Spurs rocked on Bale’s return, Mitrovic suffers penalty misery

Harry Kane heads the ball for Spurs’ third goal during the English Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in London. (AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Spurs rocked on Bale’s return, Mitrovic suffers penalty misery

  • Bale misses golden opportunity to wrap up the points before West Ham’s Lanzini snatches an equalizer

LONDON: West Ham ruined Gareth Bale’s Tottenham return with a stunning late fightback from three goals down to rescue a thrilling 3-3 draw, while Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic endured a penalty nightmare in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Tottenham were leading 3-0 when Bale came on as a 72nd minute substitute for his first appearance since joining on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

But Bale suffered a debut to forget as Tottenham capitulated in astonishing fashion.

The Wales star was one of the main Tottenham culprits as he missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the points before West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini snatched a stoppage-time equalizer.

Tottenham took the lead with just 45 seconds gone when Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to create a goal for the seventh time this season.

Kane was the catalyst, dropping deep into midfield before unfurling a majestic long pass that found Son, who cut into the West Ham area and curled his shot into the far corner.

It was Kane’s turn to get on the scoresheet in the 8th minute as he nutmegged Declan Rice and fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Tottenham’s sizzling start featured a third goal in the 16th minute, with England captain Kane heading in from Sergio Reguilon’s pin-point cross for his 10th goal of the season.

Having crushed Manchester United 6-1 in their last game before the international break, Jose Mourinho’s side looked odds on for another emphatic victory.

Back at Tottenham seven years after leaving for Real in a then world record deal, Bale hopes to prove he is still a world-class talent despite a long spell out of favor with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

But it was West Ham who were the dominant force after Bale’s introduction to replace Steven Bergwijn.

Fabian Balbuena nodded in from Aaron Cresswell’s cross after 82 minutes and Davinson Sanchez’s headed own goal from Vladimir Coufal’s delivery three minutes later left Tottenham panicking.

Bale should have scored in stoppage-time, but he shot wide after bursting into the area and Lanzini made him pay with a brilliant 25-yard blast into the top corner.

It was just the third time in Premier League history that a side has avoided defeat despite trailing by at least three goals going into the 80th minute.

At Bramall Lane, Fulham’s Mitrovic fired over with his second half penalty after Jack Robinson handled.

On-loan Leipzig winger Ademola Lookman put Fulham ahead in the 77th minute with a superb solo effort, beating two men before firing into the roof of the net.

But Serbia international Mitrovic was penalized for a high foot on Robinson in the 85th minute following a VAR check and Billy Sharp made him pay as he drove his penalty down the middle.

Mitrovic is the first player to commit the unwanted penalty double in the same Premier League game since Mikel Arteta for Arsenal against Fulham in 2012.

Meanwhile, Liverpool said on Sunday that the club’s star Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on his right knee after damaging ligaments in a challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside derby.

Liverpool did not give a timescale on Van Dijk’s absence, but an injury of that nature will likely keep the Netherlands international out for a long period.


Southampton end Everton’s unbeaten start

Updated 25 October 2020

Southampton end Everton’s unbeaten start

  • Goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams seal a 2-0 win against the Premier League leaders

LONDON: Southampton ended Everton’s unbeaten start to the season as goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams sealed a 2-0 win against the Premier League leaders on Sunday.

Everton had gone eight games without defeat in all competitions this term, but they paid the price for a lethargic display at St. Mary’s.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side fell behind to Ward-Prowse’s first-half goal and Adams doubled their lead before the interval.

Everton left-back Lucas Digne was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in the second half despite his claims he tripped when he stood on the Southampton defender’s heel.

Without the suspended Richarlison and injured Seamus Coleman after the stormy Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool last weekend, Everton lacked the drive and quality that had been the hallmark of their strong start to the campaign.

They remain above champions Liverpool on goal difference after a result that should serve as a reality check.

Southampton have now only lost twice in 13 league matches and climbed within 3 points of first place.

An entertaining encounter got off to a fast start when Danny Ings picked out Ryan Bertrand and his pass found Nathan Redmond for a shot that whistled past the post.

Everton’s first serious threat came from Alex Iwobi as the former Arsenal winger forced a good stop from Alex McCarthy.

Gylfi Sigurdsson went even closer with a blistering 20-yard drive that cannoned off the crossbar with McCarthy grasping at thin air.

Jordan Pickford was in action for the first time since his ugly tackle on Virgil van Dijk left the Liverpool defender with a serious knee injury.

Pickford had been subjected to vicious abuse on social media, but Ancelotti refused to take the error-prone keeper out of the spotlight.

Pickford made a good save to deny Oriol Romeu’s blast, but the England international had no chance when Ward-Prowse put Southampton ahead in the 27th minute.

Ward-Prowse passed into Ings, who returned the ball to the midfielder, who took one touch before firing into the far corner for his first goal of the season.

Adams doubled Southampton’s lead eight minutes later when Ings’ rampaged past Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina before lofting a cross to his strike partner, whose shot deflected off Sigurdsson on its way past Pickford.

Southampton were in complete control. Stuart Armstrong had a strike disallowed for offside just before half time.

Everton had never won a Premier League game when they trailed by two or more goals at half time.

The visitors were marginally better in the second half, but James Rodriguez wasn’t having his usual influence on Everton’s play and their attacking threat was neutered.

Ings almost made it three from Armstrong’s cross, but couldn’t make strong enough contact.

Everton’s last hope vanished in the 72nd minute when Digne was dismissed for his awkward foul on Walker-Peters.

Scottish Premiership

Meanwhile, in the Scottish league, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said referee Willie Collum had had a “very poor game” after the champions were denied victory by Lewis Ferguson’s added-on time penalty in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Aberdeen on Sunday.

Celtic, who came into the match on the back of successive defeats after a 2-0 loss to arch-rivals Rangers was followed by a 3-1 Europa League reverse against Serie A leaders AC Milan, twice came from behind only to be denied in stoppage time by the Dons.

A share of the spoils at Pittodrie left Lennon’s side 3 points behind leaders Rangers, who could go six clear if they beat Livingston later on Sunday.