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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Tottenham 1-1 Blackburn
By Ian Hughes

Jermain Defoe
Defoe celebrates scoring Tottenham's equaliser
Tottenham boosted their hopes of automatic qualification for the Uefa Cup, while ending Blackburn's chances, after a closely-fought draw.

Rovers took the lead on 32 minutes when Morten Gamst Pedersen's peach of a cross was headed in by Benni McCarthy.

After the break, Rovers' Christopher Samba headed against the bar before Jermain Defoe tapped in to equalise.

Robbie Keane almost snatched victory but hit the post in injury time before Jason Roberts was sent off.

Both sides went into the game with European qualification in their sights - Blackburn's chances slimmer than Tottenham's as Rovers needed two wins from their final two games of the season and other results to go their way on Sunday.

606: DEBATE

Spurs, though, would have secured their place in next season's Uefa Cup with a win - as they needed only two more points.

Now Martin Jol's side know a point from their final match of the season against Manchester City at home on Sunday will guarantee a top-seven finish.

It looked for the first 30 minutes that neither side was capable of earning a win.

Both teams lacked fluency in the opening half an hour, and Spurs' rhythm was further disrupted after Steed Malbranque limped off - the result of an earlier tackle by Aaron Mokoena - to be replaced by Hossam Ghaly.

A weak Anthony Gardner header and, later, Pascal Chimbonda's limp header when totally unmarked, were the only Spurs efforts on goal of any note.

Blackburn were no better, with a seventh-minute Pedersen shot, which went wide, their only attempt.

But when Pedersen delivered a magnificent cross to the far post on 32 minutes, McCarthy superbly guided his header back across goal and into the corner.

For the rest of the half, Blackburn found it easy to keep Spurs at bay, while looking more dangerous on the counter-attack.

Whatever was said in the dressing rooms at half-time, and presumably Martin Jol asked his team for more urgency while Mark Hughes asked his for more of the same, the game woke from its slumber after the interval.

Quickly, Dimitar Berbatov had a sight of goal when he curled in a free-kick but Brad Friedel palmed the ball up and gathered at the second attempt.

With the rain teeming down, and the match potentially sliding away from Tottenham, Keane was introduced on 60 minutes - and off went substitute Ghaly, who threw his sodden shirt on the ground in disgust and stormed off down the tunnel, much to the annoyance of the Spurs' faithful.

Ghaly would not have seen his side get a massive slice of good fortune straight after his exit as Samba headed against the underside of the bar from another precise Pedersen delivery.

That stirred Spurs into raising their tempo and a moment of brilliance from Berbatov drew them level.

The striker twisted his way into space before firing a low drive across goal, which Friedel could only parry and Defoe slotted in the rebound.

Now the home side were in the ascendancy and Michael Dawson had a chance to grab some glory but he directed his header wide.

Then on 91 minutes, Keane had a chance to snatch all three points but he saw his shot fizz past Friedel and come back off the foot of the post.

Frustration boiled over for Rovers and Roberts was sent off after a second yellow card for dissent - but it was too late to impact on the game.


  • Spurs coach Martin Jol:
    "I'm a very happy man if we could be in the top six. That is the target, you could say we had a fine season.

    "We need a point. I would have loved three against Blackburn but they played in an organised way."

    On Hossam Ghaly throwing down his shirt after being substituted: "You can't do that so we will deal with that.

    "We always deal with that sort of thing, we will deal with it internally."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "I thought we were excellent in the first half, trapping Tottenham in areas they didn't want to be and also creating chances ourselves.

    "We were good value for our lead. We are disappointed with their goal because we weren't under huge pressure.

    "Overall, I felt a draw was as much as either team could expect."


    Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, King, Gardner, Lennon, Zokora, Tainio, Malbranque (Ghaly 29), Berbatov, Defoe, Ghaly (Keane 60).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Huddlestone, Ifil.

    Goals: Defoe 67.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Kerimoglu (Gallagher 90), Mokoena (Derbyshire 76), Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts.
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Henchoz, Berner.

    Sent Off: Roberts (90).

    Booked: Mokoena, Pedersen, Roberts.

    Goals: McCarthy 32.

    Att: 35,974

    Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).



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