Nine-man Spurs suffer first league defeat of season

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Chelsea came from behind to beat nine-man Spurs 4-1 in a frenzied game on Mauricio Pochettino’s return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday.

It was a triumphant return for Mauricio Pochettino who got the biggest win of his short Chelsea tenure.

Although few could have imagined how it would be achieved on a mind-boggling night of VAR decisions, fraying tempers and disallowed goals.

Nicolas Jackson fired a hat-trick in a final crazy 20 minutes to cap a breath-taking game that will go down as one of the most eventful to be played in the Premier League, with five goals disallowed, multiple VAR checks and two red cards shown.

Previously unbeaten Tottenham went ahead after six minutes thanks to Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected shot and minutes later had a second scored by Son Heung-min ruled out for offside.

But the scenes were reminiscent of the infamous Battle of the Bridge in 2016 when Chelsea scuppered the title hopes of Pochettino’s Tottenham side.

The hosts’ night unraveled in a way that could have a serious impact on their season.

Centre back Cristian Romero was sent off after a VAR check for a dangerous tackle that resulted in a penalty scored by Cole Palmer. Tottenham then lost Romero’s defensive partner Micky van de Ven and playmaker James Maddison to injury before halftime.

Destiny Udogie was shown a second yellow card 10 minutes after the break leaving the hosts hanging on grimly for a point.

Chelsea eventually made their numerical advantage count as Jackson put them ahead from close range in the 75th minute – the goal standing after yet another VAR check for offside.

Tottenham had an equaliser by substitute Eric Dier ruled out for offside and Son saw an effort saved in stoppage time by Robert Sanchez.

Jackson wrapped it up with two added-time efforts in front of the joyful Chelsea fans.

A first league defeat for Australian Ange Postecoglou leaves his Spurs team in second place with 26 points from 11 games, one behind champions Manchester City.

Chelsea’s fourth win of the season moved them up to 10th with 15 points.

Tottenham have enjoyed their best start to a top-flight season since 1960 with Postecoglou the first manager to go unbeaten in his first 10 Premier League games.

And when Pape Matar Sarr fed Kulusevski and the Swede’s shot deflected off Levi Colwill to wrongfoot Sanchez and roll into the net the stadium was rocking.

Chelsea were chasing shadows initially and breathed a sigh of relief when Son’s effort was ruled out for offside. But then Tottenham’s world began to collapse around them.

The spark was a petulant kick by Romero on Colwill that went unpunished in the lead-up to a Raheem Sterling goal that was disallowed for handball after another VAR check.

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Minutes later Chelsea had the ball in the net again as Moises Caicedo drilled a low shot inside the post after a frenetic scramble although again it was ruled out for offside.

However, the VAR check ended with referee Michael Oliver viewing a pitch-side monitor and awarding a penalty. He then showed a red card to Romero for a wild tackle on his Argentina team mate Enzo Fernandez in the build-up.

After seven minutes of baffling confusion, Palmer stepped up to squeeze his penalty in off the post despite the best efforts of Tottenham’s outstanding goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. It got worse for Tottenham as Maddison rolled his ankle and was unable to continue before Van de Ven’s hamstring gave out.

With four of their starting lineup no longer on the pitch, Tottenham survived 12 minutes of first-half stoppage time but the wind had been taken fully out of their sails. The second half was only 10 minutes old when Udogie was sent off for a poorly-timed tackle on Sterling.

Chelsea peppered Tottenham’s goal but the home fans cranked up the volume, roaring every tackle and clearance.

Tottenham made two more substitutions on the hour mark with Sarr and Kulusevski replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur and Oliver Skipp. This meant the hosts were now missing seven of the players that started the incident-packed derby.

Jackson eventually broke Tottenham’s resistance with a tap-in from Sterling’s pass and the Senegal striker rubbed salt in the home side’s wounds with two more goals at the death.

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