Liverpool’s Title Hopes Fade After Spurs Stalemate

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 7, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 7, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes suffered a huge blow even though they went top of the table as Tottenham clung on for a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds edged ahead of Manchester City on goal difference, but the English champions can now afford to draw one of their remaining four games and still retain their title.

Pep Guardiola’s men can retake top spot and open up a three-point lead when they host Newcastle on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Brighton Hammer Man Utd 4-0

A share of the spoils took Tottenham to within a point of fourth-placed Arsenal, but their chance of a top-four finish now also rely on the Gunners dropping points in two of their final four games.

Son Heung-min rounded off a brilliant team move to put Spurs in front on 56 minutes.

Luis Diaz’s deflected shot levelled 16 minutes from time, but Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to find a winner.

Twenty-one points separate the sides, but Spurs have made a habit of saving their best for the big occasion.

Antonio Conte’s men are unbeaten in all four meetings with City and Liverpool this season.

Liverpool did not start like a side fatigued by reaching the Champions League final in their 57th game of the season against Villarreal in midweek, as the intense press from the home side penned Tottenham in.

However, the visitors were first to seriously threaten when Alisson Becker had to be sharp off his line to prevent Harry Kane’s cross reaching Son and Rodrigo Bentancur fired the follow-up far too close to the Brazilian stopper.

Liverpool’s best efforts before the break came from set-pieces as Virgil van Dijk hit the crossbar, while Diaz also tested Hugo Lloris after being teed up by Sadio Mane.

Spurs also hit the woodwork in the first-half when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took aim from long range.

The second-half followed the same pattern, with Liverpool camped in the Tottenham half, but this time Spurs did pick them off on the counter-attack.

Kane was given time to assess his options and picked out Ryan Sessegnon who slid the ball across the box for Son to tap in his 20th Premier League goal of the season to move within two of Mohamed Salah.

It was the first time Liverpool have trailed at Anfield in a league match since February and Spurs could have doubled their lead had Son controlled another Sessegnon cross moments later.

Salah did his best to extend his advantage in the race for the Golden Boot and rescue the Reds’ title challenge only to be denied by a brilliant block from Ben Davies.

Diaz swung the match and the tie in midweek as Klopp’s men came from 2-0 down on the night to win 3-2 against Villarreal and reach a third Champions League final in five seasons.

The Colombian has been a sensational signing since arriving in January and made another contribution with a slice of fortune.

Diaz’s shot from outside the box took a huge deflection off Bentancur to wrong-foot Lloris.

But Liverpool will have to settle for a shot at cup glory unless City stumble as Tottenham held firm in the closing stages.

Klopp’s men, who have already lifted the League Cup, face Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend and then Real Madrid for the European Cup in Paris on May 28.

 

AFP

COVID-Hit Arsenal Ask For Postponement Of Tottenham Game

File photo: Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s opening goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 22, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Arsenal said on Friday they had asked the Premier League to postpone their north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur this weekend due to a combination of coronavirus cases, injuries, and players at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Martin Odegaard missed Thursday’s goalless League Cup semi-final first-leg draw at Liverpool due to Covid-19, with Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu ruled out through injury.

Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka suffered injuries at Anfield in a match where Granit Xhaka was sent off.

Arsenal were already without Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to their AFCON commitments.

“We can confirm we have made an application to the Premier League for the postponement of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur,” said an Arsenal statement.

“We have reluctantly taken this step but we have many players currently unavailable across our squad as a result of Covid, injuries, and players away with their countries at AFCON.”

READ ALSO: Toothless Liverpool Held By 10-Man Arsenal In League Cup Semi

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, speaking earlier on Friday, was uncertain about whether the match would go ahead.

“I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that with total honesty without assessing our players,” he said when asked if he would like the game to be called off.

“What is today very unlikely, tomorrow is likely to happen. It’s gone the other way for us when we were ready to play a match and it was cancelled twice because the other team had issues so it can go both ways. But our intention is always to play.”

Fifth-placed Arsenal are two points ahead of Tottenham, but Spurs have two games in hand.

