Tottenham Hotspur 1 West Ham United 1
Son Heung-min and Pedro Obiang traded glorious goals last night when West Ham held Tottenham to a 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium.
In the 40th and final Premier League match of the festive period, it was fitting that the action ended with two stunning strikes.
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Obiang struck first, the Hammers midfielder unleashing a 35-yard thunderbolt into the top corner of the Tottenham net on 70 minutes. It wasn’t surprising that Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris looked stunned as he picked the ball out of his goal. Not only was it an unstoppable shot but up to that point the visitors hadn’t managed a shot on target.
Spurs, in contrast, had recorded 20 shots, but the Hammers defence had kept them at bay with Harry Kane enduring a particularly frustrating evening – the Spurs striker failed to find the West Ham net in seven attempts.
Kane also had a penalty claim turned down. Referee Mike Dean adjudged that there was nothing illegal about Pablo Zabaleta’s tug on his arm.
In the end it took a goal as special as Son’s to break down the West Ham defence. It came six minutes from time when the South Korean collected the ball ten yards outside the visitors area. A quick glance up and Son struck a rasping shot into the top right-hand corner of the net, past the flailing hand of Adrian.
The equaliser added fresh impetus to Tottenham and West Ham found themselves under siege in the final minutes of an enjoyable contest, with Victor Wanyama, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son all denied in a frenetic climax.
Son said later that Obiang’s goal “was better” than his own, adding graciously: “The strike was unbelievable. We have the best goalkeeper in the world and he couldn’t do anything. It was a great strike.”
Asked what was in his mind as the ball came to him, Obiang replied: “Nothing, just shoot! I said to myself to try something different, so I did and it went in. I didn’t try that many times, even in training, because usually I try to shoot differently, down low to the corners, but I tried something different.”
It’s been a fruitful few weeks for the Hammers, who have now held Arsenal, Bournemouth and Tottenham, and beaten Chelsea and West Brom to climb to 15th in the table. Manager David Moyes is keen to keep his squad’s feet on the ground.
“We’re miles away from how I want us to play but we are doing some things right,” he said. “We are defending well which gives us a chance against the top teams.”
For both clubs it was the second match in 48 hours but Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame the result on fatigue.
“The team was fresh and focused, it wasn’t because of two games in 48 hours,” the Spurs manager said. “We have different options to score, we tried different ways, we dominated but sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. You need some luck to score.”
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