Photo: Romain Saiss celebrates after scoring the equalizer for Wolves in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Sunday. (Getty Images)
Roman Saiss’ late header earned a 1-1 draw for Wolves against Tottenham on Sunday. Tanguy Ndombele put Spurs ahead just 57 seconds when he beat Rui Patricio with a long-range effort, but Saiss restored parity in the 86th minute with a neat flick to beat Spurs' Hugo Lloris.
A draw means that Spurs move to fifth in the table, while missing out on a chance to go third. As for Wolves they move back ahead of Leeds and into 11th.
Jose Mourinho made three changes to the team that brushed aside Stoke, with Heung-Min Son, Sergio Reguilon and Ndombele all were brought in the starting lineup. Dele Alli started on the bench while Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura were not included in the squad.
Nuno Espirito Santo made three changes to the side that lost to Burnley in mid-week. Fermando Marcal, Adama Traore and Fabio Silva all came in, with Rayan Ait Nouri, Max Kilman and Owen Otasowie dropped to the bench.
Spurs could not have asked for a better start than the one they got. They took the lead with just under a minute on Kevin Friend’s watch. Wolves didn’t not deal with an early corner that was whipped into the box by Son. Ben Davies played it back to Ndombele just outside the box and he hit it first time to beat Patricio as it nestled into the bottom corner.
Wolves took the game to Spurs by pushing up field a little quicker but they struggled to get anything meaningful in the final third. Reguilon almost doubled Spurs lead in the 14th minute when Ndombele cut inside from the right to get away from Marcal and curled a good cross into the box. Reguilion had a free header, but he flicked it just wide of the upright.
Spurs enjoyed the lion’s share of possession from there on but had nothing else to show other than the early goal. Nelson Semedo got ahead of Davies on the right and whipped in a teasing cross into the box. Silva got goal side of Eric Dier and tried to catch Lloris out at his near post, but he sent his effort into the side netting in the 28th minute.
Both teams had excellent looks at goal but poor decision making in the final third was the order of the day.
Wolves went straight at Spurs defense as soon as the second half whistle went. Silva darted into the box and went to ground under a challenge from Dier. The referee waved the claim away and VAR had a quick look at the incident. However, the on-field decision stood, and Wolves got a corner. Since the start of 2018-19, only Liverpool (45) and Manchester United (44) have won more Premier League points than Wolves from losing positions. Spurs got penned back in their half for a lengthy period, but Wolves was still unable to breach their defense.
Mourinho tried to freshen up things in the 64th minute when he brought on Steven Bergwijn for Reguilon. The move almost bore fruit ten minutes when Harry Winks dispossessed Silva and set Spurs on the counter by playing in Bergwijn. He laid the ball off to Harry Kane on the left and he drove forward in the final third before swinging a cross into the box but Coady blocked it.
Mourinho made his final change in the 84th minute by taking off a quiet Son and replaced him with Erik Lamela.
Wolves looked like the team more likely to score and was rewarded for their constant pressure when Saiss made it 1-1 in the 86th minute from a Pedro Neto’s corner kick. A shell shocked Mourinho appeared to run out of ideas and his team should have been trailing two minutes later after Silva got away from Davies on the left side of the box but his tame shot which caught Lloris flat footed went wide of the near post.
Spurs have now dropped eight points from winning positions this season as they have had to settle for draws against Newcastle, West Ham, Palace and now Wolves after conceding goals in the last 10 minutes.
Mourinho said his side should be doing more to kill games. "Of course, it is a concern, but it is more of a concern that we score early goals, and we don't win matches. Of course, against Liverpool it was about the post not wanting us to win a match. But against Palace, for example, by scoring an early goal, you must score (another goal). It's as simple as that.
"We defend very well as a team, that is enough. It could be enough. If we do not concede that last corner, we win 1-0 and you would be asking me different questions. But my feeling would be exactly the same. Wolves were worthy of their point and could have even snatched a winner had Fabio Silva did not fluff a late header."
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was proud of his side. "It's a mix of everything. It's not only to do with fitness," he said.
"It is a lot to do with belief and the spirit of the boys. Today was extremely hard on them and the next game we will clearly have issues because the effort was huge. After the first minute where we conceded, every action of our players was very intense, overly aggressive.
"It requires a big heart, a will to do things to help the team. This is our spirit, and we want to continue like that. Even in the last minute, we had a good chance. So, we always want to stay and make things happen until the last whistle of the referee."