Burnley’s match against Leicester on Saturday had already been postponed, with the Clarets lacking sufficient players due to Covid cases and injuries.

AFP

Tottenham’s Clash With Rennes Postponed After COVID Outbreak

The defeat to Spurs is Arsenal’s second in a row in the league. Photo: [email protected]

 

Tottenham Hotspur announced the postponement of Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash with Rennes following a severe coronavirus outbreak at the Premier League club, but their French opponents called into question the decision.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte revealed on Wednesday that eight of his players and five members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

It had appeared UEFA would insist on the Rennes match going ahead in north London if Tottenham had the minimum number of 13 players available, but the rapid spread of the virus forced a change of plan.

“We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home fixture against Stade Rennais will not take place tomorrow (Thursday 9 December at 8pm UK) after a number of positive Covid-19 cases at the club,” a Tottenham statement said.

“Additionally…the club has been advised to close the first-team area of its training centre at this time, in the interests of the health and safety of players and staff.

“All other areas of the training centre remain operational.”

READ ALSOMbappe And Messi Double Up In PSG Victory

The postponement left Rennes furious, with the French side saying they had been told by Tottenham the game would go ahead before boarding a flight to London.

“Tottenham did not want to announce the number of players with Covid when the rules stipulate a game must be played as long as a team has 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper,” they complained in a statement.

“With the match not being officially postponed by UEFA, Stade Rennais have maintained the decision to play.”

It has been reported that Tottenham are now considering asking for their Premier League match at Brighton on Sunday to be postponed.

After the Brighton game, Tottenham face top-flight fixtures against Leicester on December 16 and Liverpool on December 19.

Last season, Tottenham saw matches against Aston Villa and Fulham postponed due to Covid outbreaks within the opposition.

‘We are a Bit Scared’ 

“I think that I haven’t got to send a message to anyone because the situation is very clear,” Conte said of the potential for more of his team’s games to be postponed.

Conte admitted the sudden outbreak had left his squad scared.

“To speak about football today is impossible. The last situation made me very upset,” he said.

“The situation is serious. There is a big infection. Again at the end of the session, one player (tested) positive, another staff (member) positive. Tomorrow, who (will it be)?

“Now, for sure, we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don’t know what happens.”

Conte was not able to confirm whether it was the new Omicron variant causing the outbreak, but revealed he had been vaccinated.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a wave of measures aimed at slowing the spread of the Omicron variant.

“I think everyone takes (their own) best decision and it is a question for the medical department about people that whether they are vaccinated or not,” he said when asked about the vaccination status of his players.

Conte was supposed to be joined by Spurs’ Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at the pre-match press conference, but instead faced the media on his own.

“Every day we are having contact with the people that are false negative and become positive and then everyone is a bit scared, I think, because we all have family and why I have to take this risk?” Conte said.

“I think that it is not right for everyone because we have family and we have contact with them when we come back home.

The postponement gives UEFA a headache over the rescheduling of the game.

Rennes have won Group G, while Tottenham are level on points with third-placed Vitesse Arnhem.

 

Spurs In Advanced Talks With Ex-Chelsea Boss Conte

Ex-Inter Milan’s Italian coach Antonio Conte shouts instructions during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Udinese on May 23, 2021 at the San Siro Stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Tottenham are reportedly in advanced talks with Antonio Conte over the manager’s job after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday following a dismal run of results in the Premier League.

Former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss Conte is understood to be the top target for the London club, who dismissed Nuno on Monday after just four months in charge.

Spurs had approached Conte about succeeding the axed Jose Mourinho earlier this year but were unable to convince the Italian to take the job.

If the 52-year-old accepts Tottenham’s offer, he would return to the Premier League three years after leaving their London rivals Chelsea, where he won the Premier League and the FA Cup.

Conte, who has also managed Juventus and Italy, guided Inter to the Serie A title last season but surprisingly left shortly afterwards.

Nuno’s sacking came two days after Tottenham’s woeful 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United, who have themselves struggled in recent weeks.

It was Spurs’ fifth defeat in their past seven league games and the toxic reaction to the Portuguese coach at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium proved the final straw for chairman Daniel Levy.

