There have been 67 teams with a single point after three games of the Champions League group stage. Seven have progressed to the last 16. These are Tottenham’s numbers now. They have roughly a one in 10 shot of making the knockouts. How it came to this, who knows?
Lads, it’s Tottenham, as Sir Alex Ferguson famously said. Lads, it’s carnage. They have a way of making things difficult, particularly in Europe this season.
So, Toby Alderweireld gave a goal away when his team-mates were in complete control of the game after 29 minutes and, cruising once more with 11 minutes remaining, Hugo Lloris got sent off. This follows a match against Inter Milan when Tottenham turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit in the closing minutes.
Pochettino on CL qualification and Lloris after draw with P
PSV (4-3-3): Zoet 6; Dumfries 6, Schwaab 6, Viergever 6, Angelino 6; Rosario 7, Pereiro 6.5 (Gakpo 83), Hendrix 6.5; Lozano 7, De Jong 7, Malen 6
Scorers: Lozano 29, De Jong 87
Booked: Angelino, Dumfries
Subs not used: Roon, Isimat-Mirin, Behich, Sainsbury, Ramselaar, Gutierrez
Manager: Mark van Bommel 6.5
TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Lloris 5; Trippier 7, Alderweireld 5, Sanchez 6, Davies 5.5; Dembele 7 (Winks 74, 6), Dier 6; Moura 6.5 (Lamela 64, 5), Eriksen 7, Son 6 (Vorm 81); Kane 8
Scorers: Moura 39, Kane 54
Sent off: Lloris
Subs not used: Wanyama, Sissoko, Llorente, Aurier
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino 6
Referee: Slavko Vincic (Slovenia) 5.5
For more stats and maps check out Sportsmail’s brilliant Match Zone by clicking here.
It seemed more a matter of what they would settle for: would they push on for three, try to get four, try to correct the goal difference margins that can get a little skewed when Barcelona are around? Instead, it all went Spursy, And Lloris — a World Cup-winning captain, no less — was the biggest culprit of all.
He’s been erratic this season at the best of times and here was another brainstorm as he hared off his line to thwart Mexico forward Hirving Lozano, when there were two defenders in pursuit.
Lozano knocked the ball past, Lloris took him out and referee Slavko Vincic from Slovenia had little alternative but to award a free-kick and show a red card.
Michel Vorm came on and instantly saved Luuk de Jong’s free-kick low at his far post, but the damage was done. Somehow, PSV were back in the game. Minutes later they were level and Tottenham’s odds were drifting.
Davinson Sanchez headed a dead ball clear and Pablo Rosario scuffed a shot from the edge of the area. It was tame but De Jong got a touch on it, a flick that deceived Vorm. So it all went Luuk de Jong, yet the visitors should have been comfortable.
Tottenham were athletically stronger and more ambitious and once they had made good Alderweireld’s horrid error, their eventual victory looked certain.
Eriksen, playing his first game since September 22, simply took charge. He, of course, featured more than once in the 19-pass move that set up the equaliser, but his contribution to the second was exceptional.
A neat interchange of passes with Son Heung-min ended with Eriksen delivering the perfect far-post ball for Harry Kane, who headed it down into the turf past goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
At that point, Tottenham looked capable of reaching a more emphatic scoreline. Instead, at best the Europa League beckons without a dramatic dash for the finishing line. This, after all, was what Pochettino described as a must-win game – and he is not a man much given to drama.
No matter their superiority in domestic football, PSV are one of those clubs a team with serious European ambitions should beat. They hadn’t won in any of their last 10 Champions League games coming into this one, and only twice in their last 15 matches against English opposition.
Yet Tottenham are prone to self-destruct and, on 29 minutes, Alderweireld did. The pass from Sanchez was simple enough but Alderweireld dawdled on the ball, allowing Lozano — a pest, if not always an honest one — to pounce and catch him in possession.
Lozano sped on goal with Alderweireld in pursuit. He got there, too, but instead of saving his embarrassment, his tackle coincided with Lozano’s shot, sending it looping over Lloris and into the goal.
Tottenham’s equaliser was also a deflection, but at least the move was lovely. A full 19 passes culminated with Eriksen finding Kieran Trippier, who hit the most perfect cutback — first time, obviously — into the path of Lucas Moura. His shot seemed goalbound anyway but, for good measure, clipped Daniel Schwaab and left Zoet no chance.
On the balance of play, it was what Tottenham deserved. They had already had a goal disallowed in controversial circumstances, Kane considered to be interfering after Sanchez had poked in a loose ball following a header by Alderweireld. He certainly looked to be interfering, but so do a lot of players whose position is ignored by the match officials.
In essence, Tottenham controlled the game, but PSV were dangerous in possession and gave regular reminders of their counter-attacking threat. Gaston Pereiro lulled the visitors into a false sense of security with a comically poor free-kick, then almost scored with his next one, curling it just wide of Lloris’ near post. Then, shortly before half-time, the Uruguayan displayed some fast and clever footwork, before striking a shot against the bar.
Tottenham’s best work came, as it often has, from Trippier’s crosses and dead balls. His assist for the equaliser was his 20th for the club, and he could have had more. In the 17th minute, his corner was not cleared successfully and Kane’s shot on the turn was deflected over. From the resulting corner, a Kane header clipped the angle of the bar. It looked merely a matter of time. With Tottenham, however, it is never that simple.