West Ham fightback blights Bale’s return for Tottenham
Gareth Bale’s second Tottenham debut was ruined by a stunning West Ham fightback from 3-0 down in the final eight minutes to draw 3-3 on Sunday.
Manuel Lanzini’s sensational long-range strike into the top corner capped the comeback after Fabian Balbuena’s header and Davinson Sanchez’s own goal resurrected David Moyes’s men.
Spurs raced to a 3-0 lead within 18 minutes as the free-scoring combination of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min looked to have Jose Mourinho’s side cruising towards a win that would have put them second in the table.
The opener came inside the opening minute as Kane’s sumptuous long pass in behind the West Ham defence picked out Son and the South Korean cut inside to curl into the far corner.
The roles were reversed for Kane’s first goal as the England captain produced a stunning piece of skill with a nutmeg on his marker before firing low into the bottom corner.
Sergio Reguilon also made the move from Real Madrid to Tottenham last month and his rampaging runs from left-back are reminiscent of Bale’s early days at Spurs before the Welshman pushed further up the field.
The Spaniard set up Kane’s second with a pinpoint cross for the striker to head home at the far post.
Only a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski prevented Son also registering a double in a blistering opening quarter from Spurs.
Mourinho lauded Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as a “genius” for the deals he made in the transfer market to give his manager a depth of squad capable of challenging for trophies.
That was shown as Bale was then introduced as a substitute and showed no lack of confidence by striking a free-kick with his first touch but the ball flew straight into Fabianski’s grasp.
Kane came within inches of sealing his hat-trick with a shot from outside the box that hit the post, but Tottenham’s defensive deficiencies saw a comfortable afternoon completely unravel.
Balbuena’s header from Aaron Creswell’s free-kick started the collapse before Sanchez turned a dangerous ball across the box into his own net.
Bale should have sealed the three points and a dream debut but he flashed a shot wide with just Fabianski to beat as the game entered stoppage time.
And that would come back to haunt Mourinho’s men when a Cresswell free-kick was only cleared to the edge of the box and Lanzini arrowed an unstoppable shot high past Hugo Lloris.
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