English Premiership

Spurs held at home by Stoke

2015-08-15 18:24
Mame Biram Diouf (Getty Images)

London - Stoke City staged a late comeback to score twice in final 12 minutes to salvage 2-2 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.

Both teams claimed their first point of the Premier League season, but Stoke City were comfortably the happier after fighting back to draw 2-2 at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Eric Dier put Tottenham ahead after 19 minutes and Nacer Chadli added a second on the cusp of half-time before substitutions on both sides turned the game.

Tottenham lost focus after the departure of Harry Kane and Stoke were given new impetus by the introduction of Joselu and, especially, Stephen Ireland.

A foul on Joselu by Toby Alderweireld gave Stoke a way back into the game, Marko Arnautovic converting the penalty, and it was Ireland's cross that Mame Biram Diouf headed home to level the scores.

Spurs had the first shot at White Hart Lane this term, Christian Eriksen drawing a save from Jack Butland at his near post after taking advantage of an error in the Stoke defence.

And Butland went down full-length again two minutes later to push away a free-kick from the same player after Glenn Whelan had impeded Dier 22 yards out.

Stoke's first chance was a gift from returning Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who miskicked an attempted pass out of his penalty area straight to Diouf.

The Senegal forward attempted to return it with interest, but his hard, low shot was blocked by a combination of Ryan Mason and the goalkeeper.

Mason had a fierce goal-bound shot headed away by Marc Muniesa after 18 minutes following a lapse by Arnautovic, who had failed to follow Kyle Walker's run.

But it only delayed the entry of the ball into Stoke's net as Eriksen's corner from the left was glanced in at the near post by the head of Dier.

The visitors needed to reply, but they were getting very little from some of their big names.

Ibrahim Afellay was invisible in midfield, while Arnautovic looked uninterested unless the ball was at his feet.

They were lucky not to fall further behind after 36 minutes when a long pass from Eriksen set Chadli away, but his touch was heavy and he ran the ball harmlessly into the arms of Butland.

Spurs could not afford to think the match was already won, though, as Arnautovic reminded them three minutes before the interval when he exchanged passes with Marco van Ginkel and sent a low, left-foot shot across goal.

Two minutes later, Lloris pulled off an astonishing reflex save to repel Diouf's close-range header from Jonathan Walters' nodded pass.

Having nearly scored a second goal when Butland blocked Mason's shot, Spurs doubled the lead in first-half injury time, Chadli hooking home Ben Davies's cross after Kane had sent the left-back scampering down the left.

Eriksen seemed to have put a third on a plate for Kane six minutes into the second half with a clever pass between two defenders, but Butland got a strong hand to Kane's first-time shot and it rebounded to safety.

That would have been even more important if Lloris had not blocked another header by Diouf or substitute Joselu had not headed over the bar when unmarked from Afellay's corner.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino still felt comfortable enough to withdraw Kane in anticipation of sterner battles ahead, but the wisdom of that decision looked questionable when Stoke halved the deficit.

Arnautovic blasting his penalty past Lloris after Alderweireld was deemed to have pulled back Joselu as he turned into the penalty area.

Now Stoke attacked with conviction and the equaliser arrived seven minutes from time as Diouf applied the faintest of touches to Ireland's cross to guide the ball past Lloris.


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