Friday 26 May 2017

Late leveller leaves Redknapp's Euro dream hanging by thread

Tottenham 2 West Brom 2

Ben Findon

From the euphoria of the enthralling midweek comeback derby draw with Arsenal to this, another share of the spoils but an outcome greeted with stunned disbelief by the Tottenham hordes. It was two priceless points in the pursuit of Champions League riches next season unaccountably let slip against a West Brom side who seemingly had no way back.





Except they did, through substitute Simon Cox, on the pitch for just four minutes before lashing in a spectacular equaliser nine minutes from the end.

Suddenly, Jermain Defoe's goal midway through the second half, which set a hat-trick of personal and Tottenham landmarks, was no longer headline material. Defoe's sweet strike, which brought up his century of career league goals and goals in all competitions for Tottenham, was also the club's 1,000th Premier League goal. It looked enough to carry Spurs above rival Champions League aspirants Manchester City and into the fourth place.

Now, though, Tottenham find themselves a point behind, with Roberto Mancini's side, who also have a superior goal difference, playing their match in hand at Blackburn tomorrow.

City then host struggling West Ham, though the issue is unlikely to be resolved before City and Tottenham go head-to-head at Eastlands on May 10.

"It's going to be difficult but it's still there, there's still all to play for," Redknapp said. "Tottenham had never been in the Champions League before until this season. Now it's, 'Oh my God, we have to be in the Champions League', but you've got Manchester City who've spent God knows what to get above us, and the others. It's very difficult to get in the top four. We have had a great season here and it's not over yet."

An afternoon of Tottenham domination was book-ended by unpleasant surprises from the visitors as Carlos Vela, launched a crossfield ball for Peter Odemwingie, who shrugged off Benoit Assou-Ekotto before burying a superb finish beyond Heurelho Gomes.

Spurs rallied and the leveller duly came, placed perfectly beyond Scott Carson from the edge of the area by Roman Pavlyuchenko after 27 minutes.

West Brom were increasingly rolled back and there was a degree of inevitability about Defoe's first goal since March 6. Job done?

So it seemed, until substitute Cox claimed his first Premier League goal with a beautifully guided shot from an angle outside the penalty area.

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