A club statement on Monday said Nuno and his coaching staff had been “relieved of their duties”.

“I know how much Nuno and his coaching staff wanted to succeed and I regret that we have had to take this decision,” Tottenham director of football Fabio Paratici said.

“Nuno is a true gentleman and will always be welcome here. We should like to thank him and his coaching staff and wish them well for the future.”

Spurs said a further update would follow in due course.

Tottenham, who have not won silverware since 2008, reached the Champions League final as recently as 2019 under former boss Mauricio Pochettino, who is now in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.

But the club, who regularly finished in the top four under Pochettino, have lost their way since then and have missed out on the Champions League for two consecutive seasons.

Nuno Record 

Nuno, 47, was announced as the new Spurs boss on June 30, replacing Mourinho, who was sacked in April.

Tottenham topped the Premier League table after three 1-0 wins at the start of the season, including a victory over defending champions Manchester City, but results rapidly deteriorated.

They have lost five of their past seven league matches and are eighth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

Nuno lost seven of his 17 games in charge and former Tottenham star Gary Lineker tweeted: “Nuno has been fired. @SpursOfficial are something of a shambles at present.”

A statement from Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said the organisation took no pleasure in Nuno’s departure.

“Nuno Espirito Santo conducted himself with integrity, good grace and civility throughout his short time at Spurs,” it said. “And although clearly not the right fit for Tottenham, we wish him and his coaching staff… well for the future.”

If appointed, Conte would be tasked with ensuring Tottenham play more adventurous football at their gleaming new stadium than the dour fare served up by the tactically conservative Nuno.

He would also have to get the best out of England captain Harry Kane, who has looked a shadow of his former self since his attempt to engineer a move to Manchester City was rebuffed by Levy.

AFP

Solskjaer Fights For Man Utd Job As Top Three Flex Muscles

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 24, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Manchester United travel to Tottenham on Saturday desperate to stay in touch with the Premier League’s top four as Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City threaten to break away from the pack.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is clinging to his job after United’s humiliating 5-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last week. His side have taken just one point from the past 12 on offer.

Leaders Chelsea, Liverpool and defending champions City all have winnable matches this weekend while Leicester and Arsenal go head to head in an intriguing battle between two sides who have found their form.

READ ALSO: West Ham End Man City’s Four-Year Hold On League Cup

AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the action.

Solskjaer on the brink

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 24, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Solskjaer called his team’s humbling by Jurgen Klopp’s men at Old Trafford his “darkest day” as Red Devils boss.

The Norwegian has reportedly been given three games to save his job but the fixtures are daunting — trips to Tottenham and Atalanta before a derby against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

The Liverpool drubbing came a year after 10-man United collapsed to a 6-1 home defeat against Spurs.

“This is miles worse,” Solskjaer said. “We have big games coming up, so no time to sulk, no time to feel sorry for yourself. We have to come together.”

United have flattered to deceive since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December 2018, failing to win silverware or mount a realistic title challenge.

Despite recently recruiting Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, they find themselves eight points off leaders Chelsea and realistically out of the title picture.

They have kept just one clean sheet in all competitions this season and will be without the suspended Paul Pogba in London.

Top three to cut loose?

File photo: Referee Michael Oliver (C) placates players during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London on September 25, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

It would take a brave punter to bet against either Chelsea, Liverpool, or defending champions Manchester City winning the Premier League table.

Just two points separate the clubs, with fourth-placed West Ham three points behind third-placed City.

The title favourites have made their moves early this season in contrast to the 2020/21 campaign, when Everton, Arsenal, Leicester, Southampton and Tottenham all took turns at the top before City surged to their third title in four years.

Fresh from their stunning Old Trafford rout, Liverpool host a Brighton side struggling to convert their positive play into goals and victories.

The Seagulls are fifth in the table but have only scored nine times in nine matches and are winless in their past five games in all competitions.

Chelsea, who smashed Norwich 7-0 last weekend, will fancy their chances against struggling Newcastle, who are being managed by interim boss Graeme Jones after this month’s Saudi-led takeover and the sacking of manager Steve Bruce.

