LONDON (REUTERS) - Hugo Lloris saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 90th-minute penalty to secure what could prove to be a vital 1-1 draw for Tottenham Hotspur in a scrappy north London derby against Arsenal on Saturday (March 2).
Third-placed Tottenham had trailed to Aaron Ramsey’s 16th-minute goal and were offering little as a third consecutive Premier League defeat loomed in the early kickoff at Wembley.
Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot in the 74th minute to the relief of the home fans but when Davinson Sanchez conceded a penalty in the 90th minute Arsenal were poised to move to within a point of their arch-rivals having trailed by 10 a week ago.
Substitute Aubameyang, who had tumbled easily under a clumsy Sanchez challenge, struck his kick weakly and Lloris, at fault for both goals in Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea in midweek, plunged down to his right to save.
A niggly second-half ended in chaotic fashion with Arsenal’s other substitute Lucas Torreira being red-carded for a high tackle on Danny Rose who had earlier been booked for catching Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno with his studs.
Third-placed Tottenham had not drawn any of their 28 Premier League games this season but ending that sequence and avoiding a damaging defeat was a huge relief as they retained a four-point cushion over Arsenal.
Lloris’ save preserved Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s record of never having lost three successive Premier League games since taking over and meant he is still to lose a home north London league derby.
“Yes Lloris’ save was a massive present,” Pochettino, celebrating his 47th birthday, said.
“I am so happy because we didn’t deserve to lose the game we were better than them so it would be a shame to lose the game in that way.
“It was a tough game, difficult to play Arsenal but I am happy after two defeats to take a positive result to build confidence to go to Tuesday and Borussia Dortmund and go through to the next stage of Champions League.”
Tottenham were slightly shading the derby early on but were stunned after 16 minutes when Juventus-bound midfielder Ramsey, playing for the last time in the fixture, put his side ahead.
Sanchez made a hash of dealing with a long ball on the halfway line and Alexandre Lacazette released Ramsey into acres of space before the Welshman outpaced Victor Wanyama and took the ball around Lloris before sliding home.
Kane had a header ruled out for offside and Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno made a remarkable double-save just before the interval, blocking Christian Eriksen’s close-range volley with his legs, then palming away Moussa Sissoko’s follow-up.
Tottenham lacked quality in the final third in the second half and Lacazette should have doubled Arsenal’s lead when he sliced wide from in front of goal.
Substitute Erik Lamela sent a left-footer just wide at the other end and his deep cross was chested down by Rose who caught Leno in the chest as he lunged to try and poke home.
Tottenham were running out of ideas but were given a reprieve when Shkodran Mustafi was adjudged by referee Anthony Taylor to have barged Kane over and the England captain drilled his penalty low into the corner.
To make matters worse for Arsenal, replays showed Kane was marginally offside in the build-up.
Tottenham might have been expected to go on and win the game after that but it was Arsenal who finished strongly and will rue not securing a huge victory in the battle for a top-four finish.