Spurs' draw against Saints ‘a missed opportunity'

Antonio Conte bemoaned Tottenham’s fatigue after controversial 1-1 draw against 10-man Southampton

Wednesday, 29th December 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Antonie Conte 2 - Credit Tottenham Hotspur FC

Antonio Conte: ‘We scored but they decided to disallow the goal’

Premier League

SOUTHAMPTON 1 (Ward-Prowse 25, Salisu sent off 39)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Kane 41 pen)

TOTTENHAM failed to finish off a resilient Southampton side on Tuesday in a disappointing one-all draw at St Mary’s – and will point at two seemingly good goals that were chalked off incorrectly for why they were denied all three points.

Spurs played against 10-men for over an hour after the Saints had Mohammed Salisu sent off for two yellow cards – but still could not find the crucial winner.

Speaking after the game, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte said: “It was an opportunity, but we missed it. When you have that situation, you have to try to exploit it to get three points.

“The situation at one point of the game was positive for us but I think the second half we felt the fatigue and our mind wasn’t clear to make the best decisions.

“I tried also with substitutions to change something, [by bringing on] Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil. But we didn’t find a solution. We scored but they decided to disallow the goal.”

Southampton started well, enjoying plenty of the ball and it was not against the run of play when the excellent James Ward-Prowse gave the home side the lead on 24 minutes.

Ward-Prowse left Hugo Lloris grasping at thin air as he smashed a volley home from a semi-cleared corner.

The Saints had pressed Spurs, giving their guests no time on the ball and closing down spaces. But their determination and aggression would cost them.

Referee Anthony Taylor had to be on top of things as a series of niggly tackles and fouls from the home side upset the games rhythm.

On 38 minutes Spurs got moving with a delightful through ball by Harry Winks for Heung-min Son to dash on to. Salisu could not handle the pace of the forward and as Son shaped to shoot, the Southampton defender brought him down.

Taylor needed no second look before pointing to the spot and giving the Saints left-sided player a second yellow card. Harry Kane smashed home the equaliser from the spot.

On 52, a superb ball forward from Winks saw Kane scoot through on goal. His first touch on the dropping ball was brilliant, and his finish sublime.

But then came the first controversy, as VAR somehow found a smidgen of Kane offside. It wasn’t clear at the time, and it was no clearer after the game as to how the goal was disallowed.

Spurs did not lose heart. The second half was one way traffic, with Lloris not having to get his gloves dirty.

Then came further controversy. On 66, substitute Matt Doherty went up for a hanging cross with Saints’ keeper Fraser Forster. The confusion caused Forster to drop the ball and then back-heel it into his own net. Ref Taylor called a foul and Southampton had another let off.

Conte was determined to find away through, and urging his side onwards, it was attack versus defence. Substitute Gil provided a lively outlet on the right, though despite sending over a stream of crosses, no head wearing white could get the final touch.

This certainly felt like two dropped points. Yet this game, Conte’s seventh match in charge in the Premier League, continued the unbeaten run and set an undefeated record for a new manager at Spurs.

Southampton: Forster, Walker-Peters, Valery, Salisu, Bednarek, Perraud, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, S. Armstrong, A. Armstrong (Redmond, 82), Long (Broja, 70).
Substitutes not used: Caballero, Romeu, Small, Tella, Walcott, Simeu, Elyounoussi

Tottenham: Lloris, Reguilon (Doherty, 45), Royal (Gil, 76), Davies, Sanchez, Dier, Hojbjerg, Winks, Alli (Moura, 62), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gollini, Rodon, Tanganga, Ndombele, Skipp, White

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