City take on struggling Crystal Palace, who have won just one and drawn six of their nine league games under new boss Patrick Vieira.

Arsenal, Leicester look upwards


Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (L) and Arsenal’s English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (2nd L) celebrate their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Arsenal won the game 3-1.  Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

The Gunners have not competed in the Champions League since 2017 and Leicester have replaced them as top-six regulars.

The Foxes followed their Community Shield triumph against Manchester City with just two wins from their opening seven Premier League fixtures but are buoyant after back-to-back victories against Manchester United and Brentford.

Brendan Rodgers’s side have narrowly missed out on Champions League football for two seasons running despite spending more time in the top four than any other team during that time.

“It might be different this season compared to the last two when we started on fire and dropped off,” said Rodgers. “This can be the season where we build and finish the second part really strong.”

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)

Saturday 

Leicester v Arsenal (1130), Burnley v Brentford, Liverpool v Brighton, Manchester City v Crystal Palace, Newcastle v Chelsea, Watford v Southampton, Tottenham v Manchester United (1630)

Sunday 

Norwich v Leeds, Aston Villa v West Ham (1630)

Monday

Wolves v Everton (2000)

Arteta Eyes More ‘Special’ Days After Arsenal Outclassed Tottenham

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021.  Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta called on Arsenal to consistently match the “special” levels they showed in blowing Tottenham away in the first-half of a 3-1 win on Sunday to move above their north London rivals in the Premier League table.

Just three weeks ago Spurs sat top and Arsenal bottom after their worst start to a league season for 67 years.

However, the Gunners have been rejuvenated by six summer signings and the return to fitness of a number of key players.

Arsenal struck three times in the opening 35 minutes as Emile Smith Rowe opened the floodgates before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded off a brilliant team move and Bukayo Saka rolled home the third.

Son Heung-min pulled a goal back for the visitors 11 minutes from time, but it was too little, too late for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.

“It’s a special day. Today is one example of what we want to do, but we have to be consistent,” said Arteta.

“This win is for the fans. They were there when we needed their support.”

Arsenal climb to 10th ahead of Spurs on goal difference with both sides on nine points from six games.

However, they are going in opposite directions with Tottenham losing their last three league games by a combined score of 9-1.

“We lost complete control in the first half. We got smashed,” said Spurs captain Hugo Lloris.

“When you concede three goals in each of the last three league games you cannot hide the problems.”

The last time the north London derby took place in front of a full crowd, Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino were still in charge of the sides.

Both clubs have had little reason to celebrate in the two years since.

But there are encouraging signs for Arsenal that the decision to invest heavily in youth during the transfer window is beginning to pay off.

The Gunners spent more than any other Premier League club over the summer, investing £150 million in players aged between 21 and 23, despite failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years.

READ ALSO: Football Must Do More To Combat Racism Than The Take Knee – Lukaku

‘Best Day Of My Life’ 


Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (R) scores their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Four of the new faces started with all 11 of the starting line-up either signed in the two years since Arteta was appointed or handed a contract extension in that time.

Saka and Smith Rowe are two of those to have committed their long-term future to the club where they came through the ranks and were the stars of a first 45 minutes that sent the Emirates into raptures.

“It’s probably the best day of my life,” said Smith Rowe.

The England under-21 international was allowed a huge amount of space to amble into the box and slot home Saka’s cross.

The hosts rampaged through Spurs with ease for a brilliant second goal in a move reminiscent of Arsenal’s glory days under Arsene Wenger.

Aaron Ramsdale, Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney were all involved before Aubameyang flicked a pass through for Smith Rowe to charge in on the Spurs goal and he had the presence to turn back and pick out his captain for a cool finish.

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (C) celebrates their win in the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s day was summed up in his part for the third goal as he found himself back in his own box trying to make a tackle only for the ball to break kindly for Saka to sweep the ball past Lloris.

Kane’s frustrating day continued into the second-half as he prodded wide with just Ramsdale to beat before seeing strong appeals for a penalty waived away for a challenge by Ben White.

The England captain is still to score in the Premier League this season after Tottenham refused to relent to Manchester City’s interest.

