7 Late Tottenham Hotspur Goals to Mirror the 2014 World Cup Thrillers

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

7 Late Tottenham Hotspur Goals to Mirror the 2014 World Cup Thrillers

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    Gareth Bale celebrates scoring the winner in Tottenham Hotspur's 3-2 win over West Ham United in February 2013.
    Gareth Bale celebrates scoring the winner in Tottenham Hotspur's 3-2 win over West Ham United in February 2013.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    The 2014 World Cup has not been short of the kind of late drama Tottenham Hotspur supporters have become familiar with over the years.

    Silvestre Varela's stoppage-time equaliser for Portugal against the USA, Greece progressing at the expense of the Ivory Coast through Georgios Samaras' late penalty—Brazil 2014 has shown you often cannot afford to take your eyes off a game until the very end.

    That has definitely been the case with Tottenham.

    Over the course of this article, we will remember some of the most memorable concluding goals of the club's recent past (going back to the start of the last decade).

    The following six are not the only ones, but they are certainly among the best. The criteria is that they came in the last few minutes of the game. The majority of those chosen here have also been selected because of some attached immediate importance.

    Listed in chronological order, we begin with a north London derby from 2001...

Gus Poyet vs. Arsenal (H): November 17, 2001

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    Gus Poyet had a habit of finding the back of the net even as his career wound down at Spurs.
    Gus Poyet had a habit of finding the back of the net even as his career wound down at Spurs.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    It is hard to recall a more fiery match between Tottenham and Arsenal than this one.

    Sol Campbell returned to White Hart Lane for the first time since crossing the north London divide the previous summer.

    The vitriol directed the defender's way began that day the moment the Gunners' team bus arrived. The sight of Campbell making his way onto the pitch to warm up, and then for the game itself, provoked anger from the stands.

    Spurs' lingering disappointment at seeing their former captain in rival colours looked like it was going to be compounded when Robert Pires gave Arsenal an 81st-minute lead.

    Then in stoppage time, Pires gave the ball away to Ledley King. The centre-back quickly moved the ball forward, and it found its way to Simon Davies. He spread it out right to Sergei Rebrov, who crossed deep into the penalty area.

    Gus Poyet's scissor-kick looked to have been dealt with by Richard Wright, only for the Gunners goalkeeper to fumble into the net, handing Spurs a 1-1 draw.

    This game also sticks in this writer's mind for a moment afterwards on a post-match phone-in show on the now defunct Play UK TV channel.

    An Arsenal fan who had left the match early called in to celebrate what he thought was a win over Tottenham. His gutted reaction at finding out it had ended in a draw was hilarious no matter whom you support.

Paul Stalteri vs. West Ham United (A): March 4, 2007

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    Paul Stalteri seals a memorable 4-3 win over West Ham United.
    Paul Stalteri seals a memorable 4-3 win over West Ham United.Phil Cole/Getty Images

    For a long time in Tottenham Hotspur's 4-3 win over West Ham United in March of 2007, the storyline looked like being about Carlos Tevez.

    The Hammers were trying to avoid dropping out of the Premier League. The Argentinian and his compatriot Javier Mascherano had had issues settling into their new club since their shock transfer the previous summer.

    Against Spurs, Tevez played a pivotal role in giving West Ham a 3-2 lead heading into the last few minutes, notably scoring his goal for the club with a first-half free-kick.

    It was not to be Tevez or West Ham's day.

    On the 89th minute, Dimitar Berbatov levelled the scores with a delightful free-kick of his own. From the edge of the box, he exquisitely lofted it in just beneath the crossbar.

    A point would have been better than nothing for West Ham, but Spurs were not yet done.

    The home side lost the ball on the edge of the box, and substitute Paul Stalteri played it forward to the on-running Jermain Defoe.

    The striker's shot was parried by Rob Green, but there was Stalteri. Having kept up with play, he calmly prodded the ball home, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.

Younes Kaboul vs. Aston Villa (H): October 7, 2007

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    Younes Kaboul celebrates rescuing Tottenham's birthday party.
    Younes Kaboul celebrates rescuing Tottenham's birthday party.Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Tottenham were enduring a birthday to forget with 20 minutes to go of this Premier League meeting with Aston Villa in October of 2007.

    The occasion was the club's 125th anniversary. A host of former players had returned for pre-match applause, while the current team were wearing a kit designed especially for the night.

    With flags handed out to supporters, the atmosphere was a cheerful one.

    It did not last long.

    In keeping with Spurs' poor start to the season, they found themselves 4-1 down before an hour had been played. The visiting Villa fans took great delight in their opponents' misery, sarcastically singing "Happy Birthday."

    But then something clicked in Spurs.

    Ten minutes after Craig Gardner had made it four for Villa, Pascal Chimbonda reduced the deficit. With under 10 minutes to go, Robbie Keane converted a penalty to bring Spurs even closer.

    With not long left, Tom Huddlestone launched a long throw into the penalty box. Younes Kaboul was among the Spurs players looking to head the bouncing ball towards goal before Villa appeared to have cleared it.

    The ball was quickly put back in the box, however, and there it kindly deflected to Kaboul, who proceeded to fire it into the top corner. Cue ecstatic celebrations from the stands and among the players and coaches too.

