Spurs come back from behind twice to earn a draw on Pochettino’s return to Southampton
Tottenham twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw as head coach Mauricio Pochettino returned to his former club Southampton for the first time.
Spurs had won the five previous encounters but that sequence came to an end on the south coast today.
A slip from Ryan Mason and then a poor piece of defending from Ben Davies gifted Graziano Pelle a first-half opener, but Erik Lamela equalised just before half-time from Eric Dier’s cross.
Pelle restored the Saints’ lead in the second period with a towering header, but Dier set up Nacer Chadli for another equaliser five minutes later, and honours remained even as Spurs stayed one point above their hosts in the Premier League table.
Hugo Lloris returned from his knee injury to captain the side but Danny Rose missed out with a hamstring injury so Davies deputised at left-back, making his first start for six games.
Lamela kept his place on the right flank but Paulinho – the man of the match at Newcastle last weekend – was absent as his wife was due to give birth, so Ryan Mason returned to the line-up.
There few no clear chances in the opening 25 minutes – only two low crosses from Ryan Bertrand, with no-one there to take advantage – but Southampton went close midway through the first half as Morgan Schneiderlin met James Ward-Prowse’s corner, forcing a low save from Lloris.
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However, the hosts took the lead in the 29th minute. Sadio Mane ran at Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio from the halfway line and, although Fazio eventually slid in to stop him, Mason slipped on the edge of the box and Davies’ effort to hold of Pelle backfired as he allowed the Italian to get a foot in and prod the ball past Lloris at close range.
Tottenham had struggled to create anything in the final third, and Chadli’s wild 25-yard effort, which flew high over the bar, summed up their frustrations.
The Saints nearly doubled the lead after a quick passing move as Bertrand put in another low ball from the left, finding Steven Davis, but he scewed his shot well wide.
The hosts were on top but Spurs rallied in the closing stages of the first half. Chadli finally threatened from the left, beating his man and hanging up a cross which dropped nicely for Mason, but his powerful volley struck Jose Fonte.
The Lilywhites levelled moments later, two minutes before the break, with Lamela meeting Dier’s cross six yards out. Saints keeper Kelvin Davis dived and got a strong hand on the ball but was unable to stop it crossing the line.
Southampton were on the front foot after the break, with Steven Davis twice missing the target from good positions and Lloris having to tip Bertrand’s deflected cross over his crossbar.
Chadli also saw a deflected cross skim the roof of the Saints’ net and a header from the ensuing corner cleared off the line, but Bertrand continued to pose problems at the other end, curling the ball just over the top corner.
Southampton went on to regain their lead as Pelle leapt above Fazio to head home in the 65th minute, but Spurs were level again five minutes later as Chadli – who had moved to the right-hand side – latched on to Dier’s net through ball and slotted past Kelvin Davis from the corner of the six-yard box.
Both sides pushed for a winner and there were seven minutes of added time, with Fonte heading over right at the end, but the game finished all square.
Tottenham: Lloris, Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies (Chiriches 76), Bentaleb (Soldado 87), Mason, Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli (Dembele 83), Kane