ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • Tottenham are not making things easy in their quest for a top-four Premier League finish.
On a madcap afternoon yesterday at Bournemouth, they played for 42 minutes with nine men, after seeing Son Heung-min and substitute Juan Foyth sent off, and eventually lost 1-0 to a last-gasp Nathan Ake goal at the Vitality Stadium.
Spurs have now lost seven of their last 11 league games and this was surely not the preparation they had in mind for Wednesday, when they travel to Ajax seeking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in the Champions League semi-finals.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said he has accepted the decision of referee Craig Pawson for the red cards, and blamed his side's defeat on not having any luck.
"Everyone saw the game. I don't need to explain too much. We need to accept the decision of the referee," he said.
"We did not have too much luck. We have to move on. For the first 40 minutes we played so well, creating chances. We did not score, sometimes football is cruel.
Tottenham are the first team to receive two straight red cards in a Premier League match since Manchester City (versus Chelsea) in December 2016.
"And we conceded in the last minutes. Two red cards made it difficult but we fought.
"Unlucky for us, nothing to say. A mad game that you have to accept.
Number of seconds Spurs substitute Juan Foyth was on the field from the start of the second half before being sent off for a dangerous tackle on Jack Simpson.
"We are third, we are competing for the top four, we are in the semi-finals of the Champions League. I feel proud about our season.
"What will happen, will happen."
Spurs stayed third, two points clear of Chelsea (68), four ahead of Arsenal and five more than Manchester United, with the top-four race set to go to the final day.
A win would have sealed qualification for next season's Champions League, with their three rivals not in action until today.
Spurs dominated early but found debutant goalkeeper Mark Travers, 19, in inspired form for the hosts as he made a string of fine saves. He is the first teenage goalkeeper to start a Premier League game since Manchester City's Joe Hart in 2006.
Spurs' task was made all the more difficult two minutes before the interval when forward Son was sent off for pushing Jefferson Lerma and half-time substitute Foyth lasted just 125 seconds before seeing red for a lunging tackle on Jack Simpson. Bournemouth struggled to make their numerical advantage count until Ake headed the dramatic winner in the 90th minute.
As it stands, unless results involving Chelsea, Arsenal and United go in their favour today, Spurs may need to beat Everton at home on the final day next Sunday.
The double sending-off also prompted a somewhat cheeky response from pundit Gary Lineker, the former Spurs striker who has never been booked in his career.
He tweeted: "May the Foyth be with you in the dressing room Son."
Match-winner Ake felt that his side had the luck which Tottenham were missing.
"When the opposition has two red cards, you are expected to win. We were sloppy. We didn't create enough, so we are happy we scored in the last minute," he said.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Bournemouth 1 Tottenham 0
West Ham 3 Southampton 0
Wolves 1 Fulham 0
Cardiff v Crystal Palace
Newcastle v Liverpool
Huddersfield v Man United
Ch102 & Ch227, 9pm
Chelsea v Watford
Ch103 & Ch228, 8.50pm
Arsenal v Brighton
Ch102 & Ch227, 11.30pm
Man City v Leicester
Ch102 & Ch227, Tuesday, 3am
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