Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham: Jeffrey Schlupp equaliser and Guaita heroics earns Eagles a point
- Spurs have given up the initiative in the title race with a draw at Crystal Palace
- Harry Kane had given Jose Mourinho's side the lead after a howler from Guaita
- Palace came on strong in the second half and scored through Jeffrey Schlupp
- Guaita went from zero to hero with a string of excellent stops at the death
- The draw means Liverpool have the chance to go top at Fulham later on Sunday
By Sami Mokbel for MailOnline
Published: 13:05 GMT, 13 December 2020 | Updated: 18:58 GMT, 13 December 2020
Jose Mourinho refers to Roy Hodgson as ‘boss’ - an acknowledgement of respect towards the eldest manager in the Premier League.
You’d forgive the Tottenham manager for calling the Crystal Palace boss by something rather less gracious after this.
Tottenham looked destined to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League with victory here at Selhurst Park.
Spurs have surrendered the initiative at the top of the table after dropping points at Palace
Jose Mourinho's side buckled to Palace's second half pressure as Jeffrey Schlupp equalised
2,000 Palace fans go wild after seeing their side fight back to earn a deserved point on Sunday
Spurs players cut dejected figures after losing their one-goal advantage at Selhurst Park
Palace (442): Guaita; Clyne, Cahill, Kouyate, Van Aanholt; Schlupp, Milivojevic (Rieldewald 73), McArthur, Eze (Townsend 89); Zaha, Benteke.
Subs: Butland, Ward, Tomkins, Ayew, Townsend, Batshauyi. Booked: Milivojevic
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon (Davies 84); Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Son, Ndombele (Lo Celso 67), Bergwijn (Alli 85); Kane.
Subs: Hart, Doherty, Rondon, Alli, Moura, Davies.
But instead they had to settle for a point as Jeffrey Schlupp snatched a late - but deserved point - for the Eagles to dent Spurs’ title challenge.
For so long Spurs looked on course for one of those hard-fought victories that are intrinsically associated with title winners.
You know, the ‘winning when not playing well’ kind of victory. Not that Spurs played particularly badly - but this was more grit than grace from Mourinho’s men.
They looked content with Harry Kane’s first half opener; in the end they punished for their reluctance to look for a second.
Mourinho, at least publicly, won’t indulge in any title talk. Perhaps he is right to reserve judgement.
What is for sure, we’ll learn much more after Wednesday’s game against champions Liverpool.
But having taken the lead here at Selhurst Park, Mourinho will know this was a case of two points dropped.
The make-up of Mourinho’s bench caused a stir before a ball had even been kicked. No Gareth Bale due to illness, nor was there any sign of Harry Winks who will surely have to try and force a January exit if he is to have any hope of staying in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championships.
Harry Kane gave Spurs the lead after catching Guaita out with a swerving long range effort
Kane celebrates after putting Mourinho's side in front in a wet and windy South London
But there was room for Dele Alli, who was named in a Premier League squad for the first time since October.
His bench role owing more to Bale’s absence than any change of heart from Mourinho, but perhaps there’s life in Alli’s Spurs career yet - particularly given he was introduced as a late substitute.
Not that Tottenham remotely looked like needing Alli during the start of this game.
It wasn’t that Palace were poor - they created more problems for Tottenham in the opening 20 minutes of this encounter than Arsenal did for the entire 90 during last week’s North London Derby cruise.
Wilfried Zaha looked to be in the mood, as did the ever improving Eberechi Eze.
Zaha went close twice but Spurs stood firm. Not only that but the threat they carried in venturing forward was irresistible at times.
It was a frustrating first half for Palace who could not find a killer touch at the top end
Patrick van Aanhold sees a free kick effort cleared away as Spurs looked to stand strong
If it wasn’t for Vicente Guaita then Palace would have fallen behind far earlier than they did. The Spaniard’s first save arrived in the 18th minute, a brilliant reactionary stop to deny Tanguy Ndombele who was inexplicably granted the freedom of the penalty area to meet Moussa Sissoko’s cross.
Moments later his instincts were put to the test again, this time to deny Kane’s point-blank header from Heung-min Son’s corner.
However, it wasn’t long before the Eagles keeper undid all his sterling work.
Even by Kane’s standards, there looked to be little danger as he strode forward to collect Son’s pass around 30 yards out from goal.
However, Palace came on strong in the second half and had the visitors under the cosh
Mourinho turned to Dele Alli to make an impact but the outcast could not find a winner
The England captain’s ensuing effort was wicked - it dipped, swerved, skidded and deviated so much that it left Guaita in a total mess.
Kane wheeled away in celebration but his goal was just as much about Guaita’s incompetence as it was about the Tottenham’s execution.
Not that Mourinho cared an iota about who should take the credit or blame. His team were on course to complete the weekend as league leaders for a third consecutive week.
Palace stuck at it, Eze mightily unlucky not to level three minutes before the break when his delicious curling effort from the edge of the box struck Lloris’ post.
Zaha found himself in another promising position in the 56th minute only to fire his fierce effort over the bar.
Indeed, the 2,000 Eagles fans were sensing something more than just a gallant defeat.
Eagles keeper Guaita atoned for his previous error, making a string of world class saves
The Spaniard clawed away an Eric Dier free kick to keep the scores level in the dying minutes
Jeffrey Schlupp then somehow managed to balloon his effort from five yards over the bar as Tottenham failed to deal with Luka Milivojevic’s floated free-kick before Christian Benteke struck the top of Lloris crossbar with a towering header from Eze’s corner.
The Belgian striker missed another glaring opportunity from another Eze taken corner just moments later.
Make no mistake, Spurs were rocking - on the ropes. And Palace finally found the knockout blow nine minutes from time.
Sunday's draw hands the initiative to champions Liverpool in the Premier League title race
It wasn’t like Tottenham weren’t aware of Eze’s immaculate delivery from dead balls, so you can only imagine Mourinho’s reaction when Schlupp bundled home from close range as his team failed to deal with another dangerous ball into the box.
It was no more than Palace deserved. Their second half performance was brave and gutsy - Schlupp’s leveller fully deserved.
Mourinho’s response was to throw on Alli for the final the throws. And Alli had a hand in Tottenham’s best opportunity of the closing stages, winning a free kick that Eric Dier took only for Guaita to tip the goalbound effort over the bar as Palace held on for a draw.
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