Tottenham start post-Harry Kane era with a 2-2 draw at Brentford
LONDON – Tottenham Hotspur began life without Harry Kane with an entertaining 2-2 English Premier League draw at Brentford on Sunday to start Ange Postecoglou’s reign in charge.
Cristian Romero headed Spurs in front early on, but the Bees bounced back to lead through Bryan Mbeumo’s penalty and Yoane Wissa.
Emerson Royal’s strike levelled the scores again before half time and both sides had to settle for a point to begin the Premier League season.
Kane’s departure to Bayern Munich on Saturday had overshadowed the build-up to Postecoglou’s first competitive game as Spurs manager. The Australian had hoped for a great start to help put the Kane era behind them and for supporters to have hope going forward, but he was nevertheless satisfied with his charges’ endeavour.
“It is either an impediment to you or an opportunity. Harry Kane was massive figure for this club for a long time and will continue to be whether he is in the building or not,” Postecoglou said.
“Considering the events of the day, I thought we handled ourselves pretty well. In terms of effort, I couldn’t ask any more. We wanted to go out and give our supporters some hope and belief in the team. I thought they did that today.”
Spurs manager’s daring, front-foot approach that has won league titles in his homeland, Japan and, most recently, in Scotland with Celtic was already in evidence. However, so were a series of defensive deficiencies that Brentford could have made more of.
For the second time in two days, the start to a Premier League game was delayed.
After Arsenal’s problems with an e-ticketing system ahead of their game against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, this time the delay was caused by no running water at the GTech Community Stadium.
When the action did get underway, Spurs settled the better despite a disruptive weekend dominated by Kane’s emotional farewell.
In his absence and with Hugo Lloris’ future also seemingly elsewhere, Postecoglou named Son Heung-min as Tottenham’s new captain on Saturday with James Maddison and Romero his deputies.
The vice-captains combined for the opening goal as Maddison’s wicked delivery was headed home from close range by the Argentinian centre-back.
That was Romero’s final involvement as he was replaced due to suspected concussion and his presence at the back was missed.
Brentford were also without their talismanic No. 9 as Ivan Toney was serving his eight-month ban for breaking betting on football rules.
Mbeumo took over penalty duties in his absence to slot home the equaliser after a VAR review spotted a trip by Son on Mathias Jensen inside the box.
Tottenham’s debutant goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario was beaten again moments later as Wissa’s shot deflected in off another Spurs new boy Micky van de Ven.
Emerson was the unlikely scorer of Tottenham’s equaliser four minutes into 11 minutes of added time at the end of the first half, when he blasted home a loose ball from outside the box.
Yet, Brentford should still have gone in ahead at the break as Mbeumo somehow turned Rico Henry’s inviting cross over from point-blank range.
Tottenham dominated the second half in terms of possession, but struggled to make it count as they already felt the absence of Kane. Richarlison fired too close to Mark Flekken and saw a late effort blocked after more fine work from Maddison teed up the Brazilian.
“We got a great start to the game and then had to take Romero off. I thought we reacted well to that,” Postecoglou said.
“However, conceding the two goals, it would be easy to drop our heads, but I don’t think we did that. We worked our way back in, scored and controlled the second half for the most part. We could maybe have been more creative in the final third to create some more opportunities.”
His counterpart Thomas Frank was also pleased with his side’s display, though he felt the Bees had done enough to have secured all three points.
“I thought we performed fine in many ways. I thought we definitely created more chances. In a relatively tight game, I think we should have won it,” Frank said.
“They are a good team, we kept them to little with a low block. The two goals were the smallest chances that they had. In the end, we got a point... It is a long, long season. I have said it before I hope we can attack the league and be an asset.” - AFP