By Martyn Herman
(Reuters) – – Tottenham Hotspur endured a night of frustration against London rivals West Ham United but were spared a shock defeat as Son Heung-min salvaged a 1-1 draw with a stunning late equalizer at Wembley on Thursday.
Good as Son’s long-range swerving effort seven minutes from time was, it was still only the second-best goal of the night after Pedro Obiang’s 70th-minute screamer put West Ham within sight of a smash-and-grab raid.
Tottenham, bidding to become the only top-flight club to take 12 points from the hectic holiday program and close on the Premier League’s top four, spent all night trying to pick a way through the claret and blue barricade in front of them.
They ended the contest with 31 attempts to West Ham’s three but were staring a costly defeat in the face when Obiang scored with the visitors’ first attempt on goal.
On a rare foray forward the midfielder found himself in space and belted a right-foot shoot that left Spurs keeper clawing at thin air as the ball whistled into the top corner.
Tottenham poured forward in a desperate search to salvage something and Son delivered when he lashed a 25-metre effort past Adrian to finally puncture West Ham’s resistance.
“Today we had 31 attempts and we needed an amazing goal from Son (to get a point),” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters.
“But that is football. We deserved the three points but we have to be happy because when you concede a goal to their first chance it can complicated. We had to keep calm.”
West Ham manager David Moyes said he was left in “disbelief” when Obiang produced his scorcher that looked likely to give his side a vital victory in their battle to pull clear of danger.
“I’m thrilled to come away with a point, Spurs have some really exciting young talent, I have seen them beat Real Madrid here, beat teams by four or five,” Moyes said.
“Spurs had so many chances but there is another side to football if you haven’t got the best players.”
The draw left Tottenham in fifth place, three points behind Liverpool in the battle for Champions League qualification, while West Ham edged up to 15th spot, two points above the drop zone, after one losing only once in their last seven league games.
Both sides had played 48 hours before and fatigue showed at times on a rainy night at Tottenham’s temporary home.
For all their territorial domination Tottenham’s end product was lacking with top scorer Harry Kane guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance from Serge Aurier’s knock-down in the first half.
Adrian rescued his side seconds before halftime with an acrobatic save to keep out Christian Eriksen’s deflected shot.
The pattern continued in the second half with Kane, who has scored seven times in previous clashes with West Ham, Dele Alli and Eriksen peppering the West Ham goal.
A scrappy affair was heading for stalemate before the two astonishing late strikes gave the fans something to remember.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)