Cenk Tosun’s header eight minutes into stoppage time salvaged a 1-1 draw for Everton against Tottenham in a match overshadowed by a broken ankle suffered by Everton midfielder Andre Gomes.
Spurs’ Son Heung-min was shown a straight red card for his foul on the Portuguese international, but the injury occurred as Gomes’s momentum saw him crash into Serge Aurier.
“It is a bad moment for us as a group and as a team. It’s more than a football game, this is the most important thing right now,” said Everton manager Marco Silva.
Tottenham led 1-0 at that stage thanks to Dele Alli’s strike just after the hour mark.
The injury to Gomes proved a turning point with Son visibly upset even before he was shown a red card.
“He (Son) is devastated and in tears,” said Alli. “It’s not his fault. Son is one of nicest people you’ve ever met. He can’t even lift his head up, he’s crying so much.”
Later Sunday, Everton confirmed the 26-year-old former Barcelona star Gomes had broken his right ankle and will undergo surgery on Monday.
“Everton Football Club can confirm Andre Gomes will undergo surgery after sustaining an ankle injury in today’s game with Tottenham Hotspur,” the Merseysiders said in a statement.
“After undergoing hospital tests, it was confirmed he had suffered a fracture dislocation to his right ankle. The club will provide further updates in due course.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said his club had the utmost sympathy for Gomes.
“We feel very sorry,” he said. “Was a really bad situation, very bad luck how he landed in the action.
“We can only send our best wishes and (we are) devastated for the situation.”
However, Pochettino believed the red card shown to Son was harsh, particularly as referee Martin Atkinson had first produced a yellow card prior to seeing Gomes’s injury.
“I cannot agree with the red card of Sonny,” added Pochettino.
“VAR must help the referee, I don’t know what is going on and what happens with this tool. Rather than help the referee it is creating more confusion.”
Both managers were left frustrated at the use of VAR as both sides saw a strong penalty claim turned down in the second half despite a lengthy delay to review the incidents.
— Poor starts —
First Tottenham were denied as Son was upended by Yerry Mina with the score at 0-0 and then, after Alli opened the scoring, the England midfielder escaped unpunished from a handball inside his own box.
“I think the referee needs to go to the screen and check like in other leagues. It’s the referee that needs to take the decision not the VAR from I don’t know where,” said Pochettino.
A point does little to improve a poor start to the season for either side with Everton still hovering just one place above the relegation zone, while Spurs remain in the bottom half in 11th with 13 points from their first 11 games.
Tottenham hit the Toffees for six on their last visit to Goodison Park last December, but their fall off in form over the past year was in evidence in a dismal first 45 minutes in which neither side threatened to open the scoring.
Spurs badly missed the absent Harry Kane through illness, but were gifted the opener when Alex Iwobi handed possession to Son and the South Korean fed Alli to fire past England international teammate Jordan Pickford.
Son’s joy soon turned to anguish when he slid on Gomes 12 minutes from time as he had to be consoled by players from both sides when he saw the extent of Gomes’s injury.
Everton still struggled to make their man advantage count in what proved to be the final 24 minutes with 12 minutes added due to the VAR reviews and medical attention for Gomes.
But Tosun was in the right place to power home an equaliser and deny Tottenham a first away win in the Premier League since January.