It had been 28 years. Twenty-eight years of Tottenham nightmares, disappointments and shortcomings at Stamford Bridge. It was a 28-year-old barren streak that wasn’t just going to end; it was always going to require something extraordinary.
And on Sunday, after almost three decades of Chelsea dominance, the extraordinary transpired.
It exploded out of the boots of Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier and Dele Alli in a 3-1 victory that had longtime Spurs fans overcome by emotion. Eriksen’s dipping drive canceled out Alvaro Morata’s 30th-minute header just before halftime. Alli polished off perfection from Dier in the second half before also bagging the third.
And Tottenham, for so long third in the Premier League’s London pecking order, ascended definitively to first. It dealt Chelsea what could be a fatal blow in the race for Champions League qualification. The home defeat left the Blues eight points behind fourth with just seven matches to play. Out of this year’s continental competition as well, its season is tumbling toward failure.
The game had been begging for a touch of transcendent class over a scrappy, combative first half-hour. Instead, it came to life via a mistake. Antonio Rudiger unlocked Spurs with a scamper into midfield and a crisp pass to release Victor Moses down the right. Moses’ cross sailed over the arm of an at-fault Hugo Lloris, onto Morata’s noggin and into the net.
But Eriksen stunned Willy Caballero and the whole of Stamford Bridge with his knuckling shot that clipped the crossbar on its way in. And Spurs, on their way into the halftime dressing room, had their equalizer. They also had something to build on.
Dier and Alli then seized the day with a picturesque goal in the 62nd-minute. Alli timed his run excellently. Dier put a vertical 60-yard ball right on Alli’s foot, and the attacking midfielder, without wasting time or a touch, snuck his finish inside the near post.
Eriksen released Son Heung-Min soon thereafter with a brilliant one-touch pass, and the sequence ended with Alli scrambling the ball over the line.
The day ended with Tottenham songs ringing out around the Bridge, drowning out Chelsea frustration and anger. With a first-ever Premier League win for Spurs at the storied ground. With every single one of the millions of Tottenham fans under the age of 30 witnessing something for the first time.
The 28-year drought had been snapped. And given what they had been through over those 28 years, even some Spurs fans could hardly believe it.
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