Alli saves Spurs amid VAR drama

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Tottenham 1

Watford 1

LONDON • Dele Alli rescued Tottenham in the 86th minute yesterday, but even he was confused if he had scored following a VAR (video assistant referee) controversy in the 1-1 Premier League draw with Watford.

The midfielder pounced on a lapse from goalkeeper Ben Foster and used his shoulder to control the ball before firing into the empty net, cancelling out Abdoulaye Doucoure's sixth-minute opener for the visitors. Watford were infuriated as VAR checked the goal for a potential handball by Alli, but not a push by Harry Kane in the build-up.

Either way, following the check, referee Chris Kavanagh gave the goal to Spurs - but not before the big screen at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium displayed: "No Goal". Kavanagh then checked with the VAR again before confirming that it was indeed a goal.

"Of course it's a relief. There were two times he stopped it when he was making the decisions. We weren't sure why," said Alli on the BBC.

"I was sure it didn't hit my hand but then you start thinking did it? I tried to make sure I didn't touch it so I could get the strike away. We made it difficult for ourselves. We controlled the game and bossed possession but, overall, a disappointing result.

"We know we have a world-class team, so it's about showing what we can do when things don't go our way. It's important we turn it around. We know how good we are; we just have to start showing it on the pitch."

Spurs seemed set for a third straight defeat after humiliating heavy losses to Bayern Munich and Brighton before the international break.

The two scorers, Dele Alli (in white) and Abdoulaye Doucoure, tussling for the ball. The Watford midfielder had got his side off to a flier in the sixth minute, before Alli equalised in the 86th minute to earn Tottenham a share of the spoils.
The two scorers, Dele Alli (in white) and Abdoulaye Doucoure, tussling for the ball. The Watford midfielder had got his side off to a flier in the sixth minute, before Alli equalised in the 86th minute to earn Tottenham a share of the spoils. PHOTO: DPA

Manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted before the game that he remained sure Spurs' quality will eventually shine through this season. But, once again, the Argentinian failed to rouse a response from his side as doubts grew over his ability to turn the tide in his sixth season in charge.

Spurs were caught napping when Daryl Janmaat got in behind Danny Rose and crossed for Doucoure to apply the finish just six minutes in.

  • OTHER RESULTS

  • YESTERDAY

    Everton 2 West Ham 0

    Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0

    Leicester 2 Burnley 1

    Bournemouth 0 Norwich 0

    Wolves 1 Southampton 1

    Aston Villa 2 Brighton 1

    Crystal Palace v Man City

    late kick-off

    TODAY

    Man United v Liverpool

    Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 11.30pm

In their search for an equaliser, they were leaving huge gaps for the visitors to exploit on the counter-attack and Quique Sanchez Flores' men lived to regret not at least doubling their advantage.

Just as Tottenham seemed to be running out of ideas, Watford gifted them an equaliser when Foster collided with his own defender and Alli did the rest.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 20, 2019, with the headline 'Alli saves Spurs amid VAR drama'. Print Edition | Subscribe