Alexander M Gross
Literature | Language | Culture

By: A M Gross | September 22, 2019

Saturday 21 September, 12:30 hrs

Premier League (BT Sport)

Tottenham Hotspur again dropped points from a winning position, on an afternoon marked by a sensational finish from Harry Kane and a contentious VAR decision that shifted the momentum of the match in favour of the hosts. After losing a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, Spurs allowed Leicester City back into the game here, just as it looked as though they might have secured three points with a second goal midway through the second half. Serge Aurier's ostensible goal, a drilled low finish past Kasper Schmeichel from 15 yards, was cruelly disallowed upon referral to VAR because Heung-min Son was judged offside by the barest of margins in the build-up.

The decision to overturn Aurier's strike was greeted like a goal scored by the home supporters, and it was a matter of minutes before they also had a Leicester equaliser to celebrate. When a midfield scrap was settled by the excellent Çağlar Söyüncü and James Maddison, the ball found Harvey Barnes who quickly fed Jamie Vardy on the left side of the penalty area. Vardy flashed a dangerous low ball across the six-yard area which eluded a number of players before it fell for the oncoming full-back Ricardo Pereira to hammer home past Paulo Gazzaniga. It was no more than Leicester deserved, who had fallen behind after a strong start in the first half to an inspired instance of improvised finishing from Kane.

With half an hour played and Spurs under pressure, Aurier and Moussa Sissoko combined well to play out from the back and find Erik Lamela, who roamed in midfield space for much of the first half. Lamela played an accurate pass into the path of Son, who back-heeled for Kane on the edge of the box. Harried by Söyüncü and Jonny Evans, and falling forwards at speed as he hurtled towards Schmeichel, the England captain somehow retained the composure and eye for goal necessary to hit the ball into the ground for it to bounce over and beyond the goalkeeper and into the net. 

Spurs looked sharp and played well at times in this absorbing and fiercely competitive encounter, and appeared to have put the game out of Leicester's reach when they were frustrated by the VAR decision and duly conceded the equalising goal. The game was ultimately settled shortly before full time by a long-range strike from Maddison, who found the bottom corner of Gazzaniga's net from 25 yards. Deputising for Hugo Lloris, who was absent due to the birth of his third child on the eve of the game, Gazzaniga had earlier been spared embarrassment when he spilled a speculative shot from Youri Tielemans but the goal resulting from the ensuing scramble was ruled out for offside. On this occasion his luck ran out, and he was caught off guard by Maddison's swerving effort.

Pochettino's men must pick themselves up for a League Cup third round trip to Colchester United on Tuesday, with the visit of FC Bayern Munich in the Champions League just around the corner. This was for some time a good away performance that looked set to reap the reward of three points, but an inability to close out the game from a winning position must now be a growing concern after the events of recent weeks. 

Gazzaniga; Aurier, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose; Winks, Sissoko (Wanyama 67), Ndombele (Lucas 86), Lamela (Eriksen 79); Son, Kane

Goals: Kane (29), Pereira (69), Maddison (85) 

Category: Premier League 

Tags: Leicester City