West Ham were in party mode.
West Ham were in party mode.

Football ‘can’t believe what just happened’

Gareth Bale's second Tottenham debut was ruined by a stunning West Ham fightback from 3-0 down in the final eight minutes to draw 3-3 this morning.

Manuel Lanzini's sensational long-range strike into the top corner capped the comeback after Fabian Balbuena's header and Davinson Sanchez's own goal resurrected David Moyes's men.

Spurs raced to a 3-0 lead within 18 minutes as the free-scoring combination of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min looked to have Jose Mourinho's side cruising towards a win that would have put them second on the Premier League table.

The opener came inside the opening minute as Kane's sumptuous long pass in behind the West Ham defence picked out Son and the South Korean cut inside to curl into the far corner.

The roles were reversed for Kane's first goal as the England captain produced a stunning piece of skill with a nutmeg on his marker before firing low into the bottom corner.

Sergio Reguilon also made the move from Real Madrid to Tottenham last month and his rampaging runs from left-back are reminiscent of Bale's early days at Spurs before the Welshman pushed further up the field.

The Spaniard set up Kane's second with a pinpoint cross for the striker to head home at the far post.

Only a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski prevented Son also registering a double in a blistering opening quarter from Spurs.

Mourinho lauded Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as a "genius" for the deals he made in the transfer market to give his manager a depth of squad capable of challenging for trophies.

That was shown as Bale was then introduced as a substitute and showed no lack of confidence by striking a free-kick with his first touch but the ball flew straight into Fabianski's grasp.

Kane came within inches of sealing his hat-trick with a shot from outside the box that hit the post, but Tottenham's defensive deficiencies saw a comfortable afternoon completely unravel.

Balbuena's header from Aaron Creswell's free-kick started the collapse before Sanchez turned a dangerous ball across the box into his own net.

Bale should have sealed the three points and a dream debut but he flashed a shot wide with just Fabianski to beat as the game entered stoppage time.

And that would come back to haunt Mourinho's men when a Cresswell free-kick was only cleared to the edge of the box and Lanzini arrowed an unstoppable shot high past Hugo Lloris.

West Ham are the first team in Premier League history to avoid defeat in a game having trailed by three or more goals as late as the 81st minute.

"The game was under control. We had Harry Kane to score the fourth when he hit the post, then Gareth Bale to kill the game. This is a game that was in the pocket and we lost two points," Mourinho said.

"We should be stronger. They were lucky but maybe they deserved that luck. We were unlucky but maybe we deserved that."

 

Former Socceroo Ned Zelic was rubbing his eyes in disbelief.

"What a goal," he tweeted after Lanzini's miracle strike. "Pure drama! Unbelievable comeback. Incredible.

"Still can't believe what just happened. That was outrageous. Football is nuts!"

American football writer Joe Prince-Wright tweeted: "No way has this just happened. No way. This is absolutely bonkers. This season is just nuts.

"This game. My goodness."

Journalist Rob Blanchette added: "That was extraordinary. Football, bloody hell."

 

 

 

AFP

 

Originally published as Football 'can't believe what just happened'


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