Report: Spurs 0-0 Chelsea
English Barclays Premiership
An inspirational display from Carlo Cudicini kept us at bay as Sunday's absorbing derby against Chelsea ended goalless.
While most eyes outside Spurs were on one Italian pre-match, Gianfranco Zola, his compatriot was the name on everyone's lips afterwards.
Cudicini made three saves right out of the top drawer, the best a world-class effort to tip over Jamie Redknapp's free-kick in the first half.
The keeper was there again to deny Gus Poyet in arguably the chance of the game and a Teddy Sheringham corner special in the space of a minute in the second half.
Chelsea also had their say in a thrilling encounter. Zola and the impressive Frank Lampard might have done better well-placed in the first half and Mario Melchiot hit the post after the break.
The first half was, as expected, intense stuff.
Indeed, there was so little time on the ball in midfield it almost became an exercise in one-touch football with Freund and Lampard involved in a fascinating battle in the heart of it.
We had the edge possession-wise and in chances created although with Hasselbaink and Zola weaving their magic, and Lampard joining in late, Chelsea were always a threat.
Zola uncharacteristically fired wide from a tight angle as the visitors carved out the first chance of note after 11 minutes and Keane, having pulled away from Gallas, headed Steve Carr's pinpoint cross wide.
Cudicini's golden moment arrived after 25 minutes. Keane rolled a free-kick to Redknapp who flicked the ball up and hit a wicked, dipping volley towards goal. Cudicini clearly took a step in the wrong direction before somehow recovering to not just reach the ball, but tip it over the bar.
Dean Richards, outstanding again alongside Chris Perry in the heart of defence, whipped the ball off Zola's toe as he found himself in front of goal and Lampard did the hard work after exchanging passes with Hasselbaink but, having turned Richards, was smothered by Keller before getting a shot off.
That was Hasselbaink's last notable contribution as he limped off with a muscle problem just before the break.
There was still time for another fine Cudicini save though, clinging tightly to the ball as Keane hovered from tricky Sheringham free-kick that bounced just in front of him.
Both Glenn Hoddle and Sheringham said afterwards that they felt we gave Chelsea too much respect at the start of the first half and if those words to that effect were said at half-time, it was certainly reflected in a storming start to the second half.
We stepped up another gear and created four good chances in the first eight minutes.
It took just a minute for the first to arrive as Davies and Carr, such a promising combination down the right, forged an opening, Carr crossed to the far post where Keane did well to climb above Gallas but couldn't keep his header down.
Richards' header from Redknapp's corner was hacked off the line five minutes later and Poyet's chance of the match followed as he and Sheringham pressurised Desailly and Gallas, worked an opening and Poyet, suddenly stood right in front of goal, found Cudicini rushing out to block an instinctive effort with his knees.
Redknapp and Sheringham then linked up for the classic 'Sheringham corner' but the skipper's fierce volley was straight at Cudicini, who nevertheless required lightning reactions to tip it over.
If a warning was needed though, it arrived just a couple of minutes later as Zola whipped in a free-kick flicked onto the post by Melchiot with Desailly inches away from what would have been a tap in.
Although the game's energy levels never ceased, chances were few and far between in the final period.
Zola curled a couple of free-kicks into Paxton Road, Gudjohnsen was denied by Perry's tackle and then Keller, Sheringham headed over and, the last effort of note, Sheringham again headed goalwards but the ball stuck to Cudicini like glue.
MINUTE-BY-MINUTE GUIDE TO THE ACTION
7mins: Brilliant, brave diving header away from Richards to out dangerous Hasselbaink cross destined for Lampard.
8mins: Davies tricked and turned his way into the box but shot blocked.
11mins: Best chance of the game so far as Melchiot's slide rule pass found Zola but hurried shot from narrow angle, right side of area, well wide.
13mins: Freund, sliding, fashioned a shot out of nothing but always drifting wide.
15mins: CHANCE. Carr deep cross found Keane beyond Gallas at the far post but headed wide from eight yards.
22mins: Hasselbaink low shot from 25 yards just wide.
25mins: SAVE. Superb save from Cudicini to deny Redknapp's free-kick from 25 yards, made all the better in that the keeper took a step the wrong way before changing direction to tip the ball over.
31mins: Quick free-kick from Petit found Zola with a yard of space, only eight yards out, but Richards in quickly to avert danger.
35mins: Possible foul by Lampard on Redknapp in winning header to launch Chelsea counter, played a quick one-two with Hasselbaink, cut inside Richards but Keller out to gather.
40mins: Decent free-kick routine Petit into Zola, to Hasselbaink back to Lampard to shoot but combination of bodies all threw themselves in to take pace off the ball.
41mins: Deep cross from Sheringham looking for Poyet at far post, poor clearance fell to the midfielder but snatched at the chance and volleyed wide.
43mins: SUB. Hasselbaink appeared to pull muscle after going up for header with Perry. Replaced by Gudjohnsen.
45mins: Sheringham curling free-kick gathered well by Cudicini as Keane prepared to pounce on any loose ball.
Half-time: Spurs 0-0 Chelsea
46mins: CHANCE. Lovely move as Davies dinked in a ball to overlapping Carr, he stood up a cross to the far post where Keane climbed above Gallas but couldn't keep his header down.
51mins: OFF LINE. Richards header from Redknapp's deep corner hacked away.
52mins: CHANCE. Richards flicked on Davies long throw, Sheringham and Poyet worked an opening, Poyet suddenly in front of goal, eight yards out, chance blocked by Cudicini's legs.
53mins: SAVE. Another superb intervention by Cudicini from the 'Sheringham corner' as the skipper's shot skidded up off the surface only for the keeper to tip over.
56mins: WOODWORK. Menacing Zola free-kick flicked onto the post by Melchiot with Desailly inches away from what would have been a tap in.
57mins: Quick free-kick and one-two between Carr and Davies sent Carr into the box, difficult chance headed over by Sheringham.
62mins: Zola free-kick sailed a yard wide.
63mins: YELLOW. Morris for foul on Davies.
65mins: Gudjohnsen break, exchanged passes with Zola, first effort blocked by Perry, second comfortable save for Keller.
66mins: YELLOW. Sheringham for foul on Morris.
72mins: SUB. Acimovic for Poyet.
74mins: YELLOW. Acimovic for foul on De Lucas.
76mins: YELLOW. De Lucas for dragging back Davies.
77mins: Towering Sheringham header from Redknapp's corner but ball stuck to Cudicini again.
80mins: YELLOW. Keller for kicking ball away.
86mins: Zola inches away from Lampard cross.
86mins: SUB. Oliveira for De Lucas.
89mins: SUB. Ferdinand for Sheringham.
Line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Carr, Freund, Bunjevcevic, Perry, Sheringham (Ferdinand, 89), Poyet (Acimovic, 72), Redknapp, Keane, Davies, Richards. Subs: Hirschfeld, Etherington, Gardner.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Babayaro, Desailly, Lampard, Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen, 44), Gallas, Melchiot, Petit, Morris, De Lucas (Oliveira, 86), Zola. Subs: Pidgeley, Ferrer, Terry.