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Tottenham 1-1 Watford: Dele Alli saves Spurs amid VAR confusion

Dele Alli
Dele Alli was making his first Premier League start of the season

Dele Alli rescued a late point for Tottenham to deny visitors Watford a first Premier League win of the season amid video assistant referee (VAR) confusion.

With the out-of-form hosts desperately seeking a way back into the game, Hornets keeper Ben Foster flapped at an 86th-minute cross, with Alli controlling with his shoulder before turning the ball into the net.

The video assistant referee reviewed the goal and decided it was correctly awarded. The big screen, however, indicated the decision was 'no goal'. After a spell of confusion, the goal stood.

For large periods before Alli's intervention, it had looked as though Mauricio Pochettino's side were going to suffer a fifth defeat in six games.

Watford, who lost Danny Welbeck to an early hamstring injury, took the lead when Abdoulaye Doucoure swept home Daryl Janmaat's cross.

And they had a strong penalty appeal turned down by referee Chris Kavanagh - and the VAR - when Jan Vertonghen brought down Gerard Deulofeu.

But, leading for 80 minutes, their wait for a first Premier League win continues and they remain bottom.

VAR dominates headlines again

VAR screen
The big screen displayed mixed messages - on the left showing the goal had been given by making the scoreline 1-1, and on the right carrying a message of 'no goal' - an error by Hawk-Eye in using the incorrect graphic

Watford will feel hard done by after more VAR controversy.

It looked like they should have had a penalty when 1-0 up in the first half as Vertonghen's trailing leg brought down Deulofeu in the box.

The VAR decided Kavanagh had not made a clear and obvious error in not awarding a penalty so Spurs escaped. Only one 'subjective decision' has been changed by the VAR in the Premier League all season - with most reversals down to factual incidents such as offside.

"You could see exactly what happened there. I completely believed it was a penalty," Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores told BBC Sport after the game.

It then looked as if the Hornets had been given a late reprieve when the big screen said 'no goal' from Alli's equaliser - although Kavanagh eventually made clear the goal stood.

The company that provides the technology apologised to both clubs for the incorrect graphic after the game.

Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their arms before scoring - even accidentally - under new laws. It was decided, however, that Alli's goal should stand with the marginal call deeming the ball had come off his shoulder.

Flores also felt the goal should have been disallowed for a Harry Kane shove on Christian Kabasele in the build-up.

"I believe it is a foul. He pushed with both hands but that is my opinion," said Flores. "It is a little bit different. I don't think they need VAR."

VAR screen
But then the message on the screen changed

Lucky escape will not relieve pressure on Pochettino

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Pochettino we need to build confidence

Pochettino made seven changes from the 3-0 defeat by Brighton before the international break, but his substitutions during the game effectively reversed three of them.

Son Heung-min came on at half-time as Spurs abandoned a wing-back formation and he was their star man.

The South Korea international almost levelled four minutes after coming on, as he ran onto Alli's pass before blasting a shot off the crossbar. It looked as if Watford keeper Foster got a touch, although the referee awarded a throw-in to the Hornets.

Spurs - who were regularly opened up at the back - only managed two shots on target, both from Alli - who was making his first Premier League start of the season following injury.

Things are not going to get any easier for ninth-placed Spurs, who do not appear to have recovered from losing last season's Champions League final.

They host Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday before visiting unbeaten leaders Liverpool in the Premier League next Sunday.

"I feel well - good not great - because I saw the team fight and have character," Pochettino said. "It wasn't a great game but I think we did enough to score and maybe win the game.

"I am happy with the way the team showed character so it means that the only way we improve is to work hard."

Watford deserve more

Abdoulaye Doucoure
Abdoulaye Doucoure has scored 14 Premier League goals but Watford have only won two of those games

Bottom side Watford's problem this season has been their failure to score goals.

They have created 90 Premier League chances - the joint sixth highest in the division - but Doucoure's goal was only the fifth they have scored in the league all season.

They squandered plenty of chances on the counter-attack with Janmaat guilty of wasting two of them - including a poor shot from a four-on-two scenario.

