Sunday 20 October 2019

Pochettino admits it's 'nearly over' as De Jong puts the lights out for Tottenham

PSV Eindhoven 2 Tottenham 2

Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris was sent off for fouling PSV’s Hirving Lozano. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris was sent off for fouling PSV’s Hirving Lozano. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

John Percy

This felt like the night where the lights went out on Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League adventure in the City of Light.

Mauricio Pochettino had demanded a victory to keep Spurs' European campaign alive but their hopes of reaching the knockout stage are flatlining after Luuk de Jong's equaliser three minutes from time, and their manager admitted as much afterwards.

"It is nearly over," Pochettino said. "We only have one point after three games. It will be very difficult."

It was the result neither team wanted on a frustrating night for Pochettino, who also suffered the dismissal of 'keeper Hugo Lloris in a game of high drama.

Spurs appeared comfortable until the 80th minute when Lloris rushed out of his goal to recklessly bring down Hirving Lozano and swing the momentum of the game back towards the Dutch champions.

"I'm not going to blame any player. I blame myself. I am responsible. We didn't win. If you want to blame somebody blame me," said the Spurs boss. "In my opinion it wasn't a red card but we can't blame the referee. Why should Hugo apologise?"

Hirving Lozano put PSV Eindhoven after a slip from Toby Alderweireld. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Hirving Lozano put PSV Eindhoven after a slip from Toby Alderweireld. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

De Jong's equaliser means Spurs will now require an unexpected sequence of results to progress. After their damaging late defeat to Inter, and the Lionel Messi masterclass earlier this month, there was no margin for error here.

But PSV were under the same pressure to win and they had Pochettino scampering around his technical area on the half-hour when they took the lead, after Toby Alderweireld inexplicably pressed the self-destruct button. The Belgian was under no real pressure after taking Davinson Sanchez's simple pass around halfway but he was hassled out of possession by Lozano. Though Alderweireld did recover to block Lozano's shot, the ball took a huge deflection and looped over Lloris.

Equalised

Spurs equalised, deservedly, six minutes before half-time. Christian Eriksen, making his first start since September 22, played in a clever pass to release Kieran Trippier in the area and his low cross was converted by Lucas Moura.

Harry Kane nods in Tottenham's second goal. Photo: OUTKOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/Getty Images
Harry Kane nods in Tottenham's second goal. Photo: OUTKOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/Getty Images

It proved transformative, with Spurs in control for most of the second half. Their second goal arrived in the 55th minute, with Harry Kane nodding in Eriksen's exquisite cross at the far post.

Spurs could have run away with it. But then the nerves kicked in. With the Spurs defence exposed, Lozano was through again and sent flying by Lloris, who got a straight red.

Lloris's replacement, Michel Vorm, was instantly called into action by diving to his left to push away De Jong's free-kick.

But Vorm was unable to prevent the equaliser three minutes from time as De Jong flicked the ball home after Spurs failed to clear. This was another Spurs give-away. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

PSV Eindhoven's Luuk De Jong leaps in the air to control the ball. Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
PSV Eindhoven's Luuk De Jong leaps in the air to control the ball. Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino: 'We only have one point after three games. It will be very difficult.' Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino: 'We only have one point after three games. It will be very difficult.' Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Telegraph.co.uk

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