Nine-man Spurs stunned, Cardiff City relegated
Mauricio Pochettino insisted on Saturday that nine-man Tottenham won’t let a “cruel” 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth ruin their bid to finish in the top four and reach the Champions League final, while Cardiff City were relegated after their 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace.
Tottenham‘s South Korea forward Son Heung-min was sent off for a needless push in the closing moments of the first half and Argentine defender Juan Foyth saw red for a studs-up lunge soon after the interval.
Pochettino’s side looked like they would hold on for a point as the match entered stoppage-time, but Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake ended third-placed Tottenham‘s stubborn resistence to delay their attempt to guarantee a place in the top four.
A win at Dean Court would have achieved that aim, but fourth-placed Chelsea will now go above Spurs if they defeat Watford and Arsenal, currently fifth, will move to within one point of their north London rivals if they beat Brighton on Sunday.
“Of course it is difficult to get something positive. We made a massive effort,” Pochettino said.
“We need to move on. We have ahead two finals. It is in our hands. If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.”
Tottenham‘s ninth defeat in their last 15 games in all competitions means they need to wait for Sunday’s results to see if they need to win their final Premier League game of the season at home to Everton on May 12.
It was the worst possible preparation for their bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Ajax on Wednesday.
“We are fighting six teams. It’s impossible for all six to get the top four, whatever happens I will feel proud and whatever happens in the semi-final I will be proud,” Pochettino said.
Cardiff City needed a win to have a realistic chance of beating the drop on the last day of the season, but they were out-classed by Palace in south Wales.
Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead in the 28th minute before Martin Kelly’s own goal three minutes later gave Cardiff City hope.
Michy Batshuayi restored Palace’s lead in the 40th minute and Andros Townsend made it three after 70 minutes, with Bobby Reid’s 90th minute goal little consolation for Cardiff City.
Third bottom Cardiff City are four points behind fourth bottom Brighton with only one game remaining, ensuring they will join already relegated Huddersfield Town and Fulham in the second tier next season.
The Bluebirds will make an immediate return to the Championship after last season’s promotion, their fate sealed by a dismal run of nine defeats in their last 11 league games.
It won’t be a season fondly remembered by Cardiff City, with their relegation coming after the tragic death of striker Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash en route to Wales before he had even played a game for the club.
“They’ve tried hard. We’ve shown limitations today and that’s why we are where we are,” said Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock.
Belgian midfielder Dendoncker netted in the 75th minute at Molineux to give Wolves a third successive win.
In the 88th minute, Fulham provided an historic footnote as Harvey Elliott was sent on to become the Premier League’s youngest ever player at 16 years and 30 days.
English midfielder Elliott, born in April 2003, surpassed the previous record set by former Fulham player Matthew Briggs, aged just 16 years and 65 days in 2007.