Match report as Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son miss key chances for Tottenham; Eintracht Frankfurt also failed to find the net in an end-to-end Champions League encounter; Spurs remain second in Group D on goal difference ahead of next week's return match against the Germans
Wednesday 5 October 2022 11:07, UK
Tottenham were left to rue a string of wasted chances as they were held to a frenetic 0-0 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, missing the chance to go top of Group D in the Champions League.
Tottenham's Ivan Perisic said ahead of this game, following on from Spurs' lacklustre 3-1 defeat to Arsenal: "It is a new day, a new game. We have to react."
Well, that reaction did not quite come in the shape of three points, although Tottenham certainly improved in their overall play.
However, just a few weeks after dispatching six goals past Leicester in the Premier League, Spurs struggled to find the finishing touch. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, in particular, saw efforts they would usually bury sail wide of the target.
Kane also took a few knocks to his knee in either half and looked to be in some pain shortly after the second, but completed the game - much to the relief of Spurs and England fans alike.
Despite the scoreline, it was an end-to-end encounter, with Eintracht Frankfurt also guilty of wasting chances. Neither side was able to capitalise on Marseille's 4-1 win against Sporting Lisbon earlier on Tuesday, with the Portuguese team remaining top of the group at the halfway stage.
Tottenham and Frankfurt remain locked on four points ahead of the return leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Wednesday, with Spurs in second on goal difference.
Spurs began brightly as they looked to put Saturday's north London derby disappointment behind them. Son fired in a short free-kick, with both Cristian Romero and Kane missing the delivery.
Frankfurt then had their best spell of the first half - Sebastian Rode's effort was blocked behind before Randal Kolo Muani's clipped shot was punched away by Hugo Lloris at the near post. Jesper Lindstrom then fired from range, but Spurs managed to block the shot.
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Romero (6), Dier (7), Lenglet (6), Emerson (7), Hojbjerg (7), Bentancur (7), Perisic (6), Richarlison (5), Kane (6), Son (6).
Subs used: Sessegnon (6), Gil (n/a), Davies (n/a).
The visitors should have gone into the break with a few goals on the board. In the 25th minute, Son flashed a wonderful centre through the six-yard box, but a sliding Kane missed it before clattering into the back of the net himself. The pair linked up again soon after, but Kane again fired wide from 22 yards out.
The England international then turned provider, flicking a sublime ball into Son's path before the latter strode into the area. However, his own fierce drive from distance was mere inches wide.
Ten minutes into the second half, and both sides had chances. Lloris made a superb save to deny Ansgar Knauff before Son once again fired wide as Tottenham continued to see chances pass them by.
On the hour, Frankfurt again tested Spurs with some good pressing play. Romero was put under pressure after a Lloris pass, with an Eric Dier deflection sending the ball into Lindstrom's path. However, he also slashed his effort over the bar.
Tottenham were arguably lucky to end the game with 11 men as Clement Lenglet put his arm across Lindstrom to keep the forward from breaking late on, bringing him down. The defender was already on a yellow card, but the referee did not show another.
Sky Sports' Lewis Jones:
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg articulated Tottenham's main issue against Frankfurt perfectly.
He told BT Sport: "We prepared well up until the 18-yard box, finding the spaces well to get in behind them. We needed to breathe and then put it in."
Spurs played with much more spark, enthusiasm and bravery than in their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday but the same underlying problem haunted their game.
A lack of care with their final ball.
Heung-Min Son was the guiltiest party, making rash and rushed decisions either with his finishing or that killer last pass. Despite his tubthumping hat-trick against Leicester, it's not really happening for him this season.
All three shots against Frankfurt failed to hit the target and although his first-half effort following a fantastic flick from Harry Kane was inches from finding the top corner it was still a rather snatched effort. As his team-mate Hojbjerg referenced, taking a breath may help the South Korean in those moments.
Dejan Kulusevski is someone who is a master of taking care of that final ball and his hamstring injury issue is becoming a worry looking at the last 180 minutes of action that has only seen Spurs score from the penalty spot.
They are usually a deadly clinical side but without the influence of their flying winger - whose assist record in the Premier League (11) is only bettered by Kevin De Bruyne since his debut on February 5 - Spurs are lacking the required guile to score at important times in matches.
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte to BT Sport:
"It was a good match. We played a match with great intensity, we didn't allow them to play their football and we pressed a lot of every area of the pitch.
"At the same time, we need to be more clinical because we created many chances to score and instead, at the end, we are talking about a draw. It's a good draw because it's not easy to play away in this atmosphere with a lot of noise around us, but I think my players coped with the situation very well.
"We played a good game, but we know very well that if you don't score, you don't win and at least you draw.
"For me, the most important thing is to create chances and to score them. There are moments where you are more clinical and with every chance you go to score, there are moments like the game against Arsenal and today that you create chances but sometimes you make a mistake in the last pass so you arrive one second later or you shoot it out.
"But it's important to create chances. The game was good for us, we played with a great personality here. Then, we will see. In one week, we have another game against them."
Sky Sports' Clinton Morrison on Soccer Special:
"It wasn't a great performance. They'll take the point and they need to beat Frankfurt next week because that group is tight. If Frankfurt go to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next week and beat them, Spurs will struggle to get out of the group.
"The game lacked quality. There weren't a lot of chances created, both sides had two shots on target and it was a disappointing result.
"Frankfurt are a decent team, but Tottenham are far superior. They're missing Kulusevski at the moment. I'm also looking at Bentancur and Hojbjerg in their midfield and thinking 'who is the midfielder who is going to play that incisive pass?'.
"They're both good midfielders, but they're missing that creative spark. Without Kulusevski, they struggle.
"It was a difficult night but at the end of it, Conte will be happy taking a point and hopefully they can get a win next week."
Tottenham head to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm; kick-off 5.30pm.
Spurs are back in Champions League action on Wednesday October 12 as they welcome Frankfurt to north London for the return fixture; kick-off 8pm.