Villa hold 10-man Spurs to draw

Villa hold 10-man Spurs to draw
By Eurosport

06/05/2012 at 23:01Updated 07/05/2012 at 07:30

Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League hopes remain in the balance after they played out a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Ciaran Clark's speculative 35th-minute shot - which went in via a big deflection off William Gallas – was cancelled out just past the hour mark by an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty.

The equaliser came after Tottenham had been reduced to 10 men when Danny Rose was sent off for a dangerous lunge on former Spurs right-back Alan Hutton.

The point all but secures Villa's top-flight status for another season ahead of the final round of fixtures next weekend.

Villa are now three points off relegation ahead of their trip to Norwich, although they would need to lose at Carrow Road and see a 17-goal swing in goal difference between them and Bolton Wanderers. Spurs remain in fourth place, a point above Newcastle and one behind Arsenal, as they prepare to face Fulham at home next Sunday.

Spurs will be left wondering how they were once again denied a win after playing by far the better football – they had 21 shots and 19 corners in all. This latest failure to convert their dominance into victory leaves their grasp on a place in next season's Champions League far from firm.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Bale set the tone early on when the former surged down the left flank and picked out the latter in the centre. Play was shifted across the field and Aaron Lennon's ball from the right was hit across the face of goal from Adebayor.

There was a nervous moment for the visitors on 11 minutes when Villa had an appeal for a penalty. Kyle Walker – who had a spell on loan at Villa last season – played the ball right to the feet of Stephen Ireland. Emile Heskey latched on to the Irish midfielder's through ball and headed for goal, only for Younes Kaboul to bring him down inside the area. Referee Lee Probert waved play on despite Heskey's vehement appeal.

Heskey was in the wars for much of the match. Kaboul would go on to pick up a booking for a foul on the forward, who at one point had to limp off the pitch for treatment after an excellent recovering tackle from Sandro.

Against the run of play, Villa took the lead with 10 minutes of the first half remaining. Clark had little on when the ball was played to his feet some 35 yards from goal, and he ambitious effort took a big deflection off Gallas that looped out of former Villa keeper Brad Friedel's reach. It was Clark's first league goal of the season. All four of his career goals in the division have come against London clubs.

Bale could have struck either side of Clark's opener, heading wide from Rafael van der Vaart's cross before his solid left-footed strike was kept out by a fine diving save from Shay Given.

Half the ground then thought Van der Vaart had levelled just before the break when a short corner routine led to him being teed up for a shot from the edge of the box, but the Dutchman's strike flew wide with Given beaten.

Five minutes into the second half Spurs were a man down as well as goal down when Rose leapt in with a dangerous, studs-up lunge that connected full with Hutton's leg. Probert immediately reached for his pocket and sent Rose off, while Hutton was understandably substituted soon afterwards.

In spite of that, the visitors drew level when Richard Dunne slid in to challenge Sandro's run across the box but could only meet the man and not the ball. Adebayor coolly sent Given the wrong way from the spot for his 16th league goal of the season.

As the game wore on, Villa began to retreat further into their own half. Despite having the extra man, they showed little intention of doing anything other than hanging on for their 17th draw of the season, matching an all-time Premier League record shared by themselves from six seasons ago and by Newcastle in 2003-04.