LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur suffered their second defeat in English football against a London rival in a matter of days when they lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Connor Wickham gave the Eagles goalkeeper 29 points behind the Spurs in the Premier League, a nine-minute lead before Andres Townsend's former Tottenham striker's penalty kick made it 2-0.
Spurs' Kieran Trippier missed a penalty shootout before the break as Tottenham suffered more heart attack after a defeat to Chelsea on Thursday in the League Cup semi-final.
Tottenham pressed for a goal in the second half but the Palace, just three points behind the relegation zone, disrupted the form to record a deserved victory.
This turnaround has left Mauricio Pochettino still in search of his first Tottenham managerial trophy since the Argentine joined Southampton in 2014 with Spurs' last silverware in the 2008 League Cup.
It should also intensify the debate over whether the Spurs need to change their transfer strategy and spend a lot on the last few days of the January window.
The Spurs did not have the injured England stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli while Son Heung-Min, still in shape, had yet to return from international service with South Korea in the Asian Cup.
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Pochettino, however, decided to omit Christian Eriksen, with the influential owner neither among Spurs' substitutes at Selhurst Park.
By all of them are third in the Premier League, Spurs are nine points behind the leading Liverpool.
And with title holder Manchester City also ahead, it would be a surprise if Tottenham, crowned champion of England in his "Double" season of 1960/61, finished the season at the top of the table.
The Champions League is now the only hope of a Tottenham trophy this season as Pochettino's men play German club Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.
It took nine minutes for the Palace to open the scoring, with Wickham soon after a Jeff Schlupp kick was blocked by Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
The Palace took full advantage of a bizarre incident when Spurs' Kyle Walker-Peters made a cross into the area.
It was a clear penalty and Townsend made no mistake from the spot, hitting the ball in the middle of the goal.
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, starting his first Spurs since January 2017, had two good chances well saved by veteran goalkeeper of the Palace, Julian Speroni.
But Speroni was not needed when, after Patrick Van Aanholt overthrew Juan Foyth, Trippier lasted the penalty that followed.
Tottenham besieged the Palace goal in the second half, with Speroni saving Fernando Llorente well to keep the Spurs ahead.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)