A piece of sublime Harry Kane skill saved Tottenham Hotspur from defeat against a stubborn Bournemouth outfit in a 1-1 draw that promised plenty but ultimately delivered very little for footballing purists.
The Cherries travelled to White Hart Lane clearly determined. Eddie Howe’s men were well drilled and disciplined at the back but that came at the price of attacking options.
The match started brightly enough for Spurs, and in the 17th minute quick play forward saw Kane brought down on the edge of the box, but the resulting free kick from Victor Wanyama was a poor effort.
Should have done better. Wanyama wastes a chance to put the Bournemouth keeper under pressure with a poor free-kick attempt.
It might have been an omen of what was to come, but inexplicably Mauricio Pochettino’s vaunted attack went missing – and Bournemouth pounced.
The Cherries made good use of the long ball, catching the Spurs defense before they could organize, and in the 22nd minute Jordon Ibe got on the end of a searching pass and flicked the ball to Wilshere who loomed up in support.
Wilshere beat a challenge by Alli and then drove into the box. Ibe ranged up in support but Wilshere fired off a shot that snuck under the outstretched hands of keeper, Lloris to open the scoring.
Wilshere dribbles into the box to score the opening goal for Bournemouth with Ibe in close support and the Spurs defense in disarray.
Eight minutes later Bournemouth almost scored again after another long ball out of defense was laid off to Ibe. The Cherries striker used his physicality to shrug off a challenge by Vertonghen and dribble inside the penalty area. His shot was parried by the keeper – but the ball deflected straight back to the feet of Ibe. Spurs defender Danny Rose brought Ibe down with a dangerous sliding tackle and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty.
Spurs defender Danny Rose brings down Bournemouth’s Jordon Ibe inside the box to concede a penalty.
With 33,000 parochial fans clamoring, Ibe stepped up to the spot to take the penalty chance only to have Lloris dive low to his right to save the shot.
In the 36th minute Tottenham had a wonderful opportunity to level the scores following a quick break on the half-way line that caught the Bournemouth back four out of position. The through-ball played deftly behind the defense for Kane to run on to was well placed, but the classy Spurs striker rushed his shot from 12 yards and gave Bournemouth’s keeper, Artur Boric, a comfortable save.
The second half was a see-sawing struggle as both teams tried to get the upper hand. Bournemouth continued with their long-ball strategy and Spurs began looking more and more to the width of the pitch as a way around the opposition defense.
The equalizing goal came for Spurs in the 68th minute when Vertonghen played wide and right to Eriksen. The midfielder did well to hold the ball up, beating one tackle and then playing Kane into a gap behind the Bournemouth defense. Cook tried valiantly to recover ground but Kane was too quick. Inside the box he took a touch and then slammed the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards. It was a magnificent strike, and left the keeper no possible chance.
Harry Kane scores the equalizer in the 68th minute of the match.
With the scores level and just 20 minutes remaining, Pochettino substituted Rose and brought Son into the attack in an unsuccessful search of a Tottenham Hotspurs winner.