LONDON -- Tottenham left it late but managed to a narrow 1-0 win against Southampton to keep alive in the hunt for Champions League qualification thanks to star winger Gareth Bale. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
Southampton had the better chances in the first half and could have been ahead had it not been for some fine saves from Lloris. Spurs showed more fight after the break but the visitors put in an impressive display and looked like they would deservedly leave north London with a point only for Bale to smash home a vital late winner.
Aaron Lennon returned from injury for Spurs while Scott Parker was left out of the squad altoghether. Pochettino, meanwhile, brought Luke Shaw back into the Saints side in the absense of Danny Fox.
The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes because of travel problems in north London, but that didn't stop Spurs making a quick start. Jermain Defoe came close from close range inside five minutes but sent his shot from inside the box just wide of the post.
Moments later the visitors wasted a glorious chance on the counter-attack, Nathaniel Clyne raced away down the right flank before firing a half-volley wide of Hugo Lloris' far post, with Rickie Lambert unmarked to his right.
The hosts then faded as an attacking threat, until Lennon cut in from the right in the 20th minute and almost delivered a dangerous ball into the box only for Cork to make a crucial interception.
Pochettino's side went close again on the break just before the half-hour mark, Guly do Prado this time bombed forward down the right flank but Michael Dawson made a last ditch challenge to cut out his attempted pass to Rickie Lambert.
Spurs then survived another scare thanks to Lloris. The Frenchman got down superbly to palm Lambert's free kick onto the post before holding on to Steven Davis' header from a cross only seconds later.
Villas-Boas would have had stern words with his player's during the break and it seemed to have had an immediate effect as Spurs made a brighter start to the second half.
But that period of pressure lasted only a matter of ten minutes before the Saints again began dictating the tempo of the game. A series of set-pieces were well defended by Villas-Boas' side as Pochettino's men began to turn the screw in front of their rampant travelling support.
Clint Demspey had a shot from the edge of the area as Spurs began to find their feet as an attacking force but the American's half-volley was wastefully miscued over the bar. Roared on by the home support, Spurs rallied for a late winner. They had a handball claim against Clyne turned down in amongst a goal-mouth scramble.
Another penalty appealed was also turned down by Mark Clattenburg as Bale went down under Shaw's challenge inside the area.
But just as some Spurs fans feared the worst, Bale finally came alive. The Welshman picked the ball up outside the area before driving a fierce low show past the hapless Boruc, sending White Hart Lane into raptures.
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