Draw at Palace secures European spot
Crystal Palace 1-1 Spurs
Sun 26 July 2020, 18:05|Tottenham Hotspur
We will be playing European football for the 11th successive season next term after picking up a vital point against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.
Needing to better the result of Wolves in their game at Chelsea, we drew 1-1 in south London thanks to Harry Kane’s early goal, while Wolves went down 2-0 at Stamford Bridge which meant we climbed above them into sixth in the Premier League, a position which guarantees our place in next season’s Europa League.
Kane scored his 18th league goal of the campaign to fire us ahead in the 13th minute, but that was cancelled out by Jeffrey Schlupp’s finish eight minutes after the interval. It led to a scrappy second half as we looked to hold onto the result, with chances few and far between for both sides. But it was the final outcome that mattered most and we did what was required on the last day of the elongated season.
Jose Mourinho made his first change to the starting line-up since the derby win against Arsenal on 12 July, and the following wins against Newcastle United and Leicester City, with Eric Dier back from suspension and in for Davinson Sanchez to partner Toby Alderweireld in central defence. Dele was also back and came off the bench after missing five games with a hamstring issue.
Giovani Lo Celso tested Vicente Guaita in the fourth minute but the Palace keeper saved comfortably, before we opened the scoring nine minutes later. Lo Celso was stronger in the tackle than James McArthur and came away with the ball 30 yards from goal. He slipped a pass in to Kane, who controlled with his left foot and shot with his right, low into the bottom corner past Guaita. A couple of swift counter-attacks almost brought about further opportunities to extend our advantage but the final ball was just missing on each occasion and instead, it was Palace with the next shot on target, Hugo Lloris gathering Schlupp’s low 20-yard drive.
Lucas Moura produced an incredible mazy run to weave past three defenders and then beat Guiata to the ball on the corner of the six-yard box, sliding it across the face of goal but no-one was there to tap home. With a lead to defend, we were quite content to drop back and allow Palace to have the ball in front of us, then springing a counter whenever we won back possession. The hosts also had a string of corners and free-kicks which they sent into the area, but we defended resolutely and without too much concern, taking our narrow advantage into the interval.
Just two minutes into the second half, Alderweireld glanced a Lo Celso corner just over the crossbar but the scores were level in the 53rd minute. A deep corner from James McCarthy was headed back by Scott Dann towards Jordan Ayew, who missed his kick, but the ball rolled kindly for Schlupp and he slammed it into the roof of the net. Lucas went close on the hour mark, volleying Ben Davies’ inviting cross just wide, while there was a scary moment at the other end as Joel Ward’s cross from the right took a slight deflection on its way into the box and hit the near post before we cleared our lines.
There was very little goalmouth action of note in the final quarter of the contest as both sides struggled to find any real rhythm in attacking areas, neither goalkeeper being tested at all. We made changes to freshen it up throughout the last 30 minutes, although we had one final scare when Dann headed just wide from Luka Milivojevic’s cross in the 92nd minute, but the final whistle blew a minute later to call time on our 2019/20 season – a unique campaign of football which will never be forgotten in the history of the game.
We went into the game hungry to secure our place in Europe and Kane's goal gave us an ideal early footing. It was terrific play from Lo Celso and Kane, the midfielder making sure he came out of a challenge with the ball before feeding the striker, who took one quick touch and then finished clinically in the blink of an eye, inside the near post. Palace later cancelled out our lead, but the draw means we're in the hat for the Europa League next term.
Jose told Spurs TV afterwards: "Today was not easy and when Palace scored, it was the time for me to want to know what was going on at Stamford Bridge and when I was told 2-0 (Chelsea beating Wolves) I thought that’s the moment, also I didn’t feel the team was really strong to attack the victory. I made a decision then that we needed to control the game in a different way, to get the point, qualify, and goodbye season. Goodbye season and we go to the Europa League draw."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Crystal Palace 1-1 Spurs
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Guaita, Ward, Dann (c), Kouyate, Mitchell, Townsend, McArthur (Riedewald 71), McCarthy, Schlupp (Milivojevic 85), Zaha, Ayew. Substitutes (not used): Hennessey, Kelly, Woods, Meyer, Kirby, Perrick, Gordon.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies, Winks, Sissoko (Skipp 79), Lucas (Sanchez 90+3), Lo Celso (Bergwijn 60), Son (Dele 79), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Tanganga, Vertonghen, Sessegnon, Lamela.
Goals: Crystal Palace – Schlupp 53; Spurs – Kane 13.
Yellow cards: Crystal Palace – McCarthy, Mitchell, Kouyate; Spurs – Alderweireld, Dier.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Venue: Selhurst Park.
Weather: Light cloud, gentle breeze, 22 degrees.