Hugo Lloris sending off proves costly as Spurs held by PSV

Tottenham were in complete control before sending off in Eindhoven

 Luuk de Jong celebrates scoring  PSV Eindhoven’s second goal in the Champions League  match against  Tottenham Hotspur at Philips Stadion. Photograph:  Koen van Weel/EPA

Luuk de Jong celebrates scoring PSV Eindhoven’s second goal in the Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Philips Stadion. Photograph: Koen van Weel/EPA

 

PSV Eindhoven 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2

With 10 minutes or so to go, Tottenham were almost impossibly comfortable. In what was a must-win Champions League tie, they led 2-1 and the only mystery was how they were not out of sight. The PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet, had kept his team in it.

Yet Mauricio Pochettino’s team had shown themselves to be perfectly capable of throwing away victory in their opening Group B game. At Inter Milan, they led 1-0 only to crash 2-1 late on. It was a similar story of bitter frustration here.

All it took to get the panic whirring was a simple direct ball forward from PSV. Hugo Lloris tore off his line and he took out Hirving Lozano to earn a straight red card. The bolt was reminiscent of the one he made against Barcelona in the previous tie which cost his team a goal.

The substitute goalkeeper, Michel Vorm, saved Luuk de Jong’s subsequent free-kick but the mood had turned sharply and Tottenham’s 10 men could not hold out. When Pablo Rosario scuffed a shot at goal, the ball spun towards De Jong and he sent a smart flicked finish past Vorm.

Even then, Spurs had the chance to snatch victory but Harry Kane could not finish when well placed on two occasions. There were errors at one end from Tottenham, with Toby Alderweireld horribly at fault for Lozano’s opener, and a lack of clinical edge at the other.

It was an evening that promised much, not least because for almost all of the 90 minutes, it had felt like one of the more complete performances of the Pochettino era. Inspired by Christian Eriksen, Spurs looked the part. Yet the lapses carried a brutal sting and they now face a fiendishly difficult task to progress to the last 16.

Tottenham had started positively, squeezing PSV and creating chances. But they felt a sucker punch after Alderweireld’s last-man aberration on the half-hour. Pochettino’s fixation with playing out from the back had caused a couple of flutters and Alderweireld did not want to hit a first-time ball when Davison Sánchez rolled it back to him.

Alderweireld took a touch, looking to buy himself time and better options, but he was robbed on his blind-side by Lozano. The Mexico World Cup star raced clear, making sure that he got himself in front of Alderweireld as he cut across the area. The Spurs defender still jumped into a slide tackle and, when Lozano shot, the ball looped up off him and dropped over Lloris. Tottenham had to respond. They would do so.

Pochettino’s team had the ball in the net almost immediately but Sánchez’s finish was ruled out in controversial fashion. Alderweireld headed goalwards from Kieran Trippier’s corner and it flicked off Eric Dier only for Zoet to save. From the rebound, Sánchez lashed home but the referee, Slavko Vincic, felt that Kane was in an offside position in front of the line. He was surely not interfering with play.

Heung-min Son went past Denzel Dumfries as though he was not there, although the angle was tight and Zoet blocked from the winger, but the equaliser had been sign-posted. It came when Eriksen played a lovely pass inside for the advancing Trippier to cut back for Lucas Moura, whose first-time shot deflected off Nick Viergever to beat Zoet. Tottenham deserved the slice of fortune.

Pochettino had put the emphasis on forcing the issue and he started with Eriksen as the No 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Previously, he has sometimes played with a third deeper-sitting midfielder in Europe. Eriksen was booed due to his former Ajax status, as was Alderweireld, but he was excellent, helping to establish Tottenham high up the pitch, together with Mousa Dembélé.

Spurs had a purple patch of chances starting in the 15th minute and each of them fell to Kane. He could not find a finish. From Dembélé’s pass, he made Zoet work low to his left before he found space after a corner, spun and saw his shot deflect over. From the corner, Kane sent a header against the crossbar.

PSV were second best in the first half but Gaston Pereiro showed wonderful feet to elude Alderweireld in stoppage time and get a shot away, which deflected and struck the crossbar. Earlier, the PSV midfielder had fizzed just wide from a free-kick, which Lozano bought off Dembélé. The Spurs midfielder was harshly booked.

It was Eriksen’s first start since his abdominal problem at the end of September and he brought reassurance and control. There were times when he seemed to be playing his own game, getting on the ball, dictating the tempo. What was it about him having a chronic injury? The only thing of that description were the worry lines on the PSV defenders’ brows.

Eriksen went close to giving Tottenham the lead at the start of the second half. Kane’s dummy ushered him into a yard of space and he had to take on the shot first time. He struck it too close to the over-worked Zoet. The roles would be reversed minutes later, Eriksen turning provider for Kane, as Spurs took a grip on the tie.

Eriksen’s technique is a thing of beauty and the whip and precision he summoned on his left-footed cross was the outstanding moment of the evening. Viergever’s position in the middle was not terrible but it was made to look that way. From behind him, Kane headed home.

Tottenham were dominant and they continued to create clear chances. The home crowd howled in frustration. Zoet kept out Kane’s header from a Trippier free-kick with his feet at point-blank range – his best save of the game – and the substitute, Érik Lamela, hit the top of the crossbar. The thought occurred that it would be ridiculous if Spurs were to throw it away. Then, it happened. – Guardian

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