ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
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.
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.
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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