Tottenham were transformed by Gareth Bale’s homecoming, just not in the way that Jose Mourinho had imagined.
Cruising 3-0 when Bale came off in the bench in the 72nd minute against West Ham, Tottenham incredibly collapsed in a game it had been in control of to draw 3-3 in the Premier League on Sunday (Monday NZT).
It was with almost the last kick of the game that Manuel Lanzini blasted a shot from distance into the roof of the net to snatch a point that seemed extremely unlikely when Son Heung-min scored in the first minute and Harry Kane netted twice by the 16th minute.
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“It’s difficult to believe – we lost two points, threw them away,” Mourinho said.
Agonisingly for Bale, after Fabian Balbuena pulled one back in the 82nd minute and Davinson Sanchez scored an own-goal three minutes later, the on-loan forward from Real Madrid had a golden chance to score the fourth.
Released by Kane, Bale sent Angelo Ogbonna sliding to the turf as he drilled into the penalty area but managed to drag a shot wide.
“It’s a pity he couldn’t score the fourth goal that could kill the game,” Mourinho said.
“The decision not to start him was I think a good decision … It was a message to the team that everyone has to fight for a position.”
Rather than any joy for Bale on his return to Tottenham after seven years, West Ham were celebrating in a way that seemed unimaginable in the first half.
“For some reason they didn’t push on in the second half, try to kill off the game,” West Ham midfielder Declan Rice said.
“Once we got one we had to believe we could come back to draw or win.”
It was the second straight league game at home where Tottenham had thrown away a winning position after being held 1-1 by Newcastle three weeks ago after conceding a penalty.
But that was followed by a League Cup win over Chelsea, a 7-2 rout of Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League and 6-1 dismantling of Manchester United before the international break.
Villa maintain perfect start
Aston Villa claimed a fourth straight win to open the Premier League season as Ross Barkley scored in stoppage time to secure a 1-0 victory over Leicester.
Having scored seven goals against Liverpool before the international break, Villa just needed one to maintain their 100 per start and move a point behind first-placed Everton with a game in hand.
Barkley collected a pass from John McGinn, drove forward and sent in a shot from 25 metres that found the bottom corner in the first minute of added-on time at the King Power Stadium.
The England midfielder has scored in both of his games since joining on loan from Chelsea.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances, with fourth-placed Leicester lacking a cutting edge without injured striker Jamie Vardy.
Its best opportunity fell to Timothy Castagne, whose shot from an acute angle was smothered by Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in the first half.
Seagulls and Eagles share spoils
Brighton scored a deflected 90th-minute equaliser before having a man sent off in a 1-1 draw at local rivals Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday (Monday NZT).
Argentine substitute Alexis Mac Allister’s shot from the edge of the area ricocheted off Palace defender Gary Cahill and into the corner of the net as Brighton’s pressure finally got its reward at an empty Selhurst Park.
Brighton centre-back Lewis Dunk was handed a straight red card in the third minute of stoppage time for a crude, two-footed lunge on Cahill in a penalty-area melee, but Palace had no time to take advantage of their numerical advantage.
Indeed, the home side ended the game having had just one shot – and that was the contentiously awarded penalty converted by Wilfried Zaha in the 19th minute.
Palace striker Michy Batshuayi had his jersey pulled by Tariq Lamptey in the area – although contact appeared minimal – and Zaha stepped up to send goalkeeper Mathew Ryan the wrong way from the spot for his fourth goal of the season.
Brighton picked up only their fourth point of the season, having lost three of their first four games.
Palace have seven points.
Off the mark
Sheffield United and Fulham both collected their first point of the season after drawing 1-1 in a match featuring a penalty for each team on Sunday (Monday NZT).
Billy Sharp converted his spot kick for United, smashing the ball down the middle in the 85th minute to cancel out Ademola Lookman’s spectacular solo goal eight minutes earlier on his first start for Fulham.
Before that, Aleksandar Mitrovic squandered the chance to give Fulham the lead when he lifted his penalty over the crossbar in the 58th minute.
The two teams had lost each of their first four league games this season, raising the stakes for their meeting at Bramall Lane – especially for the hosts, who have matches against Liverpool and Manchester City ahead in the next two weeks.
Oli McBurnie wasted a clear-cut chance in the first half for United, heading straight at goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, but Fulham had the better of the second half. Mitrovic, in particular, will wonder how he failed to score in the game, with his penalty miss and then two late opportunities that he sent off target.
The Serbian striker capped a miserable game on a personal front by giving away the penalty that was converted by Sharp, with Mitrovic kicking the calf of Jack Robinson while attempting to clear the ball at a corner.
Lookman, who has joined on loan from Leipzig in Germany and came on as a substitute in the loss to Wolverhampton before the international break, dribbled past two defenders outside the area before unleashing a fierce shot high into the net to put Fulham ahead.
Chris Wood’s Burnley are now the only team without a point so far.