 


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane reacts after missing a chance during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 26, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Spurs have only scored four goals in total in their opening six games, but Son has three of them as his shot from Sergio Reguilon’s cross had too much power for Ramsdale.

AFP

Arteta Says Premier League Is ‘Different Planet Now’ As Arsenal, Spurs Struggle

File photo:  Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on May 2, 2021. LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta said the Premier League was a “different planet” now in terms of quality as he tried to explain the decline in fortunes for Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.

Meetings between the two rivals have historically had implications for the title race or European qualification but Spurs are currently seventh and Arsenal 13th.

Spurs are playing Europe’s third-tier Europa Conference League just two years after reaching the Champions League final while Arsenal last season failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years.

With the traditional “top six” of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool challenged by clubs such as Leicester and West Ham, Arteta said England’s top flight is “a different planet now”.

“The Premier League has never been as strong as this,” the Spaniard said on Friday.

“It’s the strongest league in the world in history because of the quality of the teams, the quality and involvement of the organisation, the quality of the coaches and players — it’s never been that strong.”

READ ALSO: Man Utd Crash Out Of League Cup, Spurs, Chelsea And Arsenal Advance

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Jon Super / POOL / AFP
File photo of Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta. Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

Arteta, who made 284 Premier League appearances for Everton and Arsenal between 2005 and 2016, believes the higher standards would have been a challenge even for a player of his calibre.

“I wouldn’t be able to play at this level,” he said.

Arsenal are on a three-match winning streak in all competitions after losing their opening three Premier League games — the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 67 years.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s visitors are looking for their first league win at the Emirates Stadium since 2010 and have lost their past two Premier League matches after a strong start.

Arteta has a full squad to call upon after midfielder Granit Xhaka served a three-match suspension for a red card he received in last month’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.

AFP

Spurs VS Fulham Premier League Match Postponed Over COVID-19 Cases

Fulham’s English midfielder Harrison Reed lays on the pitch behind the wall formed by his teammates to stop a free kick during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Southampton at Craven Cottage in London on December 26, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)

 

Tottenham’s Premier League home match against Fulham was postponed three hours before the scheduled kick-off on Wednesday after a coronavirus outbreak at the visiting club.

Fulham returned a number of positive test results on Tuesday and, after more came in on Wednesday, the Premier League decided to call the match off. Kick-off was due to be at 1800 GMT.

It is the third top-flight game to be wiped out by the virus, following Newcastle’s match with Aston Villa earlier this month and Monday’s game between Everton and Manchester City.

Fulham asked for the game to be called off after more of their players felt unwell, which the Premier League board sanctioned on Wednesday.

The entire Cottagers squad will now be re-tested.

The league said in a statement: “Fulham FC’s match at Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played at 6:00 pm this evening, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting this afternoon.

“Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today.

Despite the rising number of cases across the English top-flight, the Premier League said it intended to continue playing.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its Covid-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled,” the statement said.

“The League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in due course.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho had suggested he was getting impatient at the uncertainty over the fixture.

Mourinho posted a video — filmed at 1402 GMT, as indicated on a clock on a TV screen — from the lounge where his staff were waiting for news with a message saying, “We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world”.

Son, Kane Shine Again To Send Tottenham Through In Europa League


Erik Lamela (L) of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with teammates after scoring goal during the UEFA Europa League qualifying round football match between Shkendija and Tottenham Hotspur at Philip II Arena in Skopje on September 24, 2020.
Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP

 

Harry Kane came off the bench to score as Tottenham struck twice in the final 20 minutes to reach the final round of Europa League qualifying with a 3-1 win over Shkendija in Macedonia.

Jose Mourinho left Kane out among six changes from the side that swept aside Southampton 5-2 on Sunday with Son Heung-min scoring four times from Kane assists.

Spurs could not have asked for a better start when Erik Lamela opened the scoring after just five minutes with a calm finish.

But the visitors failed to convert a host of other chances to kill the tie off and Valjmir Nafiu blasted home an equaliser past Joe Hart on his Tottenham debut.

Kane was then introduced alongside Giovani Lo Celso, but was guilty of also missing a glorious chance when he headed wide from point-blank range.

