SPURS’ WAIT FOR AWAY WIN STRETCHES TO 287 DAYS

To­sun scores 97th minute lev­eller for Ever­ton as Tot­ten­ham also have to con­tend with Heung-min ban

The National - News - - SPORT - RICHARD JOLLY

Af­ter 287 days, Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s wait goes on. They still have not won away in the Premier League since Jan­uary and, on the af­ter­noon when Dele Alli threat­ened to bring that to an end, Spurs ended up suf­fer­ing. Cenk To­sun’s 97th-minute equaliser cost them an ex­tra two points while the sent-off Son Heung-min will now serve a three-match ban.

Ever­ton, de­spite the ex­tra point To­sun se­cured, may be the greater losers, po­ten­tially de­prived of the ser­vices of An­dre Gomes for much of the rest of the sea­son. The ini­tial fears are that the Por­tuguese faces a long spell on the side­lines.

He sus­tained what looked a hor­rific an­kle in­jury in a rash chal­lenge from Son, who was ini­tially booked, be­fore a yel­low card was up­graded to a red, and who looked dis­traught at the harm he had caused.

He ended up cen­tral to the drama. Son had set up Alli’s goal as Tot­ten­ham added just a third point, fol­low­ing draws at Manchester City and Arse­nal, from the last 36 avail­able on the road. They have won a fa­mous Cham­pi­ons League tie at Ajax in the mean­time, but it is a wretched record and it ex­plains why they re­main in the wrong half of the ta­ble.

Per­haps Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino mer­its some of the credit for their goal. He fielded Alli of­fi­cially on the left, but in re­al­ity in an in­side left role. He swapped Lu­cas Moura and Son af­ter each made lit­tle im­pact in a dis­mal first half and the South Korean was al­to­gether more prom­i­nent as a striker.

But, not for the first time, Ever­ton were ar­chi­tects of their own down­fall. The for­mer Arse­nal mid­fielder Alex Iwobi turned into Tot­ten­ham’s play­maker for an un­for­tu­nate in­stant, pick­ing out Son. He re­leased Alli, who slot­ted a low shot past his Eng­land team-mate Jor­dan Pick­ford for his sec­ond goal of the sea­son. It said some­thing that it was Spurs’ first shot on tar­get; un­til then, Pick­ford had been trou­bled most by a mis­di­rected Serge Aurier cross.

Af­ter Alli struck, Tot­ten­ham sur­vived a lengthy wait while VAR checked if the scorer had han­dled to con­cede a penalty. There were de­ci­sions at ei­ther end that were re­ferred to An­thony Tay­lor, the of­fi­cial on duty at Stock­ley Park, and the clumsy Yerry Mina may have been for­tu­nate he did not con­cede a penalty when he up­ended Son.

Mina at least pro­vided a con­tri­bu­tion at the right end. His deep cross was volleyed back across the box by Lu­cas Digne and To­sun headed in his first goal of the sea­son, jus­ti­fy­ing Silva’s de­ci­sion to bring him on.

An al­to­gether more po­tent striker was ab­sent al­to­gether. Tot­ten­ham were with­out the ill Harry Kane and, for much of the match, they missed him. He had ex­celled as last sea­son’s ex­plo­sive en­counter ended in a 6-2 Spurs win. Per­haps Marco Silva was scarred by that as he re­in­forced his mid­field, though Tot­ten­ham never threat­ened a re­peat.

The pres­ence of Michael Keane, Moise Kean, Sea­mus Cole­man and Gylfi Sig­urds­son on the Ever­ton bench was a sign of how much their plans have been ripped up. Silva nor

Ever­ton will po­ten­tially be de­prived of the ser­vices of An­dre Gomes for much of the rest of the sea­son

mally op­er­ates with a No 10 but he played 4-1-4-1 with a trio of cen­tral mid­field­ers. Tom Davies lent en­ergy but there was pre­cious lit­tle in­spi­ra­tion.

The open­ing half hour con­tained no ef­forts on tar­get, and few off it, with Gomes get­ting far too much height on one headed chance. Richarli­son belatedly drew a save from Paulo Gaz­zaniga and the Brazil­ian then di­rected an effort over the bar. A sec­ond shot Gaz­zaniga fielded com­fort­ably came on the hour, but ce­mented his sta­tus as the man like­li­est to make any­thing hap­pen for the hosts.

Yet both Ever­ton and their crowd were gal­vanised af­ter

Gomes was stretchere­d off, per­haps de­ter­mined to do some­thing for the stricken Por­tuguese. Sup­port­ers turned on the ref­eree Martin Atkin­son but, belatedly, Ever­ton had some ur­gency and in­ten­sity. Do­minic Calvert-Lewin could have lev­elled be­fore To­sun did.

Ever­ton re­main 17th in a game that had been billed as the bat­tle of the un­der­achiev­ers. The gen­er­ally low stan­dard sup­ported that neg­a­tive as­sess­ment, along with an un­event­ful first half. By the end, Son and Gomes could be for­given for wish­ing that noth­ing had hap­pened. It would have been rather less painful for both.

Reuters

Cenk To­sun cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing Ever­ton’s late equaliser against Tot­ten­ham

Getty

Caglar Soyuncu scored for Le­ices­ter City against Crys­tal Palace at Sel­hurst Park

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