LONDON: Tottenham manager Antonio Conte lambasted his players after they let a two-goal lead slip to draw 3-3 at Southampton on Saturday, as Chelsea also conceded a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Everton. Spurs looked set to leapfrog Manchester United into third in the Premier League as they led bottom-of-the-table Saints 3-1 with just 13 minutes remaining at St Mary’s.
But Theo Walcott’s first goal in nearly two years and James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time penalty salvaged a vital point for Southampton. “The problem is that for another time we showed that we are not a team,” said Conte. “We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart.” Pedro Porro’s thumping finish had opened the scoring and his account for Tottenham in first-half stoppage time. Southampton responded within a minute of the restart as Che Adams turned in Walcott’s cross.
Speculation continues to surround Harry Kane’s future, but it has not affected the England captain’s form as he rose highest to head in his 21st Premier League goal of the season from Dejan Kulusevski’s cross. Ivan Perisic’s strike from the edge of the box then gave Spurs a two-goal cushion. Yet, even that was not enough for Conte’s men. Walcott side-footed home to set up a grandstand finish and Pape Sarr was then penalized for bringing down Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Tottenham ‘keeper Fraser Forster could not deny his former teammate Ward-Prowse to leave Spurs just two points ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle having played two games more. “I’m very proud,” said Southampton captain Ward-Prowse as his side closed to within two points of safety. “I don’t think we deserved to be 3-1 down but we showed character and the crowd helped us. Once we scored the second one we had all the energy.” Chelsea’s slim hopes of catching the top four all but disappeared with Ellis Simms’ first Everton goal which snatched a point in the 90th minute at Stamford Bridge.
Joao Felix broke the deadlock with an arrowed drive into the far corner six minutes into the second half before Abdoulaye Doucoure headed in from a corner to level. The Toffees quickly undid their good work when a combination of Ben Godfrey and James Tarkowski brought down Reece James inside the area and Kai Havertz coolly sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the penalty spot. But Chelsea failed to hold on for a fourth consecutive win in all competitions as Simms outpaced Kalidou Koulibaly and slotted the ball under Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Leeds win 6-goal thriller
Leeds moved out of the relegation zone after beating fellow strugglers Wolves 4-2 at Molineux. The visitors had won just once in their last 13 league games but stormed into a 3-0 lead. Jack Harrison fired Javi Gracia’s men in front before rare goals for right-backs Luke Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen had appeared to put Leeds out of sight. Two goals in eight minutes gave Wolves hope as Jonny and Matheus Cunha cut the arrears. However, Jonny was sent off for a dangerous studs-up tackle on Ayling and Rodrigo wrapped up the three points which lift Leeds into 14th.
Aston Villa’s fine form under Unai Emery continued as Bournemouth were beaten 3-0 at Villa Park. Douglas Luiz turned home Leon Bailey’s low cross to give the home side the perfect start. Jacob Ramsey then sealed the Cherries’ fate 10 minutes from time before Emiliano Buendia added a third. Victory lifts Villa to within four points of the European places. Brentford missed the chance to go above Liverpool into sixth as they were held 1-1 at home by Leicester. Harvey Barnes cancelled out Mathias Jensen’s opener as Leicester edged a point clear of the bottom three.
No mercy for Burnley
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany endured a nightmare return to Manchester City on Saturday as Erling Haaland scored his sixth hat-trick of the season in a 6-0 rout that sent Pep Guardiola’s men into the FA Cup semi-finals. Kompany, who won four Premier League titles in an 11-year career at City as a player, was given a hero’s reception at the Etihad. But on the pitch City showed no mercy towards their former captain as Haaland took his tally for the season to 42 goals.
Julian Alvarez also scored twice and Cole Palmer netted the other goal as City remained on course for a treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Haaland scored five as RB Leipzig were put to the sword in a 7-0 thrashing in the Champions League in midweek. The Norwegian has now scored at least a hat-trick in six of his 19 appearances at the Etihad this season. “It’s been a good couple of games-important games. (To win) 7-0 and 6-0 before the national team break is impressive. I’m really happy,” said Haaland. “I think we’re in the part of the season where we should be at our best.”
Burnley are storming towards a return to the Premier League in Kompany’s first season in charge. But the Championship leaders were shown the gulf they have to bridge next season by a clinical City display. “It is always a place I am proud to come back but I was also proud to come here with Burnley,” said Kompany. The visitors had started the brighter of the two sides but were undone once Haaland opened the scoring by prodding home Alvarez’s pass on 32 minutes.
Moments later it was 2-0 as Phil Foden was released down the left to square for Haaland to stroke home. City’s number nine completed his hat-trick on the rebound after Foden’s shot came back off the post. His remarkable form has overshadowed Alvarez’s excellent start to his City career. The Argentine World Cup winner signed an extended contract at the Etihad this week celebrated with a double of his own from two Kevin De Bruyne assists. In between times, Palmer scored City’s fifth with a simple tap-in after Bailey Peacock-Farrell parried Foden’s cross.
City are the first team to book their place in the last four with the other three quarter-finals taking place on Sunday. Manchester United host Fulham, while fourth-tier Grimsby aim to produce another huge upset when they travel to in-form Brighton. One Championship side is guaranteed a place at Wembley as Sheffield United host Blackburn. – AFP