Tottenham earned qualification to the 2020-21 Europa League today, but it wasn’t the via the method everyone hoped. Spurs got a first half goal from Harry Kane, conceded in the second half to Jeffrey Schlupp, and held on for a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday, the last match of the season. That result, combined with Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Wolves, ensured Spurs finished sixth place and confirmed their place in European competition next season.
There was only one change made to the starting lineup by Jose Mourinho: Eric Dier returned to start alongside Toby Alderweireld in central defense, with Davinson Sanchez moving to the bench. Jan Vertonghen was also on the bench for what is almost certainly his final match in a Tottenham shirt. Otherwise, it was the same lineup as we’ve seen from Mourinho the past few matches.
4’ — Spurs get the first shot of the match! Sissoko dribbles the ball upfield, completes a simple pass, and the ball eventually ends up at the feet of Gio Lo Celso. It’s a comfortable save in the end, but more of that please.
7’ — Palace may not have a lot to play for but they’re going hard in on Spurs’ players like survival is on the line. James McArthur has already clattered Sonny and Lo Celso and we’re just a few minutes in.
13’ — GOAL! IT’S HARRY KANE! Spur force a turnover, and it’s Lo Celso who passes to Kane with a throughball into the box. Kane puts it in the net at the near corner, and Spurs lead 1-0!
18’ — First yellow of the match goes to Palace; McCarthy gets the booking for taking out Son.
22’ — Pretty good half chance for Spurs on the counter — Winks puts in a long cross to Kane, who was crashing the box at the back post. The ball is just ahead of Kane, but it was a nice idea.
28’ — First shot on target of the match for Palace, and it’s a low one that’s collected by Hugo. Spurs have had the majority of the chances and ball but can’t let up for a second here.
33’ — Whoa! Nearly a second for Spurs. Lucas dribbled some dudes, rounded the keeper on the end line and tried to poke the ball into an open net from an acute angle but he couldn’t quite get it on target.
40’ — The tenor of the match has shifted the past five minutes or so. Palace have more or less penned Spurs in their own half and have had a number of half chances. Luckily, they’re bad so nothing has come off but it’s making me nervous.
46’ — We’re into extra time and nobody looks like scoring right now.
Meanwhile, In the other match of importance, Chelsea scored two injury-time goals against Wolverhampton and lead 2-0 at the break! That’s good news for Tottenham’s Europa qualification.
HALFTIME! Kane’s low near post strike is the difference as Spurs take a narrow 1-0 lead into the break. Meanwhile, Chelsea are leading Wolves at the break, so as things stand, Spurs are sixth and gain automatic qualification for Europa League.
46’ — We’re underway in the second half and Spurs have a good look off of a corner. Alderweireld gets a head to the ball but it goes just over the bar.
48’ — Second yellow of the match for Palace — Mitchell booked for holding Lucas’ shirt after Moura got past him with a turn and dribble.
52’ — Goal to Crystal Palace. Off of a corner kick, Ayew muffs a chance in front of goal but it falls to Jeff Schlupp who buries it past Hugo. Terrible defending from Spurs. It’s 1-1. Spurs still in sixth via goal differential.
60’ — CLOSE from Lucas! He goes just wide of the post off the volley. Close isn’t enough, though.
60’ — Spurs make their first sub, with Steven Bergwijn coming in for Lo Celso.
62’ — Yellow card for Alderweireld after tackling Jordan Ayew in midfield.
64’ — Uhhhhhhhh Palace have a cross that somehow dinks off the post. Spurs scramble it away, but that was scary and Hugo had no idea.
74’ — Kane tried a dribble and move into the box but was successfully blocked out of the move and Palace reset.
75’ — Sissoko pulls up hurting in midfield, and Ayew again goes close and wide on a shot. He’s staying on the pitch but it looked like he tweaked his hammy.
76’ — Here’s the sub. Two actually — Dele and Oliver Skipp are coming on for Sissoko and Son. We might not get a chance to say goodbye to Jan.
86’ — Haris Milivojevic, who was 50/50 to play this match, comes in as a late Palace sub. They’re going for a winner here. This match has devolved into a slog and it’s hard to see where a winning Spurs goal is going to come from.
90+’ — We will have three minutes of extra time. Spurs are still in sixth at this point via goal differential, but a winning goal would be nice.
92’ — OMG Palace goes close off of a free kick, but Dann’s header is wide. Scary.
92’ — Spurs’ final sub, with Davinson Sanchez coming on for Lucas Moura. No Vertonghen and I’m upset.
FULL TIME — Tottenham Hotspur earn the draw, finishing the match 1-1. It’s enough to finish sixth thanks to Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Wolves. But Lordy, that was not fun to watch.
- Apart from Harry Kane’s goal and a stretch of play in the first half, that was pretty awful to watch. I don’t think anyone expected a murky defensive slog of a draw against a Crystal Palace team missing several key players, but that’s what we got. Whee.
- Kane’s goal was pretty neat, as you would expect him to try and dribble around the second defender. Instead he got a good boot on the ball and put it past the keeper at the near post. Good stuff.
- It may be gauche to complain about a guy who went out injured, but Moussa Sissoko was really bad today. Like, just really really bad. Harry Winks wasn’t great either.
- In fact, nobody played especially great, except Kane for a while, Lucas at times, and Lo Celso, who was subbed off early because reasons. Toby had a few nice defensive blocks, too.
- Jan Vertonghen just had his last match for Tottenham Hotspur and he didn’t see the pitch. Instead, Mourinho used his last sub, a defensive one, to put in Davinson Sanchez. I’m really upset. Not even a token gesture of farewell and thank you.
- Tottenham finish in sixth and achieve qualification for the Europa League over Wolves via goal differential. It’s not the way we wanted it, but at least Arsenal can’t bump them by winning the FA Cup anymore. If Arsenal win the FA Cup, Spurs are bumped down to the 2nd round of Europa qualification. If Chelsea wins the Cup, Spurs head straight to the group stage. The Europa League final has no impact. Either way, Spurs are in Europe.
- The relegation battle got super fun there for a while, especially with Watford trying to erase a 3-0 deficit against Arsenal, but it ends up with Norwich, Bournemouth, and Watford going down. Villa survive! Liverpool, City, Chelsea, and United will play in the Champions League next season.
- The Season from Hell is over, everyone. Deep breath. Now we have the Amazon documentary to “look forward to.”