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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Tottenham Hotspur held by Brentford in first taste of life after Harry Kane

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Tottenham Hotspur began life without Harry Kane with an entertaining 2-2 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.

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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’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 Argentine 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 number nine as Ivan Toney began an 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 10 added 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.

In Sunday’s other Premier League clash, Chelsea and Liverpool take their battle for midfield talent in the transfer market onto the field at Stamford Bridge.

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Liverpool had a British record £110 million ($140 million) bid for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo accepted on Friday.

But Chelsea are still looking to hijack that deal for the Ecuadorian, who reportedly favours a move to the Blues.

Chelsea are also keen on long-term Liverpool target Romeo Lavia from Southampton to bolster new boss Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

AFP

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