x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

West Ham's Green gives Tottenham Champions League blues

The qualification hopes for the Spurs take a hit after the goalkeeper forces a goalless draw.

LONDON // Tottenham's Champions League qualification hopes were stymied by West Ham United goalkeeper Robert Green and the goal-frame on Saturday after the team was held to a 0-0 draw by its relegation-threatened London rival.

Green tipped Gareth Bale's free kick onto the crossbar and twice denied Roman Pavlyuchenko late in a dominant but frustrating match for Tottenham in the Premier League.

Jermain Defoe spurned several chances to score his 100th Tottenham goal, while Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon hit the goal-frame in the first half.

"If we had got one today we could have won quite comfortably," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. "We passed the ball great and made a lot of chances but couldn't get the break today."

The draw gives Chelsea - in the fourth and final Champions League spot - a chance to move five points ahead of Tottenham by beating Manchester City on Sunday.

West Ham ended the match a point above the relegation zone, but results later Saturday could return the team to the bottom three.

"We defended well as a team - the back four had to do its job," West Ham captain Matthew Upson said. "Rob Green made a couple of outstanding saves and kept us in it. It's a good result for us."

It was the first time the Hammers had not conceded a goal in an away league match this season.

"They defended well but we kept hitting the woodwork," Redknapp said "They rode their luck at times."

After only three minutes, Luka Modric's curling shot hit the bar and Bale then cut a low cross inside the box for Defoe, who flicked a shot just wide.

Carlton Cole wasted West Ham's best first-half chance by shooting straight at goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, however the visitors were otherwise on the back foot.

Modric curled a shot wide after beating his marker on the edge of the penalty area, before picking out Rafael van der Vaart with a short corner that the Netherlands forward volleyed wide.

Before halftime, Lennon struck the post after racing down the right, with Defoe shooting wide after being caught by surprise by the rebound.

West Ham nearly went ahead at the start of the second half. Cole turned William Gallas on the edge of the penalty area and forced Gomes into making a one-handed save.

Green kept the scores level with a quick reaction save with his legs from Defoe's shot from six meters out.

But West Ham looked more comfortable in the second half, with Cole having an appeal for a penalty turned down after Dawson appeared to push the striker as he went up for a header.

And Demba Ba unleashed a 25-metre shot that Gomes blocked with a diving one-handed save.

Pavlyuchenko fluffed a chance to put Tottenham ahead from close range, but then almost immediately made up for his failure, drawing a save from Green with a long-range strike.

Green was called into action again to tip Bale's shot onto the bar, before Defoe and Modric blasted shots well over his goal in the closing minutes.

Redknapp was frustrated by the draw, and by Van der Vaart deciding to head straight down the tunnel after being substituted with around 20 minutes to go.

"I don't like that," Redknapp said. "I'll talk to him about that. If you're part of a team, you should stay and watch the game. He's a good lad and I just made a substitution."