Hugo Lloris penalty heroics salvage a point for Tottenham in scrappy derby with Arsenal
LONDON: Hugo Lloris saved a last-minute penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Tottenham avoided a third straight defeat and claimed a 1-1 draw with Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby.
Arsenal led early on through Aaron Ramsey’s well-taken goal, but Harry Kane’s contentious penalty 16 minutes from time ensured third-placed Spurs maintain a four-point lead over the Gunners in the fight for top-four finish.
Tottenham’s recent downturn in form had raised concerns at the club that they might slip out of the Champions League spots come the end of the season.
For star striker Kane, it was an important result to stop the run of bad results.
“For us it was important to stop the losing streak, at this point it might give us a little boost with a big game in the Champions League and then Southampton,” he said.
“It was another good derby, a passionate one, it had a bit of everything. In the first-half we were disappointed as we created a few chances but were not clinical enough.
“The second-half was just about fighting for the team and club and we did that and we got the goal we deserved. Towards the end of the game it went a bit crazy,” he added.
“(Mauricio) Pochettino wants us to go out there with passion and thankfully we did that.
“Two disappointing results in a week, this was the perfect game, a north London derby to show that passion and show fans we are ready to fight for the rest of the season,” he said.
The England captain was also pleased with his own performance in coming back so quickly after an injury.
“I feel good three tough games coming back, it’ll be good to get the freshness back.
Lloris’ save will have relieved some of the pressure mounting on Tottenham manager Pochettino to keep up with runaway duo Liverpool and Manchester City, and the Argentine — celebrating his 47th birthday — was relieved his goalkeeper stepped up to the task.
“Yes, Lloris’ save was a massive present. 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.
“I am happy with the performance, it was a tough game and 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 the Champions League,” he said.
“The character that we showed was great to come back and the way we played maybe wasn’t great but we showed great character and sustained effort during the 90 minutes. Tottenham were better than Arsenal in the different aspects.
Unlike his outburst at Burnley last weekend, Pochettino offered a balanced assessment of a number of contentious refereeing decisions.
“In football there are different circumstances, sometimes you deserve and you don’t get and sometimes you get when you don’t deserve. “The most important was mentality. It is a good result to keep the gap and look forward in good condition against Dortmund.”
And his Arsenal counterpart Unai Emery also appreciated how difficult the job of referees can be.
“One month ago I said to everybody VAR is moving forward, it is difficult for referees. “You can analyze with a TV and it is easy, but referees can’t use that now.
“Maybe today’s match is different with that, but I understand it is difficult. The referee (Anthony Taylor) is a big personality — it is not easy to balance the two teams but I like this referee.”