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Spurs bolster Champions League qualifying bid with Forest win

Spurs bolster Champions League qualifying bid with Forest win

Sports

Tottenham's victory puts them level with Villa on 60 points

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LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur boosted their Champions League qualifying hopes with a 3-1 home win over relegation-battling Nottingham Forest on Sunday to move into fourth spot in the Premier League.

Second-half goals from Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro, after Forest's Chris Wood had cancelled out Murillo's own goal in the opening period, helped Spurs capitalise on rivals Aston Villa and Manchester United dropping points this weekend.

Tottenham's victory puts them level with Villa on 60 points but with a game in hand and leaves United trailing with 49 after their 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou, however, told reporters that he "couldn't care less about the race for fourth, what I care about is the way the team is progressing".

Tottenham led after 15 minutes when Brazilian Murillo, who minutes earlier almost scored an audacious goal from inside his own half, turned Timo Werner's cross into his own net.

Brennan Johnson then nearly doubled the home side's lead against his former club but the forward's effort was stopped by the strong hand of goalkeeper Matz Sels.

Spurs were rampant and a second goal seemed like an inevitability until Forest equalised against the run of play in the 27th minute through Wood's fourth goal in four games.

The New Zealand striker should have had a second 10 minutes before the break but smashed his shot against the post from close range.

Forest felt Spurs should have been down to 10 men shortly before halftime after James Maddison appeared to strike Ryan Yates off the ball but VAR declined to intervene.

"It doesn't look like he punched him, he punched him," Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo told reporters.

"I was surprised that VAR didn't tell (referee) Simon (Hooper) to review it because, honestly, with all my respect, Maddison loses his composure and it's a punch in the stomach."

Postecoglou revamped his midfield at the break, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur replacing Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr in a double switch that helped Spurs regain control.

"I thought we lost our way a little bit towards the back end of the first half, but super reaction and I thought the whole second half we dominated," Postecoglou said.

Dutch defender van de Ven hit a thunderbolt from the edge of the area to restore Spurs' lead after 52 minutes before Pedro Porro produced a great finish six minutes later.

The defeat leaves Forest 17th with 25 points from 32 games, above third-bottom Luton Town only on goal difference.