Steven Bergwijn: Forward stakes his Spurs claim in dramatic fashion


Bergwijn had gone nine league games without scoring for Spurs, last netting against Aston Villa in May of last seasonIn the 93rd minute at the King Power Stadium, Steven Bergwijn was petulantly shoving a Leicester player to the ground as Tottenham headed to a damaging defeat. Less then three minutes later, he was engulfed in supporters as a match-winning hero.

It was one of the most stunning turnarounds in Premier League history. Not quite up there with Manchester City’s ‘Aguerooooo’ moment in its stakes but no less enjoyable for those fortunate, delirious fans in the away end.

For 93 tough minutes, Spurs had missed chances, given themselves hope and then seen it seemingly dashed by a more efficient Leicester. But two well-taken finishes in the space of 79 seconds by Bergwijn flipped the game on its head as Spurs snatched a 3-2 win.

“A rollercoaster of emotions” was how Spurs skipper Harry Kane described it. “Fantastic” added Bergwijn in understated fashion.

Former Foxes midfielder Robbie Savage was more effusive in the BT Studio: “This is why it’s the best game in the world.”

It was not only further evidence of the Premier League’s appeal but a superb and timely advert for the qualities of the game’s match-winner.

Bergwijn’s astonishing late double seals Tottenham win at LeicesterLeicester v Tottenham as it happened, plus reaction and analysisVisit our Tottenham page’These are games you will never forget in a career’Even in a game that had swung wildly throughout, with both sides having periods of dominance, both teams creating chances and both teams… well, mainly Spurs… missing numerous chances, few saw the dramatic conclusion coming.

Leicester initially led, against the run of play, through Patson Daka before Harry Kane equalised in typically ruthless fashion.

James Maddison’s lead-restoring goal looked to be the decisive moment in what had already been a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

Cue Bergwijn from the bench.

He let himself down at first, diving to try to win an injury-time penalty before leaping to his feet to push an opponent and earn a booking.

In the very next attack, he fired Spurs level after the ball broke to him in the box to surely rescue Spurs a point.

Make that three. With seconds to spare, he rounded Kasper Schmeichel and found the bottom corner to spark bedlam on the pitch, the Spurs bench and supporters section.

“It is fantastic,” Bergwijn told BT. “The fans had a fantastic day. I scored two goals, I am happy. The manager told me to score goals, make difficulties for the defenders and stay close to Harry.”

Kane added: “We never gave up and Stevey came on and made the difference. To get two goals like that – these are games you will never forget in a career.”

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte told BBC Match of the Day: “I think we showed today that we don’t want to give up. Never.

“The players know very well what our philosophy must be. We must fight to the end and try to also get a result.

“Today to lose this game was not right. We created many many chances. We were unlucky when we conceded. At the end we were very good and we believed to the end. We wanted three points and we deserved them.”

As Conte spoke, the Spurs fans continued to sing in jubilation – a mood captured by Savage’s guest in the BT studio, ex-Spurs striker Peter Crouch.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “The away end was spilling on the pitch. What an end to the game. It was just great to be here.”

‘No-one else in the team has his characteristics’Leicester City 2-3 Tottenham: Antonio Conte praises his side’s ‘fight’ in thrilling victoryBergwijn’s two goals were the first he has scored in what has been a season partly hampered by injury and played out with doubts surrounding his suitability for this Spurs side.

The 24-year-old has struggled to nail down a starting spot at the club following his £27m move from PSV Eindhoven in January 2020, failing to fully convince the man who bought him, Jose Mourinho.

His first half-season yielded three goals in 14 Premier League games, his second just one in 21.

Ankle and calf injuries prevented Nuno Espirito Santo and his successor Conte from truly seeing what the Dutchman is all about, with him having gone nine league games without netting.

Bergwijn has been linked with a move away this window, with Ajax rumoured to be among the suitors, but that now looks unlikely.

Direct running, dribbling and neat finishing were all in evidence in his cameo – qualities that can be built upon and possibly save the club some serious money as part of the inevitable Conte rebuild.

“I spoke about Steve in the past,” Conte told BT after the game. “For me he is an important player with a special type of characteristics. No-one else in the team has these characteristics.

“He is good technically, he beats the man, he is a striker and in good physical condition. It is an important choice for me – I can make him in the starting XI or bring him on in the game.”

Former Crystal Palace and Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison was similarly impressed in the BBC Radio 5 Live studio.

“He’s the difference maker,” he said. “There’s a lot of teams interested in him but if I’m Tottenham I’m keeping him. He’ll score goals and he’s a confidence player.”

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