Terry’s header deprives Villas-Boas and Tottenham of victory
Fernando Torres sent off in hot-tempered London derby
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is shown the red card by referee Mike Dean during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Tottenham 1 Chelsea 1: John Terry’s second-half header prevented Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas from claiming victory over Chelsea in a hot-tempered grudge match against former mentor Jose Mourinho.
The pre-match fireworks between the two managers had given an extra edge to what was already one of the most hotly-contested derbies in English football, and for the most part the game lived up to its billing.
Tottenham dominated the first half and took the lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson, but Terry – one of the personalities with whom Villas-Boas clashed at Chelsea – gatecrashed the Spurs boss’ party to leave the score at 1-1.
Tempers often frayed during the match. Fernando Torres was sent off for two bookings, the last of which was a questionable one in which he was penalised for throwing an elbow at Jan Vertonghen when replays showed there was no contact.
The Spaniard could have been given a straight red in the first half for scratching the defender’s face.
Villas-Boas and Mourinho had been practically inseparable for seven years, but the Spurs boss made it clear in the run up to the derby that he and his compatriot are no longer friends.
The two shared the weakest of handshakes before the game, and during the contest, it looked as though the master would be beaten by his old apprentice.
Tottenham had the upper hand over Chelsea for the majority of the first half and they could have had three or four by the break.
But Terry’s goal, which came from a Juan Mata free-kick, means he will have to wait until March before he gets another chance to defeat Mourinho again.
Despite the booming noise of the pumped-up crowd, the opening few minutes were a tight affair.
Eriksen started the move, playing a flat ball across the box to Roberto Soldado who nudged the ball in to Sigurdsson’s path.
Sigurdsson, so often Spurs’ unsung hero, still had lots to do. He was off balance after taking an extra stride to beat Terry’s outstretched leg, but he somehow managed to roll the ball into the net to the goalkeeper’s right.
Villas-Boas savoured the moment with a double-fist pump while his opposite number was sullen and motionless.
The home crowd took great pleasure in taunting Mourinho, singing: “You’re not special anymore.”
Mourinho’s team certainly did not look anything special. Tottenham were in complete control and it seemed certain they would double their lead before the break.