Saints and Spurs share spoils at St Mary’s after intriguing encounter
Prior to this Premier League clash between Southampton and Tottenham, the duo knew that their chances of finishing in the top four were all-but over, but there was still plenty to fight for.
The Saints (seventh before the match) and Spurs (sixth) could still get a top six berth and thus secure Europa League qualification for next term, and just one point separated them going into this encounter.
However, nothing could separate the pair at St Mary’s as they drew 2-2, although Southampton had perhaps the better opportunities to kill off the game.
This fixture represented a return for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino to his former club, and his team started the game in more positive fashion, but were unable to create any chances to show for their dominant possession.
Both sides got themselves into good positions, but their defences were equal to any attack.
But the first effort finally came in the 25th minute, and from Southampton. From a corner, Morgan Schneiderlin brilliantly latched onto a corner to volley on target, but Hugo Lloris saved well.
The shot certainly livened things up for the following couple of minutes, as the Saints continued to attack, and the pressure clearly worked as a comedy of errors in Spurs’ defence led to the first goal.
Saido Mane started the move, showing great pace and tenacity, then two slips, the latter by Ben Davies, allowed Graziano Pelle to capitalise and poke a shot past the bemused keeper.
Nacer Chadli had the first chance for the visitors 10 minutes before half time, but it was a wild one, as his long-ranged effort was well over the bar.
Southampton were back on the attack, though, and, after a wonderful passing move Ryan Bertrand found out Steven Davis, who scuffed his shot.
It was certainly become more end-to-end now, and this time England cap Ryan Mason connected well from a cross but his strike hit the head of Jose Fonte.
Spurs seemed to finally find their feet, and moments later, they equalised through Erik Lamela, whose effort, seemingly off his arm, found its way past club captain Kelvin Davis.
Five minutes into the second half, the Saints had the first chance from Davis, but the Northern Irishman will be left wondering how he wasn’t at least on target. The Spurs defence seemingly parted to allow him to take a shot, but he was well wide as he panicked and struck too early.
Davis had a terrific chance again moments later, and he will certainly be in disbelief again, as he was off target once more. This time, inside the area, he got under the ball too much.
Tottenham will have certainly thanked the gods for their luck, but they didn’t dwell on it and Chadli had two chances in the space of minutes not long after.
The Belgium winger had a deflected cross that nearly went in, and managed a header on target from the resulting corner, but it was easily cleared off the line.
Ronald Koeman’s men kept pressing, and had two half-chances from Ryan Bertrand and then Fonte, but neither troubled Lloris.
But just over the hour mark, the Saints went back in front as Pelle got his second after heading in a wonderful cross from substitute Shane Long.
However, just five minutes later Tottenham found the net again, this time through Chadli for his 10th league goal of the season, as he slotted past veteran Davis from a tight angle.
Things started to die down again until the 83rd minute, when Fonte’s well-struck header was saved off the line.
There were seven minutes of extra time shown, due to injuries to Davies and Schneiderlin, who were both victims of the slippy turf, but neither side could find a late winner, despite headed efforts from Toby Alderweireld and Fonte.
The 2-2 draw puts both clubs up a place in the table, above Liverpool, who have two games in hand.