Everton deny Spurs at the death but Gomes injury dominates
Tosun goal saves Everton from another defeat deep into 12 minutes of injury time
Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min is sent off after after his tackle injures Everton’s Andre Gomes. Photograph: PA
Everton 1 Tottenham 1
Tottenham had a first Premier League away win in 10 months torn from their grasp by a stoppage time goal from Cenk Tosun that may have earned Marco Silva a vital reprieve as Everton manager. It all felt horribly irrelevant. The sight of André Gomes being carried off with a horrific leg-break, players from both sides barely able to look at the stricken Portugal midfielder as he received lengthy treatment, made a mere footnote of Mauricio Pochettino’s and Silva’s problems.
Tosun saved Everton from another damaging defeat with a fine header from Lucas Digne’s cross deep into 12 minutes of injury time caused in part by Gomes’ awful misfortune. The stylish midfielder was sent flying into Serge Aurier by a poor tackle from Son Heung-min that brought a straight red card for the Spurs’ striker. Son had created the opening goal for Dele Alli that put Spurs close to a first win on their league travels since January. His contribution, however, will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Tottenham started without Harry Kane due to illness. What unfolded in the absence of the Spurs and England captain will not have aided his recovery. The first half was a desperately stale affair between two teams that languished 14th and 17th in the table at kick off and appeared inhibited by the pressure their under-achievement has generated. Everton started brightly, looking to catch Spurs cold with early balls towards the runs of Theo Walcott, while Pochettino’s team built momentum midway through the first half with a dominant spell of possession. Yet neither side displayed the ingenuity or intensity to turn promise into a genuine threat. A routine save from Richarlison by Paulo Gazzaniga was the only test that either goalkeeper had to make before the interval.
Lucas Moura took Kane’s place but rarely escaped the attentions of Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate in the heart of the Everton defence. Holgate was preferred to the England defender Michael Keane and justified Silva’s decision with a sharp and determined display. Moura’s inclusion as the focal point of the Spurs’ attack forced Son to spend the first 45 minutes isolated wide on the right. The South Korean barely got a touch until Pochettino switched his role with Moura for the second half. Son’s pace immediately caused Everton more problems, although he was fortunate to avoid a booking for a theatrical dive for a penalty minutes after the restart. There was slight contact when Mina tumbled inside his own area in pursuit of Son but not enough for a penalty or the collapse that followed from the striker. VAR thought so, too.
VAR, the spectacle killer, and referee Martin Atkinson ignited more passions inside Goodison than the contest itself in the opening hour. The few chances that were created in that time fell to Everton. Gomes headed over at full stretch after Djibril Sidibe released Theo Walcott to the by-line and the winger floated a cross to the back post. Gomes was also at the heart of the home side’s first flowing move, switching play from right to left for Lucas Digne to find Richarlison inside the area. The Brazilian turned sharply only to shoot straight at Gazzaniga.
Richarlison connected better with a more difficult opportunity early in the second half. Digne’s low delivery was behind the Everton striker as it arrived in the penalty box but he managed to sweep a shot towards the top corner and the Spurs keeper saved impressively. The save assumed greater significance seconds later when the visitors took full advantage of a seismic error by Alex Iwobi.
The former Arsenal winger was under little pressure inside his own half when he played a careless pass straight to Son. Iwobi instantly put his head in his hands and the fear was well-founded as Son released Alli in space down the left. The England midfielder, who had an otherwise quiet game, came to life as he cut inside Holgate before finding the bottom corner of Pickford’s goal.
Everton suspected they were getting a chance to equalise from the penalty spot when VAR spent three minutes checking on a handball claim against the goalscorer. Alli’s arm was clearly above his head as he challenged Mina at an Everton corner but, for the second weekend in succession, VAR went against Silva.
The evening took a darker turn when Gomes was carried off with a broken leg after a reckless tackle by Son. The Everton midfielder’s injury may have been caused by a collision with Aurier, or his boot getting stuck in the turf, after Son’s foul. The distraught reaction of every player in the vicinity, Son included, told of the seriousness of the injury and the Spurs forward departed down the tunnel in tears, the condemnation of Goodison Park ringing in his ears as he went.