They were unlucky not to get a penalty - and unfortunate to concede at the end - but their failure to finish off chances is what could cost them a place in the Premier League come May.

Next up for the Hornets is a home game with Bournemouth next Saturday.

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Flores "not sure" if Premier League needed VAR

Man of the match - Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)

Abdoulaye Doucoure
Abdoulaye Doucoure was outstanding - even aside from his goal. He was involved in plenty of dangerous counter-attacks and won the ball 12 times - more than any other Watford player

More changes than ever before for Spurs - match stats

  • Spurs have won just three of their past 12 Premier League games (W3, D4, L5), keeping just one clean sheet.
  • Watford remain winless in the Premier League this season (D4, L5), failing to win their opening nine games of a league season for the first time since 2006-07, when they went on to finish bottom of the Premier League.
  • Dele Alli has scored five Premier League goals against Watford for Spurs - against no side does he have more (also five against Chelsea and Southampton).
  • Of players to score in at least 10 Premier League games, Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure has the lowest winning percentage, having scored in 14 and winning just two (14% - W2, D6, L6).
  • Tottenham conceded in the opening 10 minutes of consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2014, when they did so against Stoke City and Hull City.
  • Watford's Danny Welbeck was substituted off in the fourth minute of this match, the earliest substitution in a Premier League match since Daniel Sturridge for West Brom against Chelsea in February 2018 (also fourth minute).
  • Spurs made seven changes to their starting XI for this match - their most between two Premier League games in a season in Premier League history.

Line-ups

Tottenham

  • 22Gazzaniga
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 6D SánchezBooked at 13minsSubstituted forSon Heung-Minat 45'minutes
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 24Aurier
  • 17SissokoBooked at 77mins
  • 8WinksSubstituted forNdombeleat 70'minutes
  • 3RoseBooked at 89mins
  • 27Lucas MouraSubstituted forLamelaat 63'minutes
  • 20AlliBooked at 90mins
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 7Son Heung-Min
  • 11Lamela
  • 15Dier
  • 21Foyth
  • 28Ndombele
  • 33Davies
  • 49Austin

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 2JanmaatSubstituted forFemeníaat 71'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 27Kabasele
  • 4Dawson
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 90mins
  • 8Cleverley
  • 14Chalobah
  • 16Doucouré
  • 10WelbeckSubstituted forDeulofeuat 4'minutes
  • 37PereyraBooked at 84minsSubstituted forHughesat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 11Masina
  • 18Gray
  • 19Hughes
  • 21Femenía
  • 23Sarr
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
58,754

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home12
Away7
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home11
Away2
Fouls
Home5
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 1.

Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.

Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Booking

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur).

Will Hughes (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Kiko Femenía.

Booking

Kiko Femenía (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Kiko Femenía (Watford).

VAR Decision: Goal Tottenham Hotspur - Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Watford (Dele Alli).

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 1. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner.Goal confirmed following VAR Review.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Will Hughes replaces Roberto Pereyra because of an injury.

Booking

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Kiko Femenía.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Nathaniel Chalobah.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Attempt saved. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur).

Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by José Holebas.

Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Erik Lamela.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Attempt blocked. Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Erik Lamela with a cross.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Nathaniel Chalobah.

Attempt blocked. Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Serge Aurier with a cross.

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kiko Femenía (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Kiko Femenía replaces Daryl Janmaat because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tanguy Ndombele replaces Harry Winks.

Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.

Offside, Watford. Abdoulaye Doucouré tries a through ball, but Roberto Pereyra is caught offside.

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool88002061424
2Man City96122992019
3Leicester9522168817
4Chelsea95221914517
5Arsenal84311311215
6Crystal Palace9423810-214
7Tottenham93331513212
8Burnley93331211112
9Bournemouth93331313012
10West Ham93331113-212
11Aston Villa93241513211
12Wolves92521212011
13Everton9315813-510
14Man Utd82339819
15Sheff Utd82337709
16Brighton9234912-39
17Southampton9225916-78
18Newcastle9225514-98
19Norwich92161021-117
20Watford9045521-164
View full Premier League table

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