Son Heung-min curled in a superb winner as Tottenham laboured to victory against the Premier League’s bottom club Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked weary after their Champions League exertions over Real Madrid in midweek, but Son’s effort from the edge of the area on the hour mark proved enough to secure three points.
Palace’s best chance fell to Wilfried Zaha in the second half, but the winger missed an open goal after going around stand-in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, who was making his Spurs debut.
The Argentine, in for injured first and second choices Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm, palmed away Scott Dann’s header with a full-stretch save and also made crucial stops to deny Andros Townsend’s low strike and Luka Milivojevic’s point-blank header.
A debut to remember
Tottenham suffered a late defeat by Manchester United in their previous league game, but have responded by winning their next two games in European and domestic action.
They had goalkeeper Gazzaniga to thank for the win over Palace after he excelled in his first appearance for Tottenham, who were without both Lloris and Vorm for the first time since November 2013 through injury.
Gazzaniga’s last top-flight appearance in England came two years ago for Southampton – ironically against Spurs, when he had a game to remember by keeping a clean sheet with a man-of-the-match performance.
The 25-year-old thwarted Palace with three brilliant stops, the most impressive being a header from defender Dann that looked destined to nestle in the bottom corner.
He did, though, have a couple of nervous moments, his first act in a Spurs shirt seeing him catch Palace defender Mamadou Sakho on the head with his arm, but the referee did not award a penalty.
Gazzaniga then sprinted off his line and was left stranded as winger Zaha nipped the ball past him, yet he again escaped being punished as the Ivory Coast forward failed to hit the target with his angled shot.
Mixed news for England internationals
Midfielder Dele Alli was ruled out of the game before kick-off with the minor hamstring injury that saw him withdraw from the England squad for this month’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
Manager Gareth Southgate has an extra concern in the middle of the park after Harry Winks was replaced at half-time by Mousa Dembele having had treatment from the physio on a turned ankle.
Striker Harry Kane, who went into the game with 17 goals in 17 games for club and country this season, also required attention following a heavy challenge by Timothy Fosu-Mensah and shot straight at Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni from a good position.
Kane and full-back Danny Rose, making his first league start since January, both headed off target from promising positions.
Another England man, Eric Dier, was one of Tottenham’s better players though, as he made four perfect sliding tackles in the first-half and attempted more passes (82) and contributed nine clearances for his side.