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 Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 15:54 GMT
Spurs let Arsenal off hook
Spurs goalkeeper Kasey Keller fouls Arsenal's Thierry Henry to concede a first-half penalty
Keller pulls down Henry to concede the penalty
Spurs 1-1 Arsenal

Tottenham threw away a winning ticket in the north London lottery as goalkeeper Kasey Keller gifted Arsenal an equaliser at White Hart Lane.

The giant American keeper inexplicably raced off his line on the stroke of half time and pulled down Thierry Henry in the area.

Robert Pires converted the resulting penalty to snatch a point from the 132nd north London derby.

Christian Ziege's stunning 30-yard free kick had put Spurs in the driving seat on 15 minutes.

But they failed to press home their advantage and allowed Arsenal a way back into the game.

Key moments
11 mins: Ziege lashes free-kick in from 30 yards
15 mins: Keane header cleared off line by Cole
45 mins: Pires rescues Arsenal from penalty spot
65 mins: Brilliant Seaman save denies Keane again
The home side started at a furious pace and Arsenal struggled to compete in the opening exchanges.

Steven Carr's passionate approach to the game suggested recent reports linking him with a move across north London were woefully wide of the mark.

And if the Spurs full-back did make a move to Highbury, it is unlikely he would end up rooming with Thiery Henry, judging by the running verbal battle the pair pursued.

In fact, there were warning signs all over the pitch for Arsenal, not least on 10 minutes when Gustavo Poyet tumbled under an innocuous challenge from Ray Parlour.

The Uruguayan's penalty appeals fell on deaf ears but so too did the Arsenal alarm bells as, within a minute, the home side were deservedly in front.

We did enough to win it and I am very proud of the way we played

Glenn Hoddle

Sol Campbell's trip on Poyet was punished this time and Ziege lashed home the free-kick from 30 yards, his shot curling away from Seaman's reach.

The lead was no more than Spurs deserved but they should have extended their lead.

Twice Ashley Cole came to Arsenal's rescue with goal-line clearances to deny Robbie Keane.

First, he headed off the line to keep out Keane's sharp header and then he scrambled the lively striker's shot away with Seaman beaten.

Christian Ziege puts Spurs ahead with a free-kick on 11 minutes
Ziege lashes home a 30-yard free kick

Arsenal, with the injured Patrick Vieira conspicuous by his absence, were simply unable to compete with their north London rivals.

It took the Gunners 25 minutes to manage an attempt on goal, Parlour's shot deflecting off targe and Gilberto Silva heading wide from the resulting corner.

And it was almost half time before Keller was finally tested, Henry's header from a Freddie Ljungberg cross superbly pushed away.

It starts to get serious now - every point becomes important because the situation is very tight

Arsene Wenger

Keller's decision-making though, was not as sharp as his reflexes.

Two minutes later, his decision to race off his line to try to outsprint the lightning quick Henry proved disastrous as the striker reached the ball first and was felled by the sliding American.

Pires gratefully accepted the early Christmas present, slotting home the spot-kick low to Keller's left to send Arsenal in level at the end of a half totally dominated by the home side.

Inevitably, the champions were lifted by that let-off, though either side could have won it in a tense second half.

Henry's dazzling feet saw him dance past three defenders before squaring for Dennis Bergkamp, whose shot was blocked by the outstanding Carr.

And Keane was again denied twice, Seaman winning a one-on-one that favoured the striker and then producing an outstanding point-blank save to keep out Keane's volley.


Tottenham: Keller, Bunjevcevic, King, Richards, Ziege, Poyet, Anderton (Davies 71), Freund, Carr, Sheringham, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Hirschfeld, Perry, Iversen, Clemence.

Booked: Keller, Sheringham, Freund.

Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg (Toure 87), Parlour, Silva, Pires (van Bronckhorst 80), Henry, Bergkamp (Wiltord 71).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Upson.

Booked: Lauren, Parlour.

Attendance: 36,076.

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's John Motson
"Arsenal were hanging on for much of the match"
 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"It's a good point for us"
 Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle
"I'm chuffed with the way we've played"
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