A late header from Rodrigo Bentancur secured a 1-1 draw for Tottenham at home to Sporting CP in the UEFA Champions League, and Antonio Conte was sent off.
It was a tale of two halves tonight at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Sporting were the better side in the opening exchanges without creating anything too dangerous, Tottenham looked content to sit back and wait for the chance to counter attack.
The first big chance of the evening came in the 19th minute, Pedro Porro whipped in a delicious cross for Paulinho who fired over for the away side.
Sporting did not have to wait long for their goal however, just three minutes later former Tottenham winger Marcus Edwards gave his side the breakthrough following a superb solo goal. The Enfield born attacker picked the ball up near the half way line before embarking on a fantastic run, he skipped past the challenge of Hojberg before lashing home into the bottom corner past Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham needed to up their intensity in the second half and that is exactly what they did. They dominated the second 45, creating chance after chance and keeping Sporting under the cosh.
With 10 minutes of normal time remaining, Bentancur rose highest to equalise and from then on Spurs really pushed for the winner that would send them to the knockout stages.
After Sporting missed several chances at the other end to win the game, Spurs thought they had won it after Harry Kane fired past Antonio Adan, the goal however was chalked off following a very lengthy VAR check for offside, denying the North London side a precious winner.
TALKING POINT – THE LATE WINNER THAT WASN’T TO BE
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium erupted when Harry Kane found the back of the net with Tottenham’s last attack of the game but a VAR check lasting several minutes ruled the goal out. Kane was adjudged to have been offside in an extremely tight call. It is an offside decision that will be debated long into the night and it is a decision that denies Spurs passage into the Champions League knockouts, at least until next week. Conte was sent off for his furious protestations at the decision and it is a moment that ensures that VAR will once more be the topic of conversation.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MARCUS EDWARDS (SPORTING CP)
It was a toss up between Edwards and Tottenham’s Bentancur but Edwards gets it on this occassion. The Spurs academy product was electric in the first half and one of the main reasons why Sporting were on top in the first 45. His goal was a sensational effort and it epitomises everything that is good about him as a player, tenacity, skill, speed and a sheer willingness to drive at defenders. He did his bit defensively too as Tottenham started to get on top, winning six duels, making one tackle and winning free-kicks to take the pressure of his team. A superb performance on his homecoming.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris 7, Romero 7, Dier 6, Davies 6, Doherty 7, Hojberg 7, Bentancur 8, Perisic 8, Moura 6, Son 7, Kane 6
Subs: Lenglet 6, Emerson 6, Gil 7
Sporting CP: Adan 6, Reis 7, Coates 7, Inacio 7, Santos 7, Morita 6, Ugarte 6, Porro 7, Edwards 7, Trincao 6, Paulinho 6
Subs: Fatuwa 6, Gomes 7, Fernandes 7, St Juste 6, Nazinho 6
19′ HUGE CHANCE – Pedro Porro whips in a sublime cross in front of the Spurs defenders and Paulinho opens up his body but gets too much on it and it’s fired over.
22′ GOAL – SPORTING CP It’s that man Marcus Edwards! The ex Spurs man picks the ball up near the half-way line skips past a challenege of Hojberg before smacking it home into the bottom corner from distance past Lloris!
77′ TWO BIG MISSES! Sporting SHOULD be 2-0 up, Pedro Porro fires at Lloris and Nazinho puts the rebound wide. That would have been his first senior goal.
80′ GOAL – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR A huge goal in London! Bentancur gets ahead of Adan and heads home the equaliser.
89′ GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY! Eric Dier has glanced a header wide, the whole stadoum thought it was in and so did Dier!
98′ NO GOAL! Harry Kane thought he’d scored a late winning goal but it has been chalked off after a VAR check that took an absolute age.