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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Tottenham's Hugo Lloris saves last-minute Arsenal penalty in crazy end to North London derby

Spurs captain keeps out Aubameyang's spot kick after Kane's penalty had cancelled out Ramsey's earlier effort while Arsenal substitute Torreira shown straight red card

Two goals, two penalties, one red card and multiple flash points - the 185th North London derby had more twists and turns than the Formula Rossa roller-coaster at Ferrari World as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal played out a thrilling 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Harry Kane's penalty cancelled out Aaron Ramsey's earlier effort for Arsenal while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang denied his teammate a fitting farewell against the old enemy when he fluffed his lines from 12 yards against Hugo Lloris in the 89th minute.

It proved a bad day for Arsenal substitutes as Lucas Torreira was shown a straight red card in the dying seconds for a reckless challenge on Danny Rose.

“It was another good derby, a passionate one, it had a bit of everything," Kane told the BBC. "In the first half we were disappointed; we created a few chances but were not clinical enough. The second half was just about fighting for the team and club and we did that and we got the goal we deserved. Towards the end of the game it went a bit crazy."

The point keeps Spurs third and maintains their four-point advantage over their bitter rivals following back-to-back league defeats against Burnley and Chelsea.

Aaron Ramsey's final North London fixture almost proved a fitting one. The Welshman will sign off after a decade of service with Arsenal in the summer to join Serie A giants Juventus and the midfielder's 16th-minute goal looked like giving fans another happy memento to take home from Wembley.

Ramsey has won three FA Cups with the Gunners at the national stadium and already made his mark in December's reverse fixture at the Emirates with two assists in a 4-2 win.

It was the Welshman's finishing that was on display on Saturday though. Eleven of Ramsey's last 12 league goals have been scored in the capital but it came with a helping hands from slack Spurs defending.

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Reuters
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Reuters

Just days after Kieran Trippier's comical own goal in a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, Davidson Sanchez was the culprit this time around after failing top clear his lines as the last defender.

The Colombian centre-back headed a clearance downwards instead of back into the mix to launch a Spurs attack. The ball fell to Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette who played his teammate into an ocean of green and Ramsey showed a cool head to round Lloris and slot home.

The angry reaction of Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino on the touchline was understandable. The goal was infinitely preventable: Arsenal had 10 players in their own half when Ramsey scored.

A Kane header in the 23rd-minute header from a Trippier free kick was rightly ruled out for offside. Lloris pulled off a fine save to keep out Alex Iwobi's curling just before the break as Spurs struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Pochettino's prosaic side had failed to register a single shot on target against Chelsea in midweek and that worrying stat continued until the 43rd minute against their North London neighbours.

When they did muster a shot at Benrd Leno's goal the Arsenal goalkeeper pulled off a sublime double save to keep Spurs at bay. First the German kept out Christian Eriksen's close-range volley and then somehow readjusted his body in time to tip Moussa Sissoko's follow-up over the bar.

Lacazette missed a gilt-edged chance to double Arsenal's advantage seven minutes after the restart but sliced Nacho Monreal's cutback horribly wide.

Toby Alderweireld drilled a volley into the side netting as Tottenham showed more adventure going forward. Erik Lamela was introduced for Victor Wanyama to add more attacking thrust and the Argentine's long-range effort just past the hour mark had Leno scrambling across his goal.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery's complaints about Spurs' equaliser on 73 minutes were well founded.

The Spaniard, one of several voices pushing for the inclusion of VAR this season instead of next, questioned why Shkodran Mustafi was penalised for clattering Kane at a free kick when the Spurs striker was stood in an offside position when the ball was delivered. Kane duly dispatched the penalty, sending Leno the wrong way, for his ninth goal against Arsenal in as many meetings against the Gunners.

"One month ago I said to everybody VAR is coming forward; it is difficult to referees," Emery said. "You can analyse with TV - it is easy - but referees can't use that now. Maybe today's match is different, but I understand it is difficult. The referee is a big personality it is not easy to balance the two teams, but I like this referee."

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty kick. EPA
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty kick. EPA

If that penalty was dubious, the one Arsenal were awarded in the last minute was just as suspect. Sanchez tangled with Aubameyang in the area before the Arsenal substitute went down under minimal contact. The Arsenal substitute stood before Lloris with a chance to score the goal to divide the capital. His effort was too close to the Spurs captain, who pushed the Gabonese's effort wide, but the goalkeeper was indebted to the quick thinking of his defender Jan Vertonghen, who was alert to cover the centre of Lloris' goal to block from Aubameyang when a goal looked inevitable.

As if the match needed any more drama, Torreira, on for Ramsey in his final North London derby, was shown a straight red card for a shin-high lunge on Spurs defender Rose in the dying embers of the match.

Updated: March 2, 2019 08:22 PM

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