However, Son made no mistake on the rebound after Lucas Moura’s shot was saved and the roles from the weekend were reversed 11 minutes from time when the England captain powered home a header from Son’s cross.

Tottenham will face Maccabi Haifa at home next Thursday.

Celtic had to wait until the final minute to break Riga’s resistence in Latvia as Mohamed Elyounoussi scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.

Neil Lennon’s men dominated possession and chances but looked set to go into extra-time until Southampton loanee Elyounoussi came off the bench to turn home the impressive Jeremie Frimpong’s cross.

“We missed a couple of really good chances to make life a little bit easier for us,” said Lennon.

“We had to wait a long time for the goal. Sometimes that happens in football. I thought we were excellent and our mentality was good.”

Celtic will travel to Sarajevo in the playoff round.

AFP

Liverpool Kids Bury Everton As Lucas Rescues Spurs

 

Liverpool inflicted fresh misery on Merseyside rivals Everton as a superb strike from teenager Curtis Jones sealed a 1-0 win in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Jones’ second-half curler sent Anfield in ecstasy as the club’s youth academy graduates handed Everton an embarrassing derby defeat.

The 18-year-old Liverpool-born midfielder was making only his fifth appearance and his memorable match-winner was his first senior goal.

Jones is the youngest goalscorer for Liverpool in a Merseyside derby since Robbie Fowler.

Without a win over their rivals in any competition since 2010 and thrashed 5-2 at Anfield in the Premier League earlier this season, Everton will feel the pain from this defeat against their under-strength neighbours for some while.

Hit by injuries that left him with 12 fit senior outfield players, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had made nine changes, selecting Nat Phillips, 22, and teenage trio Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott, and Jones.

In contrast, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti made just two changes, fielding a strong team as the visitors chased a first win at Anfield since 1999.

Liverpool’s injury problems mounted within 10 minutes when James Milner limped off to be replaced by another teenager Yasser Larouci.

Ancelotti’s side threatened early on when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike was pushed away from Adrian, who then repelled Mason Holgate’s header and Richarlison’s shot.

Liverpool’s youngsters had been thrashed by Aston Villa while the senior stars were away at the Club World Cup in December.

But they acquitted themselves much better this time and Japan striker Takumi Minamino, making his debut after joining from Salzburg, glanced a header narrowly off-target before Divock Origi’s low drive was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford.

Jones’ moment of magic came in the 71st minute when he played a chipped pass to Origi, took the return ball and curled a stunning effort into the top corner.

Spurs held

Elsewhere on Sunday, Lucas Moura kept Tottenham’s FA Cup hopes alive with the equaliser in their 1-1 draw at second-tier Middlesbrough, while Callum Hudson-Odoi got back in the groove as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham haven’t lifted a major trophy since 2008 when current Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate scored the League Cup winner against Chelsea.

Woodgate was on course to dent Tottenham’s bid to end that wretched run when Ashley Fletcher put Middlesbrough ahead in the second half at the Riverside Stadium.

But Brazilian winger Lucas headed the equaliser to send the tie to a replay in north London later in January.

“When we were losing 1-0, at that moment I had the feeling of ‘we are in trouble’,” Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said.

“We could be out like a few other Premier League teams. But then everyone reacted. I reacted. The boys reacted.”

At Stamford Bridge, there were signs that Hudson-Odoi might be emerging from his sophomore slump.

He opened the scoring against the second-tier side in the sixth minute, just his second goal of the season and his first since September.

Blues boss Frank Lampard had made nine changes, but Chelsea doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Hudson-Odoi’s shot was parried straight to Ross Barkley and the midfielder poked home at the back post.

“I was particularly pleased for Callum, he has had a bad injury, is getting himself fit and getting sharper. His goal was an early settler for us,” Lampard said.

Crystal Palace became the third Premier League club to be knocked out this weekend as second tier Derby won 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

Jayden Bogle fizzed a cross to the far post and Chris Martin tapped into the net in the 32nd minute.

In a VAR first in England, referee Michael Oliver used the pitch-side monitor to change a decision, sending off Luka Milivojevic after initially booking the Palace midfielder for kicking out at Tom Huddlestone in the 63rd minute.

