From Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw by Sporting CP on Wednesday evening, missing the chance to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
A win would send Spurs into the last 16, while a win for Eintracht Frankfurt against Marseille would see them top the group, but qualification now rolls into matchday six with Antonio Conte’s men one point clear at the top.
Tottenham almost found a clear goal early on when Eric Dier’s searching ball over the top reached Lucas Moura, but the Brazilian couldn’t bring it down cleanly and Antonio Adan was able to sweep away.
Sebastian Coates headed just wide from a Sporting corner shortly after, before Matt Doherty had his volley blocked after Adan’s tip-in from Ivan Perisic’s cross.
Adan then almost deflected Harry Kane’s low ball into his own net but the ball deflected off the far post and Sporting escaped.
At the other end, Pedro Porra’s whipped delivery was deflected just over the top by Paulinho to the audible dismay of the home fans.
And Tottenham fans’ worst dreams came true when academy graduate Marcus Edwards opened the scoring for the visitors, curling away from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before finding the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Sporting thought they had a second when Coates converted from a corner, but he handled the ball and was booked instead.
After a dreadful first half, Spurs took a better hold of the game at the start of the second and went close at the end of a quick breakaway, with Adan bursting out to stop Hojbjerg’s cross which reached the prepared and waiting Kane.
Fury from the resulting corner saw him wave away a handball appeal against Porro, while Adan parried a fierce half-volley from Dier.
Son Heung-min was next to force Adan into a save with a shot from a tight angle before former Wolves man Francisco Trincao pounced from close range at the other end.
A deep cross from Perisic fell to Doherty just inside the Sporting box and Adan again saved their skins with a smart save at his near post.
Sporting almost hit Spurs on the counter when Flavio Nazihno burst in behind and produced a low, outstretched header for Lloris before somehow getting to the ball after the Frenchman spilled Mateus Fernandes’ effort.
Tottenham were able to equalize ten minutes from time when Perisic’s corner was met by a surging Rodrigo Bentancur who rose above Adan and volleyed home.
The home side almost took the lead after Son’s free-kick was headed in by Dier and it just whizzed past the onrushing Bentancuro and around the post.
Dier again came inches away from giving Tottenham the lead in the final minute of regulation time, this time nodding home Clement Lenglet’s cross.
Lloris then parried Fatawa Issahaku’s 20-yard strike before Son’s strike was pushed out by Adan and then fired home by Bentancur.
In the last kick of the game, Kane tapped home Emerson Royal’s header back across goal to set Tottenham Hotspur Stadium alight – but after a lengthy VAR review, the England captain was ruled offside and Spurs were denied a famous victory. Conte sent on protests.
1. Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-3)
GK: Hugo Lloris – 5/10 – Spurs seriously lack a goalkeeper capable of playing from the back. Little to do in way of shot-stopping until late on.
CB: Cristian Romero – 5/10 – Played with perhaps too much aggression, but wasn’t the worst offender of Tottenham’s under-performers.
CB: Eric Dier – 4/10 – The crowd quickly got on Dier’s back for losing too many duels and simply hoofing the ball up the pitch.
CB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Made his usual runs up the touchline but to little avail.
RM: Matt Doherty – 5/10 – Made great runs but his technical levels let him down and he wasn’t too solid defensively.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur – 7/10 – Played with too little urgency in the middle of the park at times, but stood tall to notch in the equaliser.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 5/10 – Looked rusty on his return from injury. Improved after the break but not by much.
LM: Ivan Perisic – 6/10 – Marshalled attacks with a calmness but not with dynamism.
RF: Lucas Moura – 3/10 – His chaotic nature harmed Spurs more than it helped them. Seemed on a different wavelength to everyone else.
LF: Son Heung-min – 5/10 – Lacked his finishing and dribbling boots but put in the hard yards.
CF: Harry Kane – 5/10 – Faded out of the game fairly quickly. Was a poor presser, though was cruelly denied a late winner.
Manager: Antonio Conte – 5/10 – Tottenham were far too passive in the first half but wisened up after the break.
SUB: Bryan Gil (71′ for Doherty) – 6/10 – His quick feet and nimble movements caused Sporting problems.
SUB: Clement Lenglet (81′ for Davies) – 5/10
SUB: Emerson Royal (81′ for Lucas) – 4/10
2. Sporting CP (3-4-3)
GK: Antonio Adan (6); CB: Goncalo Inacio (7), CB: Sebastian Coates (8), CB: Matheus Reis (6); RM: Pedro Porro (7), CM: Manuel Ugarte (7), CM: Hidesama Morita (6), LM: Nuno Santos (6); RF: Marcus Edwards (8), LF: Francisco Trincao (6), CF: Paulinho (6)
Substitutes: Mateus Fernandes (5), Flavio Nazinho (6), Arthur Gomes (5), Fatawu Issahaku (5), Jeremiah St Juste (5)
Manager: Ruben Amorim – 7/10