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Lloris stars for Spurs in stalemate against Manchester United

PUBLISHED: 13:51 28 December 2014 | UPDATED: 14:03 28 December 2014

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (right) denies United striker Robin van Persie in the first half

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (right) denies United striker Robin van Persie in the first half

EMPICS Sport

Hugo Lloris helped Tottenham to secure a point against Manchester United, making a string of first-half saves in a goalless draw at White Hart Lane.

United had 11 shots to Spurs’ five in the first period and, although the visitors will bemoan some poor finishing, the hosts will thank their goalkeeper and some crucial last-ditch defending for keeping them on level terms.

The second half was a more even affair and visiting custodian David de Gea also had to play his part, but neither side could break the deadlock.

Mauricio Pochettino made four changes from the side that had lined up at Leicester two days previously, including both full-backs as Ben Davies and Vlad Chiriches replaced Danny Rose and Kyle Walker respectively.

Ryan Mason came in for Nabil Bentaleb, who missed out through illness, and Andros Townsend got the nod while Erik Lamela dropped to the bench.

On the other hand, United had an unchanged team for the first time since November 2012.

There was a minute’s applause for Spurs’ double-winning defender Ron Henry before kick-off, after he passed away yesterday – and Tottenham then started the game attacking the Paxton Road end, as they had done in their previous home win against Burnley.

It was a tight start to the game, with the goalkeepers having little to do, but United gradually got on top and began to create chances.

Radamel Falcao got free in the box but Federico Fazio slid in and got a crucial touch on the ball to take the power off the shot and give Lloris a routine save.

Spurs threatened at the other end as Townsend chipped the ball in for Harry Kane, who got a touch, but De Gea saved – and the United keeper then held on to Townsend’s low shot from the edge of the box.

It was the visitors who looked the more likely scorers though and they created a flurry of golden opportunities.

Juan Mata’s deflected free kick hit the post and Robin van Persie seemed certain to force the ball over the line, but Chiriches slid in to clear.

Phil Jones then headed the ball at goal from a corner and, although Lloris got a touch, the ball looped over the goalline before Jan Vertonghen could hack it away. Fortunately the linesman’s flag went up to penalise the United defender for offside and rule the goal out.

Falcao shot at Lloris again, and Jones then released Van Persie with an inch-perfect ball over the top. Lloris unusually remained on his line and Van Persie tried to take it round the Frenchman four yards out, only for the goalkeeper to get a foot to the ball and divert it away.

Lloris went on to stop Wayne Rooney’s header and then hang in the air to claw Ashley Young’s 25-yard effort out of the top corner as the first half somehow ended goalless.

Spurs had the first sight of goal in the second period as Jones beat Fazio to Kane’s low cross, but Fazio then gave United the ball on the halfway line and Mata crossed for Van Persie, who volleyed over.

The game was finely balanced as the clock ticked past the hour-mark, and Townsend created something out of nothing, wriggling between two United players and sending a powerful 25-yard strike at De Gea.

At the other end, United substitute Rafael delivered a low cross to Mata, who skied his shot wastefully from 10 yards out.

Referee Lee Mason then had a decision to make as Eriksen freed Townsend, who appeared to be pulled down from behind by Young. The United player was already on a yellow card but Mason decided there had been no foul.

Spurs’ belief appeared to grow as the game entered the final 20 minutes, and Fazio produced a striker’s turn, spinning in the box and shooting low to force another save from De Gea, who subsequently had to punch away an Eriksen free kick.

Tottenham had an even better chance in the 82nd minute as Kane ran at the United defence and played a perfect reverse pass to the onrushing Mason, but the midfielder shot over the bar.

Spurs were ending the game on top and they won a series of set pieces, with Eriksen trying to create another late winner. But there was to be no sting in the tail and the points were shared.

Tottenham go on to host Chelsea on New Year’s Day.

Tottenham: Lloris, Chiriches, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Townsend (Dembele 79), Eriksen, Chadli (Lamela 79), Kane

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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