English Premiership

Eriksen saves Spurs in thriller

2014-04-12 19:29
Christian Eriksen (AFP)

West Bromwich - An injury-time Christian Eriksen strike has rescued a point for Tottenham Hotspur as they clawed back a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 at West Bromwich Albion in a result which did few favours for either side.

A first-half flurry of goals from Matej Vydra, Chris Brunt and Stephane Sessegnon within the opening 31 minutes had put the Baggies in full control at The Hawthorns.

Yet a Jonas Olsson own-goal before half-time gave hope to Tim Sherwood's team, who had earlier seen Emmanuel Adebayor miss a penalty, before Harry Kane and Eriksen, in the fourth of six minutes of added time, completed the comeback.

Although it will prove a welcome point from such a position, the draw did little for sixth-placed Spurs' hopes of European football next season.

It was, though, a more damaging result for West Brom, who now sit just three points above the relegation zone on a day which bottom-three duo Fulham and Cardiff both won.

There was a distinct feeling of deja vu about the contest after Albion had led 2-0 and 3-2 only to concede a last-gasp equaliser against the Bluebirds a fortnight ago.

West Brom entered this game with momentum after winning at fellow strugglers Norwich last weekend and they picked up where they left off, taking the lead within 28 seconds.

Once more Morgan Amalfitano, on the scoresheet for them the previous two weekends, was at the heart of it.

The on-loan Frenchman adeptly demonstrated his sky-high confidence by nutmegging Danny Rose out wide on the right and his delivery could only be palmed back by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into the path of Vydra, who crisply volleyed home from 10 yards.

It was a dream start for the Baggies and there was no letting up on their part.

By the fourth minute they had doubled their advantage and, once more, Amalfitano was the creator.

His cross was only cleared to the back post by the beleaguered Vlad Chiriches, who endured a torrid afternoon, and Brunt ruthlessly converted with a textbook volley inside the right post.

Tottenham's young forward Kane twice spurned opportunities to half the deficit, first firing narrowly wide from the edge of box before diverting a Rose cross inches past the near post.

Yet an even Spurs bigger chance was passed up in the 16th minute when they were rather harshly awarded a penalty after Rose went to ground under what appeared a fair challenge from Amalfitano.

A swaggering Adebayor stepped up, yet his weakly-taken effort towards the right corner was read by England goalkeeper Foster, who saved comfortably.

That gave Mel's team a further surge of belief and Lloris required strong hands to tip a powerful Amalfitano drive over his bar after he had been slipped in from the right far too easily by Youssouf Mulumbu.

By the 31st minute they had a third, however, as Sessegnon outpaced Chiriches from Olsson's long ball forward before firing a low shot beyond Lloris.

- Glimmer of hope -

Spurs were gifted a glimmer of hope three minutes later when the sliding Olsson sliced Lennon's right-wing cross into his own net. It was scarcely deserved, so bad were Sherwood's team.

They finished the half the stronger, though, and Albion had Foster to thank when, after initially parrying Paulinho's shot, he superbly got across his line to thwart Rose from the rebound.

The Baggies goalkeeper performed heroics to save his team again in the 53rd minute when he pushed a vicious Lennon drive which seemed destined for the bottom corner around his right post.

Kane though ensured a nervy finale when he rose highest to head home Lennon's cross and, as Spurs swarmed forward in the closing stages, the pressure eventually told.

Lennon was again the creator as his cross found its way to the back post and, after coming inside with a clever drop of the shoulder, Eriksen drove home an unstoppable shot from inside the area.


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