Harry Kane’s first half goal was cancelled out by a late, late Demba Ba penalty at the Lane on Thursday evening as we drew 1-1 with Besiktas in a highly-entertaining Europa League Group C clash.
The England Under-21 striker drilled home a fine opener on 27 minutes and Hugo Lloris produced a string of outstanding saves to preserve our lead, but he was beaten in the 89th minute from Ba’s spot kick after Vlad Chiriches was penalised for handball.
With both sides having drawn their opening games of the group, a win would have been a great boost and the two teams went for the victory throughout, with plenty of chances created at either end.
The visitors certainly started the game brightly and almost went ahead as early as the second minute. We lost possession midway inside our half and as the ball fell to Ba, Federico Fazio came in from behind and brought him down. However, the ball ran kindly to Olcay Sahan as referee Manuel Grafe waved play on, but his right-footed shot from the edge of the area drifted just wide of Lloris’ far post.
Our French goalkeeper was called into action on 12 minutes, showing superb reflexes to tip over Ba’s powerful drive on the turn from 10 yards out, while he did well to gather Ramon Motta’s cross under severe pressure from the Senegalese striker.
The game was played a great tempo and, while we were seeing enough of the ball, we weren’t really creating too many chances, but almost out of nothing we took the lead on 27 minutes. Fazio managed to keep possession despite the attentions of Hutchinson, he laid it off to Andros Townsend who found Nabil Bentaleb. He turned away from his marker just inside the Besiktas half, popped it off to Kane, who strode forward 10 yards and arrowed a left-foot drive into the bottom corner past Tolga Zengin, his fourth of the season.
The Turkish side were almost level five minutes later, but again were denied by Lloris. Jose Sosa burst clear down the right, his teasing low cross to the far post was touched goalwards by Sahan and was heading in, only for the faintest of touches from Lloris’ boot sending the ball inches past the post for a corner.
We finished the half strongly, Kane’s diving header going over from a lovely Ben Davies cross, before the frontman brought a great stop out of Zengin, latching onto Townsend’s reverse pass before drilling a shot which the Besiktas keeper parried away.
And when Townsend sent over a teasing cross from the left, any touch from Roberto Soldado or Paulinho would have given us a second goal, but neither could get a boot to the ball and we took a narrow advantage into the break.
There was no let up to the pace of the game in the early stages of the second period, with Atiba Hutchinson heading over from a corner for the visitors, while Paulinho saw his 20-yard effort well blocked by Kurtulus after Benji Stambouli’s penetrating drive into Besiktas territory.
Townsend then fired up and over following Stambouli’s back-heel before we were indebted once again to the brilliance of Lloris. Ba beat Chiriches and advanced to the edge of the area, laid the ball square to Sahan who drilled his shot towards the top corner, but Lloris was there again to tip the ball over the bar.
It was end to end stuff and just before the hour mark, it was our turn to go close. Soldado did well to hold the ball up inside his own half, turn his man and burst forwards before finding the supporting Bentaleb down the left, but his shot fizzed just past the far post.
And at the other end on 64 minutes, Sahan went close again with a spectacular bicycle kick from Sosa’s centre, before Kane nearly grabbed his second of the night six minutes later. A great counter-attack saw Bentaleb and substitute Aaron Lennon release Davies down the left, his cut back found the striker lurking on the edge of the area but Kane’s fierce drive was saved by a strong hand low down to his left from Zengin.
It was certainly a night for the keepers, with Lloris once again illustrating his ability with a stunning save to deny Ba on 76 minutes. Oguzhan Ozyakup’s clipped ball into the area was controlled by Ba with one touch and fired goalwards with his next from 12 yards, only for Lloris to get a touch to send it over the bar.
But he was finally beaten from the spot in the 89th minute. Chiriches miskicked a long ball and as he went to challenge with Mustafa Pektemek, the ball brushed his hand in the area. The referee awarded a penalty and Ba tucked home into the bottom right corner of the net.
It was a frantic final few minutes as both sides searched for the winner, but that one clear-cut opportunity never materialised and the points were shared.
Spurs: Lloris, Dier, Chiriches, Fazio, Davies, Bentaleb, Stambouli (Dembele 65), Paulinho (Lennon 60) Kane, Townsend, Soldado (Adebayor 79). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Naughton, Kaboul, Lamela.
Besiktas: Zengin, Kurtulus, Franco, Sivok, Motta, Hutchinson, Kavlak (Ozyakup 65), Tore (Koyunlu 82), Sosa, Sahan (Pektemek 72), Ba. Substitutes (not used): Gonen, Koybasi, Uysal, Gulum.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 27; Besiktas – Ba 89 (penalty).
Yellows: Spurs – Davies, Bentaleb, Fazio; Besiktas - Ba.
Referee: Manuel Grafe (Germany).