Dueling red cards couldn’t open up a dreary affair between London rivals until new boy Eric Dier gave Tottenham a 1-0 stoppage time win over West Ham on Opening Day at Upton Park.
Dier latched onto a Harry Kane through ball deep into stoppage time to give Spurs all three points.
Carlton Cole’s curling effort wide of the goal was the match’s first true chance in the 5th minute. And, for what it’s worth, the Hammers controlled a mostly uneventful first 15 minutes.
As it turned out, the half would feature a great deal of the Hammers parading through the Spurs box to no avail. Corner kicks, free kicks, low passes through the 18… nothing finished but plenty of chances. Kouyate headed just wide in the 26th minute.
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Then controversy struck, as Kyle Naughton earned a red card for raising his hand to block a chance. The PK attempt, however, was missed by Mark Noble. It remained scoreless, but Spurs were down to 10 men.
Here’s the miss:
Spurs, remarkably, held possession for much of the half and even more so after the red card. Yet the teams marched off for half with the score line 0-0.
Tottenham surged forward in the second half, and really had the better of the chances as West Ham boss Sam Allardyce looked for answers.
Yet Pochettino flicked a switch first, bringing on Lewis Holtby for Erik Lamela and Andros Townsend for Aaron Lennon (both in the 61st minute).
And the game was evened up with a second red card, as James Collins was given his second yellow for getting in the way of Emmanuel Adebayor. The Spurs striker seemed to leap into Collins once he pushed the ball too far ahead of his pace.
Townsend came close to sending Spurs ahead, but his 23-yard stinger was pushed over the bar by Adrian.
Then Dier capped the game with a match-winner at the death:
West Ham United: Adrian, O’Brien (Demel, 62′), Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Nolan, Noble, Kouyate, Downing, Cole (Valencia, 81′), Vaz Te (Diame, 69′)
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Rose, Kaboul, Lennon (Townsend, 61′), Adebayor (Kane, 83′), Lamela (Holtby, 61′), Dier, Naughton, Eriksen, Capoue, Bentaleb
Goals: Dier (90+3′)