Tottenham’s Premier League title hopes suffered an unexpected setback as Wolves scored three times in the last 18 minutes to come from behind and win at Wembley.

Spurs would have moved three points behind leaders Liverpool with a win, but defeat means the Reds can end the day nine points clear.

Willy Boly levelled with a powerful header in the 72nd minute to punish the hosts for a sloppy second-half performance after Harry Kane’s spectacular first-half opener for Spurs.

Raul Jimenez then beat Hugo Lloris with a weak effort from the edge of the area to put Wolves in front before Helder Costa added a third on the counter-attack three minutes from time.

The hosts did not have a single shot in the second half as their five-game winning run in the league came to an end.

They remain second in the table but Manchester City can go back above them when they visit Southampton on Sunday.

Leaders Liverpool face Arsenal in Saturday’s 17:30 GMT kick-off.

Flat second half costs Spurs

Tottenham players after Wolves goal

Spurs’ performance in the second half was in a stark contrast to their previous two games, in which they scored six times against Everton and put five past Bournemouth.

That free-scoring form had led manager Mauricio Pochettino to admit his side were “intruders” in the title race, but a fifth league defeat of the season halts the momentum they had built.

The north London side played well in the first half and had 10 efforts on goal, though most – including Kane’s goal – came from distance. Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min were particularly lively.

But after the break they were flat and lacked cohesion, the influence of Kane, Son and Eriksen diminished, and the introduction of Lucas Moura failed to spark them into life.

The tension inside Wembley increased as the home support witnessed their team lose control of the game as Wolves, who had barely threatened in the first half, grew in confidence.

After Boly’s deserved equaliser, the Spurs fans tried to squeeze more from their team but it was Wolves, helped by some slack defending, who created all of the chances late on.

Resolute gameplan works for Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo celebrates

Wolves’ fans, players and manager Nuno Espirito Santo celebrated wildly at full-time.

They did not create chances in the opening 45 minutes but, unlike Everton and Bournemouth before them, defended well enough to stay in the game.

Then, when Spurs’ performance dipped, they began to exert control on the game and Nuno made the right substitutions.

Joao Moutinho was introduced to the base of midfield in the 68th minute and dictated play, as well as providing the pin-point cross from the set-piece for Boly’s equaliser.

Striker Costa, meanwhile, came on in the 59th minute and made an excellent run before a clinical low finish to seal the game with Wolves’ third goal.

Victory means they jump to seventh in the table, one place and three points behind Manchester United.

They began 2018 as a promotion-chasing Championship side but end it as a team in the top half of the Premier League with a famous win over a title contender.

Man of the match – Willy Boly (Wolves)

Willy Boly

‘We are not machines’ – manager reaction

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: “We did not dominate the ball in the second half. We were wrong in the way we tried to play, too much long ball and our energy dropped in the second half.

“It was difficult to come back into the game after their equaliser. But that is football. We have had a very good run in the last few weeks and to keep that level is difficult.

“We tried to play a little more in the second half, but we were too direct and I think we started to pay for the effort in the other games. We are not machines. We need to understand that we cannot get ourselves in this situation.

“I think we used the ball in the wrong way and allowed them to create chances on the transitions.”

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “The second half was really really good. We managed possession, had chances and goals.

“We had a lot of belief after the equaliser – I would have said a draw was a good result, but I cannot control the emotions of the boys if they see space in front of them. It is good for the dressing room but to play like this at Wembley – the home of football – is the big thing.

“We have achieved something very special in getting to the Premier League and it has been a very special year.”

A first for Pochettino – the best stats

  • This was Pochettino’s first Premier League defeat against a newly promoted side while in charge of Spurs – the Argentine was unbeaten in 27 such meetings (W25 D2).
  • Wolves recorded their first Premier League win over Spurs since February 2010 (1-0 under Mick McCarthy), having gone winless in their previous five meetings in the competition (D2 L3).
  • This was only the third time Spurs have lost a Premier League home game by two or more goals under Pochettino – the other two were against Liverpool (3-0 in August 2014) and Manchester City (3-1 in April 2018).
  • Spurs suffered a Premier League home defeat after opening the scoring for the first time since May 2016 (2-1 v Southampton).
  • Wolves have only lost two of their seven Premier League games against ‘big six’ opponents this season (W2 D3 L2), managing to avoid defeat in each of their three away games (W1 D2).
  • 47% of Spurs’ goals in the Premier League this season have been scored in the month of December (20/43).
  • Jimenez has been directly involved in 10 of the team’s 23 goals in the Premier League this season (six goals and four assists).
  • Kane has had a hand in 12 goals in his past 12 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams (11 goals and one assist).

What’s next?

Tottenham’s next game is on New Year’s Day at Cardiff (17:30 GMT). Wolves host Crystal Palace a day later at 19:45 GMT.

Line-ups

Tottenham

  • 1Lloris
  • 2Trippier
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 33DaviesBooked at 16mins
  • 8Winks
  • 17Sissoko
  • 23EriksenBooked at 42mins
  • 20AlliSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 68′minutes
  • 10KaneBooked at 81mins
  • 7Son Heung-Min

Substitutes

  • 3Rose
  • 14Nkoudou
  • 16Walker-Peters
  • 21Foyth
  • 22Gazzaniga
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 52Skipp

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5Bennett
  • 16Coady
  • 15Boly
  • 2Doherty
  • 32DendonckerSubstituted forJoão Moutinhoat 68′minutes
  • 8Neves
  • 19Castro OttoBooked at 81mins
  • 37TraoréSubstituted forHélder Costaat 59′minutes
  • 7CavaleiroSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 85′minutes
  • 9JiménezBooked at 84mins

Substitutes

  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 17Gibbs-White
  • 21Ruddy
  • 27Saïss
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 29Vinagre
  • 33Bonatini
Referee:
Stuart Attwell
Attendance:
46,356

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamWolves
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away7
Fouls
Home7
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rúben Neves tries a through ball, but Morgan Gibbs-White is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Doherty.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Matt Doherty.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Matt Doherty with a through ball following a fast break.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Willy Boly.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Morgan Gibbs-White replaces Ivan Cavaleiro.

Booking

Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro.

Booking

Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) has gone down, but that’s a dive.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Kieran Trippier.

Foul by Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur).

Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Conor Coady.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by João Moutinho with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Ben Davies.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Lucas Moura replaces Dele Alli.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho replaces Leander Dendoncker.

Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Foul by Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).

Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Hélder Costa replaces Adama Traoré because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro with a cross.

Hand ball by Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rui Patrício tries a through ball, but Adama Traoré is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro with a cross.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Toby Alderweireld.

Attempt blocked. Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rúben Neves.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) because of an injury.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Second Half

Second Half begins Tottenham Hotspur 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.

goal

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