Hull’s survival hopes were left hanging by a thread as Tottenham boosted their chances of Europa League qualification with a comfortable 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
A ponderous match was sparked into life in the second half as two goals in seven minutes from Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose saw Spurs register their first win in four and climb back above Southampton into sixth.
Hull’s Nikica Jelavic hit the bar in the first half but that was as close as it came for Steve Bruce’s side, who are now two points adrift of safety with one match left to play.
A year ago to the day Hull were looking forward to their first ever FA Cup final with survival already secured, but those heady days at Wembley now seem a distant memory.
The Tigers looked on course for safety following back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool last month but consecutive defeats to Arsenal, Burnley and now Spurs mean they go into the final day with their fate no longer in their own hands.
Hull will have to beat Manchester United, Bruce’s old club, at the KC Stadium but even that might not be enough, with Newcastle and Sunderland two and three points ahead respectively. Sunderland also have a game in hand.
For Tottenham, victory means three points against Everton next week will guarantee them a place in the Europa League.
It is not the Champions League place Mauricio Pochettino will have hoped for in his debut season in charge but Daniel Levy pledged his support to the head coach in a chairman’s message before kick-off and more will be expected next year.
Tottenham enjoyed the majority of possession early on but Hull played with more intent and almost took the lead when Dame N’Doye’s cross found Jelavic free at the back post but his driven shot skimmed the top of the bar.
Harry Kane and Eric Dier both fired balls across the face of Hull’s six-yard box but the visitors were largely untroubled and shortly before the half-hour they went close again when Jelavic’s bicycle kick sailed narrowly over.
Spurs lacked penetration down the flanks but on the one occasion Ryan Mason wriggled free in the penalty area, nobody was there to meet his cross.
Buoyed by their first-half performance, Hull started the second period much the brighter side but against the run of play, it was Tottenham who took the lead in the 54th minute.
Erik Lamela’s well-weighted reverse pass left the Tigers sprawled at the back and Chadli out-muscled James Chester before rounding Steve Harper and sliding into an empty net for his 12th goal of the season.
The goal seemed to settle the agitated home crowd and seven minutes later, Spurs doubled their advantage as Mason’s scooped ball over the top was met first time by Rose, who volleyed emphatically into the top corner.
Hull continued to push forward and Bruce was left with his head in his hands as a goalmouth scramble saw both Tom Huddlestone and N’Doye have shots blocked.
The Tigers will hope their luck changes against United next weekend, when all the variables will have to fall their way if they are to return to White Hart Lane in the league next season.
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