Late anguish for Kane as Spurs’ Euro hope hangs in the balance

Tottenham Hotspur v Sporting Clube de Portugal – UEFA Champions League Group D – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal

Tottenham Hotspur’s UEFA Champions League Group D qualification hope hangs in the balance after Harry Kane’s late strike was ruled out leaving the Lilywhites settling for a share of the spoils with Sporting Clube de Portugal in N17.

Up to now, it has been a hit-and-miss European campaign for the North Londoners. Despite topping the group at the start of play, and indeed, at its concussion, dropped points in Lisbon and Frankfurt had transpired as missed opportunities to secure their qualification  

Antonio Conte remained focused: “We have an important chance, and, for this reason, I want to see desire, will, great commitment, a great effort from my players to overcome this difficult game. I’m sure we will have a good performance,” the Italian explained.

“For us, I like to consider every game an important game, a big game, because in every game, you have to start with the mentality of getting three points.

“This is an especially important game because if we win, we avoid going to Marseille to play the final game for qualification. This will be very important for us.”

Tottenham’s Harry Kane takes on Sporting’s Hidemasa Morita (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Going into the tie, Tottenham’s domestic form was a worry for Conte. Three defeats in their last four Premier League outing drew justified criticism. The N17 faithful desperately needed a lift.

But it was a nervy start from the home side. Sebastian Coates planted an early header wide of the target as Sporting enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.

Antonio Adan used his feet to good effect to deny Lucas Moura a clear passage to goal. The Sporting stopper then produced an unorthodox save to thwart Kane’s attempt from an angle.

Goncalo Inacio passed up a glorious opportunity to open the scoring, diverting over after Pedro Porro’s delightful centre had picked him out.

Goncalo Inacio passed up a glorious opportunity to open the scoring, diverting over after Pedro Porro’s delightful centre had picked him out. But Tottenham didn’t heed the warning. Marcus Edwards carried the ball forward before shooting low beyond Hugo Lloris from twenty-five yards.

The mood was somewhat dark as a touch of Déjà Vu gripped the agitated audience. Heung-Min Son tested Adan. after Kane had created an opening.

Sporting goalkeeper, Antonio Adan clears from Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Lucas Moura on a dramatic night in N17 (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Returning with a flea in their ear, Eric Dier and Cristian Romero had shorts blocked, while Matt Doherty fired over as Spurs rallied immediately after the restart. Son was next to try his luck. Adan, again stood firm to rebuff the South Koreans’ attempt.

Romero was perhaps lucky only to receive a yellow card for a robust challenge on Mateus Reis. Meanwhile, Adan saved from Doherty at the foot of an upright and Dier nodded over as Spurs turned the screw.

Lloris clawed out from Sporting substitute, Flávio Nazinho, then the same player somehow missed the target when presented with an open goal. And that proved costly for the visitors. Rodrigo Bentancur met Son’s flag kick with the meat of his forehead. Spurs on level terms.  

During a rousing finale. Dier headed agonisingly wide and Kane fizzed over as Spurs went for broke in the final stages. Meanwhile, Lloris produced a superb save to deny Fatawu a late winner for Sporting.

However, the drama hadn’t finished. In the final minute of stoppage time, Kane swept home after Emerson Royal had nodded back across the goal. But wild celebrations turned sour after a lengthy look at VAR deemed the latter off-side.

Conte was red-carded in the melee that followed. Spurs now need a point from their final Group D in Marseille next week to secure qualification for the knockout stages in the new year.

Tottenham Hotspur returns to Premier League action on Saturday, October 29 when they face AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium (3pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Romero, Dier, Davies (Lenglet 81′), Doherty (Bryan 71′), Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Perisic, Lucas (Emerson Royal 82, Son, Kane Subs not used: Forster (GK), Spence, Tanganga, Sanchez, Sessegnon, White, Sarr, Skipp, Bissouma,

Booked: Cristian Romero (foul)
Goals: Rodrigo Bentancur  80′

Sporting Clube de Portugal: Adán, Gonçalo Inácio, Coates, Matheus Reis, Porro, Ugarte, Morita (Mateus Fernandes 61′), Nuno Santos (Flávio Nazinho 62′), Trincão (Arthur Gomes 71′), Edwards (Fatawu 71′), Paulinho (St. Juste 75′) Subs not used: André Paulo, Rochinha, Dário Essugo, Jovane Cabral,  Israel, Alexandropoulos, José Marsà

Booked: Sebastian Coates (handball), Manuel Ugarte (foul)
Goals: Marcus Edwards 22′

Referee: Danny Makkelie (Ned)
Assistants: Hessel Steegstra and Jan de Vries (both Ned)
Fourth Official: Jochem Kamphuis (Ned)
Video Assistant Referee: Pol van Boekel (Ned)
Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Dennis Higler (Ned)


Brian Jeeves