Tottenham Hotspur face an uphill climb to qualify from Group B for the next round of the Champions League. The group has turned into somewhat of a “Group of Death”, and on Wednesday Spurs flubbed a major chance to regain ground.
The Lilywhites drew 2-2 with PSV after a hectic match. A disallowed goal and a late red card combined to thwart what was at times a dominating performance from the visitors.
Mauricio Pochettino opted for one of his strongest possible lineups for this must-win game. Spurs were boosted by the full return of Christian Eriksen, who made his first start after being sidelined by an abdominal injury. Erik Lamela scored the winner on Saturday at West Ham, but he was replaced in the starting lineup by Son Heung-Min. Mousa Dembele also came into the team for Harry Winks.
Things started slowly in Holland. PSV came out pressing in the initial moments, but Mark Van Bommel’s team then pulled back and let Tottenham pass the ball around comfortably. Spurs did that without creating too much for about ten minutes, but then they sprang to life.
Harry Kane spun around to hit a ball that had come off a PSV defender on a corner kick, but his shot was deflected over the bar. Then, on the resulting corner, Kane hit that same crossbar with a header.
Spurs looked promising and had almost struck first, but that was undone when they shot themselves in the foot. Toby Alderweireld dawdled on the ball as he tried to pass back to Hugo Lloris, and his pocket was picked by Hirving Lozano. PSV’s most dangerous attacker eventually finished past Lloris via a deflection as Alderweireld slid in to try and recover.
Heads were down for a few minutes, but Pochettino’s side bounced back and reverted to pressing the game. They thought they had equalized when Davinson Sanchez smashed a rebound into the net from another Kieran Trippier corner. The Spurs players celebrated, but their celebrations were ended abruptly when the referee called the goal off.
Look where the ball has gone into the net...there’s no way Kane was interfering with this play pic.twitter.com/5BWbJCXfiL— Alex Greenberg (@AGreenberg22) October 24, 2018
It was apparently given as interference against an offside player. That player is supposed to be Kane who is in there near the line, but it’s not close to being interference. The ball enters the net just inside the post that is opposite from Kane!
Spurs felt aggrieved, but it’s possible they used that injustice as motivation as they did soon find that tying goal a few minutes before halftime. Lucas Moura took a shot off one of Trippier’s crosses, and that shot took a deflection on its way into the net. The goal was the result of an intricate move that started all the way at the back.
That momentum carried over into the second half.
Eriksen was looking particularly bright and refreshed, so it was no surprise when he created Tottenham’s second goal. His left-footed cross was inch-perfect. It barely eluded the head of a PSV defender and was easily headed by Kane past Jeroen Zoet.
Spurs pushed to add on to their lead. Zoet did well on a free-kick to knee-save a header from Kane, and then he was saved by the crossbar once again when substitute Erik Lamela nearly scored with his right foot.
Tottenham’s third goal seemed inevitable, but then the match took a turn in another direction. Eriksen made an uncharacteristic mistake by giving the ball right to Lozano, and Lloris was sent off for the tackle he had to make to stop the Mexican prodigy’s break.
Michel Vorm replaced Son to go in goal, and then was immediately forced to save a dangerous effort by Luuk de Jong.
Spurs tried to hold on with 10-men, but they were thwarted by a familiar nemesis; set pieces. PSV made the most of a late free-kick by flicking a re-entry ball past Vorm.
Stoppage time came and went with both teams desperate for the winning goal. The sharing of the points suits no one except for Inter Milan and Barcelona, who both look poised to advance from Group B.