Spurs rocked on Bale’s return, Villa extend perfect start

Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale looks dejected after the match as West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini celebrates with teammates during their match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London October 18, 2020. — Pool pic via Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale looks dejected after the match as West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini celebrates with teammates during their match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London October 18, 2020. — Pool pic via Reuters

LONDON, Oct 19 — West Ham ruined Gareth Bale’s Tottenham return with a stunning late fightback from three goals down to rescue a thrilling 3-3 draw, while Aston Villa extended their perfect start with a dramatic 1-0 win at Leicester yesterday.

Tottenham were leading 3-0 when Bale came on as a 72nd minute substitute for his first appearance since joining on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

But he suffered a debut to forget as Tottenham capitulated in astonishing fashion.

The Wales star was one of the main Tottenham culprits as he missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the points before West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini snatched a stoppage-time equaliser.

Tottenham took the lead with just 45 seconds gone when Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to create a goal for the seventh time this season.

Kane was the catalyst, dropping deep into midfield before unfurling a majestic long pass that found Son, who cut into the West Ham area and curled his shot into the far corner.

It was Kane’s turn to get on the scoresheet in the eighth minute as he nutmegged Declan Rice and fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Tottenham’s sizzling start featured a third goal in the 16th minute, with England captain Kane heading in from Sergio Reguilon’s pin-point cross for his 10th goal of the season.

Back at Tottenham seven years after leaving for Real in a then world record deal, Bale hopes to prove he is still a world-class talent despite a long spell out of favour with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

But it was West Ham who were the dominant force after Bale’s introduction to replace Steven Bergwijn.

Fabian Balbuena nodded in from Aaron Cresswell’s cross after 82 minutes and Davinson Sanchez’s headed own goal from Vladimir Coufal’s delivery three minutes later left Tottenham panicking.

Bale should have scored in stoppage-time, but he shot wide after bursting into the area and Lanzini made him pay with a brilliant 25-yard blast into the top corner.

West Ham are the first team in Premier League history to avoid defeat in a game having trailed by three or more goals as late as the 81st minute.

“The game was under control. We had Harry Kane to score the fourth when he hit the post, then Gareth Bale to kill the game. This is a game that was in the pocket and we lost two points,” Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said.

“We should be stronger. They were lucky but maybe they deserved that luck. We were unlucky but maybe we deserved that.”

At the King Power Stadium, Villa left it until the 90th minute to seal their fourth successive victory.

Ross Barkley, on loan from Chelsea, took John McGinn’s pass and fired home from the edge of the area.

Just months after avoiding relegation on the final day of last season, Villa move up to second place.

They thrashed champions Liverpool 7-2 before the international break and now sit three points behind leaders Everton.

Villa have won their opening four games of a league season for the first time since 1930-31 and boss Dean Smith said: “It is a really good start. To come here and get the win, this is a really good team.

“There are a lot of tired legs but they are getting into the season slowly but surely. We will savour what we are doing at the moment.”

Mitrovic misery

At Bramall Lane, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic endured a penalty nightmare in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

Mitrovic fired over with his second half penalty after Jack Robinson handled.

Ademola Lookman put Fulham ahead in the 77th minute with a superb solo effort.

But Serbia international Mitrovic was penalised for a high foot on Robinson in the 85th minute and Billy Sharp made him pay as he drove his penalty down the middle.

Alexis Mac Allister netted his first Premier League goal in the 90th minute to give Brighton a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. — AFP

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