Spurs snatch it late against nine-man Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool

Joel Matip’s unfortunate own goal deep into stoppage time at the end of the match saw Spurs through to an eventful 2-1 win against nine-man Liverpool, who had Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota both controversially sent off. 

In the white-hot atmosphere of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, both teams came out of the blocks at breakneck speed and despite Spurs countering Liverpool’s press well in the early stages, the visitors were most unfortunate not to take the lead in the thirteenth minute when Cody Gakpo’s effort from just inside the box was superbly kept out by Guglielmo Vicario before the keeper then denied Andy Robertson with another fine save as the Scotsman lashed at the rebound.

Spurs had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down in the seventeenth minute as Dejan Kulusevski’s cross appeared to strike Virgil van Dijk’s arm just inside the area, only for referee Simon Hooper to wave play on.

With twenty-six minutes gone, Curtis Jones was shown a yellow card for his high tackle on Yves Bissouma, however, referee Hooper was asked by VAR to review the decision straight after and after viewing the incident on the monitor, the card was controversially upgraded to red, leaving Liverpool down to ten men for the third time this season – with over an hour of the match left to play. 

The Reds were denied the lead just after the half-hour mark when following a fast counterattack, Mo Salah sent Luis Diaz through to slot the ball past Vicario into the bottom far corner only for VAR to disallow the goal for offside.

Spurs went 1-0 up in the thirty-seventh minute when a sublime through ball from James Maddison found Richarlison to square the ball across the area with the side of his boot for captain Son-Heung-Min to fire a simple finish home past Allison from the centre of the box.

With Liverpool struggling to stem the flow of Spurs attacking play, Richarlison combined well with Destiny Udogie to set up Son for a shooting opportunity before the rebound fell for the Brazilian to slam his effort against the upright.

On the stroke of half time, the ball was worked through to Gakpo to bring the scores level when firing home past Vicario and the watching two Spurs defenders on the line. The Reds were most unfortunate not to take the lead when Luis Diaz was unable to connect with Mo Salah’s inch-perfect pass with the goal at his mercy in the last play of the half.

With Gakpo not returning after the break, having been injured when scoring the goal, Allison was again called into action early on – turning away Maddison’s stunning curling effort from just outside the area, high to his right before just minutes later, denying Son’s spectacular goal-bound effort.

As the game flowed from end to end, both sides continued to press forward and create chances before Son had the ball in the back of the net for the second time in the match – only to see the goal disallowed after he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

Substitute Diego Jota was shown a second yellow card in the seventy-second minute – following two challenges in just ninety seconds on Udogie – leaving Liverpool down to only nine men.

With Tottenham passing the ball around the edge of the area trying to unlock the Liverpool defence, Jurgen Klopp made a raft of changes to try to hang on to claim the point but their resistance was finally broken deep into stoppage time when Pedro Porro’s drive across the area was powerfully deflected past his own keeper by Joel Matip, to cruelly deny Liverpool the draw and gift Spurs the three points that see them up to second place in the table – one point behind Manchester City.

The win, which leaves Spurs unbeaten in their first eight games of the season, was their first victory over Liverpool in eleven games and their first win over the Reds since 2017.

A stunning game of football, that despite calling into question some of the refereeing decisions made during the match, will have Spurs fans now starting to believe that after so many barren years, their team are finally going to be genuine contenders for silverware under Ange Postecoglou & with the AngeBall era very much up and running now, they are certainly starting to look a very serious proposition for success moving forward.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou speaking to BBC Match of the Day following the game said: “Particularly the manner in which it happened, it leaves the real impact and impression on everyone involved. Another challenge for us today. We had to cope with a fair few things and show a different side of our game today. Second half I thought we were really good.”

On having to play against nine men, he added: “It doesn’t make it easy. They’ve been top for a while, have a top mentality and are still dangerous on the counterattack.

“We just tried to overdo things, rush things, do things individually and let them in the game in the first half. In the second half we were consistent with our pressure.”

On if the own goal was unfortunate for Joel Matip, Postcogleu said“We’ve had a couple ourselves this year so that’s part of football. We probably didn’t get into those areas enough, that last cross I thought was a quality delivery into an area no defender likes to deal with.”

On the disallowed Luis Diaz goal: “That’s not my decision, that’s their [the referees’] decision. If they’ve got it wrong, I’m sure there will be an explanation and Liverpool will be disappointed with it but that’s nothing to do with me or us.”

On the momentum behind Spurs with the support at the moment: “It’s important. We’re still a team in its infancy in terms of the way we want to play, the age and experience of the group. The support behind us at home the last two games had been unbelievable, the energy they’ve given the lads. We’re going to need that going forward, we’ll have more

challenges and particularly having the support behind us at home will make a big difference.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, also speaking to Match of the Day following the game stated: “People might think because of the late goal for Tottenham we didn’t get anything out of this game but that is not true. We didn’t get a result, but I learned so much about my boys today, absolutely proud. The mentality was second to none.

“With eight outfield players, it is difficult, we still had moments but not as dangerous as before. So many things happened today that was not going our way and that is really difficult when you get nothing out of it. So close.”

On VAR and other decisions in the game: “Nothing changed for us. I don’t need that, I saw it, I know whoever made the mistake didn’t do on it purpose. It will not help.

“How can Jota in this game go off the pitch with two yellow cards, the first he barely touched him and for sure not his fault.

“That is what is the problem. We have so many things. When did you last hear a game with 11 v 9? And we were close to 11v 8! There were no horrible fouls.

“We were not kicking players or whatever. The boys made a super intense game of it, it is crazy how hard we fought. In the end, we got nothing. The result is gone but the performance will stay with me forever. I loved our attitude and our desire.”

More on VAR decisions: “They didn’t do it on purpose, I know that, but mistakes still happen. If we want to talk about it, do it properly and not with creating headlines with emotional managers.”

Next up for Tottenham is a trip to Kenilworth Road on Saturday, October 7 to face Luton Town next Saturday (12.30pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Vicario, Porro, Van de Ven, Romero, Udogie (Davies 83’) Bissouma (Hojbjerg 90’) Sarr (Skipp 83’) Kulusevksi, Maddison (Veliz 90’) Son (Capt) (Solomon 69’) Richarlison Subs not used: Forster, Emerson Royal, Phillips, Donley

Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez (Konate 73’) Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Mac Allister (Gravenberch 80’) Szobozslai, Jones, Salah (Capt.) (Alexander-Arnold 74’) Gakpo (Jota 45’) Diaz (Endo 73’) Subs not used: Kelleher, Nunez, Elliott, Tsimikas

Referee: Simon Hooper

Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes and Simon Long

Fourth Official: Oliver Michael

VAR: Darren England

Assistant VAR: Dan Cook

Attendance: 62,001