack effectively. Seemed to be blocked off when Leicester scored from the corner.

MF Tom Carroll, 5 -- Passed the ball around busily but also lost it a few times, prompting groans from the home fans, and a number of supporters sang Mousa Dembele's name in the second half, voicing an understandable belief that the Belgian should have started instead and may well have posed Leicester more problems.

MF Erik Lamela, 5 -- After a quiet first half the Argentine was livelier in the second and he set up Spurs' best chance with a through ball to Kane. However, he also missed two presentable opportunities from Davies' crosses.

Vertonghen Vardy Leicester Spurs 150113
Jan Vertonghen and Spurs' defence kept Jamie Vardy quiet, but were hard done by a late Robert Huth goal.

MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- Had a bright first half in a central role, seeing plenty of the ball and testing Kasper Schmeichel with a 25-yard strike. But it was a different story after the break, summed up by a free kick slammed straight into the wall. The Dane was the first Spurs player to be substituted.

MF Dele Alli, 6 - There was plenty of energy, some nice touches and a good shot that forced a diving save in the second half, but the 19-year-old was unable to score or create a goal this time.

FW Harry Kane, 6 -- Had one good chance and it went begging as his shot hit Schmeichel and bounced up onto the bar, but the striker worked hard for the team, helping Davies to double up on Mahrez and deflecting a Vardy shot over the bar inside his own box.


MF Mousa Dembele, N/A-- Pochettino waited until the 71st minute to introduce the Belgian, in place of Eriksen, and he was unable to make the impact that many hoped for. There is every chance he is not fully fit, and that that is why he was on the bench in the first place.

MF Heung-Min Son, N/A - Replaced Carroll in the 82nd minute, just in time to share in the dejection after Huth's decisive header.

MF Joshua Onomah, N/A - Pochettino's last-ditch throw of the dice, coming on in place of Dier in the 90th minute.

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.


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