English Premiership

Paulinho spares Spurs' blushes

2014-02-01 20:00
Paulinho (AP Photo)

Hull - Tottenham salvaged a 1-1 draw against Hull as Brazilian midfielder Paulinho bagged a second half equaliser at the KC Stadium.

Tim Sherwood's side trailed to an early goal from Shane Long but they avoided an embarrassing defeat when Paulinho netted his fifth goal of the season.

While Sherwood will be relieved to have avoided defeat, this was a missed opportunity for Spurs in the race to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish in the Premier League.

Tottenham, in sixth place, are two points behind fourth placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand against struggling West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Sherwood made two changes after Wednesday's 5-1 thrashing by Manchester City as Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho came into the starting line-up.

Hull, without a point or a goal in their last four games, gave home debuts to 14 million strike duo Long and Nikica Jelavic.

And the hosts, who had struggled badly in attack for much of the season, made a bright start as Tom Huddlestone whipped in a dangerous free-kick that Jelavic volleyed over the crossbar.

Tottenham immediately countered and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor hit a firm drive which Steve Harper turned over the bar before Paulinho tried his luck with a long-range shot which sailed over.

Bruce's investment in his forward-line began to pay dividends in the 12th minute as his two new signings combined to give Hull the lead.

Harper booted a long clearance downfield and Jelavic helped the ball on for former West Brom striker Long, who showed pace and determination to escape the Spurs defence and fire past Hugo Lloris with his left foot.

Tottenham were struggling to find any rhythm and Spanish striker Roberto Soldado appealed in vain for a penalty after he was challenged by Maynor Figueroa.

Soldado wore a frustrated look again when he couldn't keep his long-range shot on target moments later.

Jelavic came close to his first goal for Hull just before half-time when he curled a fine free-kick narrowly wide.

Soldado wasted another chance to equalise when he scuffed wide from 10 yards early in the second half.

But Sherwood's side drew level in the 61st minute when Danny Rose's strike fell at Paulinho's feet and the Brazilian showed great composure to take a touch before firing into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

Hull nearly regained the lead immediately when Long picked out Jelavic at the back post with a clever turn and pass, but the Croatian could only direct his effort against the woodwork from a tight angle.

Bruce's team kept pressing for a winner and were only just denied when Robert Koren released Jelavic, prompting Lloris to race off his line to try and reach the ball first.

He didn't manage to make the block and Jelavic poked it past him towards goal, but Michael Dawson retreated quickly enough to clear.

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