Ivan Cavaleiro’s brilliant second-half header denied Spurs a win that would have sent them third as Fulham picked up a 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday night.
Harry Kane’s superb diving header had given the hosts a first-half lead, and Jose Mourinho’s side should have extended their advantage after the break when Heung-Min Son struck the post with a great chance.
But Fulham, who contributed throughout to an entertaining game, picked up the goal their performance merited when Ademola Lookman’s cross was headed home by Cavaleiro.
Both teams pushed hard for a winner late on, but it wasn’t to be and the spoils were shared.
Fulham started the game strongly, but Spurs were like a predator lying in wait, as they have been so often this season, and on three occasions in quick succession they sliced Fulham open, with Son twice denied by excellent Areola saves before Kane’s diving header opened the scoring.
The goal itself oozed quality from start to finish with Sergio Reguilon’s peach of a cross arguably even more impressive than Kane’s classy header.
Spurs looked the better side for the remainder of the first half, but sat back a little after the break, content to wait for opportunities on the counter-attack… opportunities which did indeed come, with Son hitting the post when clean through on goal.
And Mourinho’s side were made to pay for not putting the game to bed when the lively Ademola Lookman got the better of Davinson Sanchez out on the flank and floated in a cross that Eric Dier failed to cut out, allowing Cavaleiro a chance to angle a delight of a header into the top corner.
The draw leaves Spurs in sixth as they miss an opportunity to leapfrog Everton, Leicester and Manchester City in the table. Fulham remain in the bottom three, but they have now drawn five on the bounce and the quality of their performance will give manager Scott Parker plenty of hope that they can pull themselves out of trouble.
Talking Point – Spurs pay the price for sitting on a lead (again)
Newcastle. West Ham. Crystal Palace. Wolves. And now Fulham. Five times this season Spurs have been pegged back late on after sitting on a lead. The West Ham game was something of an anomaly, but the other matches all saw Spurs hold a one-goal advantage and sit deeper and deeper as the game went on before finally being punished.
Spurs remain just six points off the top and are playing some reasonable football, but time after time points are being dropped in games that Mourinho’s team should have had wrapped up. How many times does he have to learn that lesson before he changes the strategy?
Plenty of players on both sides put in decent claims for the man of the match award, but Fulham’s keeper kept his side in it with two outstanding saves to deny Son in the first-half just as Spurs clicked into top gear. Without his quality Fulham could have found themselves with a mountain to climb, and he followed those stops up with an assured performance.
24’ – A clipped ball into the box picks out the run of Son and he’s completely unmarked inside the box with plenty of time to hammer in a header. It looks a guaranteed goal, but Areola has other ideas and produces a brilliant save to tip it over.
25’ GOAL! – Harry Kane puts Spurs ahead with a diving header to finish off a superb attack. The ball is switched to Reguilon in space on the left, who controls well and whips in a peach of a cross that Kane thunders in with a diving header that leaves the excellent Areola with no chance. 1-0!
29’ – Aurier hammers a cross towards Kane after excellent work again by Ndombele (who has been superb so far) but it takes a slight touch at pace to throw Kane off and the header flies over.
35’ – That is so close to an equaliser! A cross into the box is slightly behind Loftus-Cheek, but he pulls out a sensational bit of skill to turn a scissor-kick volley towards goal. The ball takes a flick of paint with it on its way past the post, and Lloris was getting nowhere near that.
72’ – Heung-Min Son is put in on goal by Ndombele’s perfectly-weighted through-ball. Anderson can’t quite get back, but he does at least rush the Spurs man, and Son’s connection is scuffed, sending the shot onto the base of the far post and back out into the grateful arms of Areola. That should have been 2-0, but it’s a lifeline for Fulham.
74’ GOAL! – Fulham are back in this and it’s Cavaleiro who’s got it! Lookman clips a lovely cross into the box after getting the better of Sanchez out on the Fulham left and it’s a gem of a header by Ivan Cavaleiro who had dropped off the shoulder of Eric Dier to create space for himself. 1-1!
89’ – Spurs think they’ve got the winner as Reguilon turns home Son’s cross, but the South Korean was offside when he received the ball and it’s chalked off.
Stats and Facts
Kane’s first-half header was his 25th headed goal in the Premier League, making him only the third player in the division’s history to score 25 headers, 25 right-footed goals AND 25 left-footed goals. Robbie Fowler and Andy Cole are the other forwards to have achieved that feat.
Fulham beat a player with dribbles 18 times during the game, the most of any opponent against Tottenham this season.
Spurs have dropped four points from winning positions since Christmas Day, the highest tally in the Premier League in that time.