Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a late equaliser to rescue Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-2 draw with fellow Champions League hopefuls Everton in a pulsating Premier League game on Sunday.
Spurs had rushed into the lead after just 34 seconds at White Hart Lane with a goal from Emmanuel Adebayor before their visitors replied through a Phil Jagielka header on 15 minutes and a 53rd-minute strike from Kevin Mirallas.
It had started to look as if Spurs, who were missing the injured Gareth Bale, would take nothing from the game before Adebayor hit the post in the 87th minute and Sigurdsson pounced on the rebound to tap the ball in.
The result left Spurs in third place on 58 points from 32 games, two points ahead of Arsenal (31 games) and three ahead of Chelsea (30 games). Sixth-placed Everton have 52 points from 31 games.
“We left it late which didn’t give us a chance to go for the third (goal),” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas told ESPN television.
“We had to battle very hard to get the draw. We believe it (Champions League qualification) is going to go down to the wire.”
Earlier in the day, Liverpool lost ground on the group chasing Champions League spots when they were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham United at Anfield, leaving them in seventh place with 49 points from 32 games.
The draw boosted West Ham’s chances of avoiding a relegation battle as they are now seven points clear of the drop zone in 12th place.
League leaders Manchester United, who are 15 points clear, host second-placed champions ManchesterCity on Monday.
Fans were still taking their seats at White Hart Lane when Adebayor struck the second fastest Premier League goal of the season after Robin van Persie’s 31-second effort for Manchester United against West Ham in November.
The Togo striker stuck out his leg to meet a low cross from Jan Vertonghen on the left to put Spurs in front.
Everton, whose dreams of playing in Europe’s elite club competition next season are alive but becoming faint, did not let the early setback get to them too much and Leon Osman went just wide before Jagielka pulled one back in the 15th minute.
The England defender rose high from a Leighton Baines corner and headed the ball down through the legs of Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.
That early goal was forgotten when Everton went ahead through Mirallas, who weaved his way through the Spurs defence to net in a second successive game after scoring the winner in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Stoke City.
Spurs chased an equaliser with midfielder Mousa Dembele hitting the bar with a deflected shot before Adebayor also rattled the woodwork and the rebound gifted Sigurdsson the goal.
“It was a good point but obviously (we are) disappointed after leading,” Everton manager David Moyes told ESPN.
Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images