Late heartbreak for Cherries as VAR denies victory against lacklustre Spurs

AFCB vs Tottenham

Written by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty)

AFC Bournemouth suffered late heartbreak against Spurs as Callum Wilson’s goal was chalked off by VAR in the final seconds of normal time.

Harry Wilson also had an excellent chance to snatch all three points for the Cherries a few minutes later, but Hugo Lloris denied the Welshman.

It could, however, have been completely different from the outset as Harry Kane was brought down in the box just five minutes in.

The Englishman appealed for a penalty, claiming he was shoved in the back by Joshua King. VAR took a quick look at the incident and waved it away, much to Mourinho’s displeasure.

Spurs set out to control the game from the early moments, but the visitors gave away plenty of free-kicks which allowed Diego Rico to loft the ball into the penalty area.

The first real chance for the hosts came in the 21st minute when Rico’s free-kick was headed across the face of goal. Nathan Ake was waiting at the far post, but Harry Kane was there to turn the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Serge Aurier was enjoying space on the right side of the pitch, but his deliveries, when accurate, were often turned behind for corners.

As half-time approached, fans of both sides were hoping for a more entertaining second-half after witnessing a dull first 45 minutes.

Jose Mourinho turned to his bench to bring on Heung-Min Son and Tanguy Ndombele at the break, in place of Giovani Lo Celso and Steven Bergwijn.

Ndombele, who has struggled with fitness issues, added an initial spark to Spurs’ midfield. The Frenchman whipped a ball across the face of Ramsdale’s goal just three minutes into the second-half, but Son failed to connect at the back post.

There was a lengthy delay for Adam Smith, who suffered two hefty blows within a short space of time. The former Spurs player blocked a Harry Kane free-kick in the 50th minute, taking the full impact of the strike on his stomach.

After initially continuing, Smith was then involved in a collision with Tottenham left-back Ben Davies. The stretcher was needed to carry the injured Cherries right-back off the pitch, forcing Jack Stacey to be brought on in his place.

The delay, combined with the additional drinks break and substitutes, amounted to 12 minutes of added time.

But Bournemouth had the golden chance they had been waiting for, and it came in the dying embers of normal time.

After Spurs failed to clear the ball from a Bournemouth free-kick, Callum Wilson bundled the ball into the net and wheeled away in celebration, but one man was not celebrating.

Eddie Howe watched on eagerly as he believed the ball had struck the arm of Joshua King in the scrappy build-up which led to the goal – and VAR only needed a short check to confirm Bournemouth’s heartbreak.

But the hosts were left ruing another missed opportunity in additional time as Harry Wilson was put through on goal. The Welshman attempted to chip the ball over Lloris, but the Frenchman made himself big and smothered the ball.

With Leicester City and Manchester City still to come for the Cherries and still three points from safety, Howe’s men will be kicking themselves looking back on this fixture.

As for Spurs, they become the first side since Middlesbrough in 2015 to fail to register a shot on target against Bournemouth.


AFC Bournemouth: Ramsdale, A. Smith (Stacey 63′), Ake, Kelly, Rico, Brooks (H. Wilson 66′), Gosling, Lerma, Stanislas, King, C. Wilson

substitutes: Boruc, S. Cook, Surman, Solanke, Danjuma, L. Cook, Surridge

Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier (Gedson 91′), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Sissoko (Moura 75′), Winks, Lo Celso (Ndombele 45′), Lamela, Kane, Bergwijn (Son 45′)

substitutes: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Sessegnon, Skipp, White