    Not a bad birthday after all for Spurs.

Aaron Lennon vs. Arsenal: October 29, 2008

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    Aaron Lennon rescued a vital point for Spurs as well as capital pride.
    Aaron Lennon rescued a vital point for Spurs as well as capital pride.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    In late October 2008, Harry Redknapp's time in charge of Tottenham had gotten off to a good start with a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

    Heading into a midweek derby away at Arsenal, Spurs' situation was still a precarious one. Five points from nine games had left them mired in the relegation zone, leading to a change in manager and the need for a positive result and performance against their city neighbours.

    David Bentley's stunning volley to give them the lead looked to have only created false hope as Arsenal proceeded to take advantage of some woeful defending. Arsene Wenger's tormentors led 4-2 with five minutes to go.

    Jermaine Jenas (himself a scorer of an injury time equaliser against Arsenal of his own in April 2007) brought Spurs within a goal of the Gunners on the 89th minute, curling a sumptuous effort beyond Manuel Almunia.

    The goal that followed was less attractive, but all the more valuable as it rescued an important, and because of the opposition, galvanising point for Spurs.

    Huddlestone passed to Luka Modric who controlled and shot in one motion. The Croatian's deflected effort came back off the post and into the path of the advanced Aaron Lennon, the winger gleefully passing it into the empty net.

Mousa Dembele vs. Olympique Lyonnais: February 21, 2013

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    Dembele's goal saw Spurs into the next round of the Europa League.
    Dembele's goal saw Spurs into the next round of the Europa League.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Peter Crouch's 80th-minute winner in the Champions League first-leg last-16 against AC Milan in February 2011 is undoubtedly among the best Tottenham goals scored with time winding down.

    Those last 10 minutes seemed to crawl by, though. With a second leg still to come, there was no guarantee at that point Spurs would progress either (though they did).

    With all due respect to Crouch's moment, a more immediately decisive European goal just over two years later finds it way onto this list.

    Spurs had beaten Lyon 2-1 at home in the Europa League round of 32. A Maxime Gonalons goal early in the return-leg a week later looked like knocking Andre Villas-Boas' side out, though.

    Against a stout Lyon defence, a moment of sheer inspiration appeared to be required to find a way past them. It came from the skillful boots of Mousa Dembele.

    Receiving a pass from Gareth Bale, the Belgian faced up to Clement Grenier. Dembele moves toward him just enough before dropping his shoulder and dribbling past him to the left.

    With space to work in, the midfielder looked up and launched a powerful shot into the bottom right-hand corner, past the helpless dive of Remy Vercoutre.

    Spurs went through 3-2 on aggregate with only moments to spare.

     

Gareth Bale vs. West Ham United: February 23, 2013

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    Gareth Bale celebrates with manager Andre Villas-Boas after his latest spectacular goal.
    Gareth Bale celebrates with manager Andre Villas-Boas after his latest spectacular goal.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Bale made a habit of scoring point-rescuing goals in the second-half of the 2012-13 season. Most of them were pretty special finishes, too.

    Arguably the best was this injury-time beauty in a 3-2 win over West Ham United in February.

    In a match similar to the previously mentioned 4-3 thriller from 2006-07, the score went back and forth. West Ham were leading with 15 minutes to go when Gylfi Sigurdsson tied things up at 2-2.

    Bale had opened the scoring for Spurs and been involved in much of their best work throughout the game.

    In the last minute he raced into the Hammers half, passing left to Sigurdsson just as Joey O'Brien closed in.

    Sigurdsson knocked it back to Tom Carroll who quickly forwarded it  to Bale, now ready to receive after momentarily ending up on the floor.

    Taking Carroll's pass, the Welshman turned and sized up his options in front of him. With no obvious passing opportunities available, he made the most of the open few yards ahead and launched a dipping rocket over Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the top corner.

    As Bale raced away to celebrate with manager Andre Villas-Boas, it was late heartbreak again for West Ham against their despised rivals.

Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Southampton: March 23, 2014

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    Sigurdsson strikes one perfectly from long-range to beat Southampton.
    Sigurdsson strikes one perfectly from long-range to beat Southampton.Clive Rose/Getty Images

    The most recent entry to this list, the stakes were not quite as high as the others when Gylfi Sigurdsson netted the winner against Southampton last March.

    Nonetheless, as a reminder of Tottenham's ability to excite up until the last moment, it's as good as they come.

    Spurs had fallen two goals behind to their soon-to-be manager Mauricio Pochettino's Saints side. A Christian Eriksen brace got the north Londoners back in the game, and with time to search for a winner.

    Frustratedly for the White Hart Lane crowd, it did not look like coming despite Spurs putting Southampton under large spells of pressure in the second-half.

    Then, as the match headed into stoppage time, a long ball forward was cleared only as far as Eriksen, who softly side-footed a pass to the nearby Sigurdsson. 

    The Icelander readjusted his stance ever so slightly, then quickly ran onto the tee-up and struck it venomously. The shot skimmed across the pitch's surface, past various Saints and beyond the reach of Artur Boruc into the bottom corner.