Sheffield United avoided a non-league upset with a 2-1 win against AFC Fylde at Bramall Lane.

Lucas Rescues Spurs, Chelsea In FA Cup Stroll

 

 

Lucas Moura kept Tottenham’s FA Cup hopes alive with the equaliser in their 1-1 draw at second tier Middlesbrough, while Callum Hudson-Odoi got back in the groove as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the third round on Sunday.

Tottenham haven’t lifted a major trophy since 2008 when current Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate scored the League Cup winner against Chelsea.

Woodgate was on course to dent Tottenham’s bid to end that wretched run when Ashley Fletcher put Middlesbrough ahead in the second half at the Riverside Stadium.

But Brazilian winger Lucas headed the equaliser to send the tie to a replay in north London later in January.

Keen to win silverware in his first season, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho had made just three changes, with Son Heung-min returning from a three-match suspension and replacing the injured Harry Kane.

Son twice came close to putting Tottenham ahead in the first half and the visitors should have gone in front when Ryan Sessegnon fluffed his chance from Serge Aurier’s cross.

Tottenham were never completely convincing and, with only one clean-sheet since Mourinho took over, there was a familiar feeling when Middlesbrough snatched the lead in the 50th minute.

Fletcher beat Tottenham’s attempt to play offside, ran through on goal and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga, with no VAR in use to question the goal.

Tottenham hit back in the 61st minute, Aurier’s cross picking out Lucas for a thumping header.

“When we were losing 1-0 without strikers or the power to play inside their defensive line, at that moment I had the feeling of ‘we are in trouble’,” Mourinho said.

“We could be out like a few other Premier League teams. But then everyone reacted. I reacted. The boys reacted.”

At Stamford Bridge, there were signs that Hudson-Odoi might be emerging from his sophomore slump.

Hudson-Odoi has endured a difficult season as injuries and poor form have ruined the positive impact he had last season.

But the 19-year-old had made his name with a breakthrough display against Forest in the FA Cup last year.

So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that Hudson-Odoi was more like his old self as he opened the scoring against the second tier side in the sixth minute.

Taking possession on the right, the England winger cut inside and fired into the bottom right corner for just his second goal of the season and his first since September.

Palace stunned

Blues boss Frank Lampard had made nine changes, but Chelsea — wearing a retro home kit in tribute to their first FA Cup final win against Leeds in 1970 — doubled their lead in the 33rd minute.

Hudson-Odoi’s shot was parried straight to Ross Barkley and the midfielder poked home at the back post.

“I was particularly pleased for Callum, he has had a bad injury, is getting himself fit and getting sharper. His goal was an early settler for us,” Lampard said.

Crystal Palace became the third Premier League club to be knocked out this weekend as second tier Derby won 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson made five changes — a relatively small number compared to most other Premier League clubs this weekend — but the Eagles still went the same way as Aston Villa and Brighton, who bowed out against Championship opposition on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney was in the Derby attack and his side took the lead in the 32nd minute when Jayden Bogle fizzed a cross to the far post and Chris Martin tapped into the net.

In a VAR first in England, referee Michael Oliver used the pitch-side monitor to change a decision, sending off Luka Milivojevic after initially booking the Palace midfielder for kicking out at Tom Huddlestone in the 63rd minute.

Sheffield United avoided a non-league upset with a 2-1 win against AFC Fylde at Bramall Lane.

Spurs Boss Mourinho Expecting ‘Bad News’ On Kane Injury

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said on Friday he was expecting “bad news” on Harry Kane’s hamstring injury after the England captain limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

The Tottenham boss said the full extent of the problem would soon become apparent.

Kane pulled up as he slotted home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time on Wednesday but was flagged offside.

“I don’t know yet, I think maybe later today we have news,” Mourinho said. “But if you ask me just my feeling, good news or bad news, I am more bad news than good news, what the player felt, Harry Kane leaving a match the way he did.

“He didn’t think twice, didn’t take him two seconds to realise the severity of the situation.”

Spurs, who are sixth in the Premier League, face Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.