Tottenham Hotspur and Everton prevented each other from climbing to second place in the Premier League table after an open-ended 0-0 draw at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, on Sunday.
Tottenham had the better of the first half, with Everton creating more clear-cut chances in the second, while each team had a penalty claim rejected either side of halftime.
A head injury to Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who managed to complete the game, yielded nine minutes of stoppage-time, but neither side was able to land a knockout punch.
“The result is fair and with a bit more luck we could have gone ahead in the first half,” said Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, who revealed that Lloris had momentarily lost consciousness on the pitch. “It was a good point in the end. We could have gone second, but considering Everton’s aspirations, it was important to get a point.”
The point was enough to take Tottenham into the top four.
Bidding for a third consecutive league victory, Tottenham attacked the game vigorously on a bright autumnal afternoon and had their hosts on the back foot for much of the first half.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had to save from Sandro, Kyle Walker and Lewis Holtby, while marauding Spurs leftback Jan Vertonghen had a strong penalty appeal turned down after being clipped by Seamus Coleman.
The hosts began to enjoy more success in the second period, with Vlad Chiriches producing a superb last-ditch tackle to thwart Kevin Mirallas and substitute Ross Barkley shooting narrowly over.
In a reversal of the first-half penalty incident, Coleman was then brought to his knees by Vertonghen as he shaped to shoot inside the Spurs box, but again referee Kevin Friend remained unmoved.
Howard parried a Gylfi Sigurdsson drive at the other end, before Lloris took a heavy blow to the head after sliding out to deny Romelu Lukaku.
Despite appearing dazed, the France international refused to be substituted and he proved his reflexes had not been dulled by racing from his line to thwart Gerard Deulofeu in the 87th minute.
“It was a very level game, but what I will take from it is our character,” Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. “We found a way to impose ourselves in the second half and I really enjoyed watching a game that both teams tried to win until the last seconds.”
Cardiff City took the spoils in the first ever all-Welsh fixture in the 125-year history of the English top flight after winning 1-0 at home to fierce local rivals Swansea City.
Michu threatened twice for the visitors in the early stages, but Cardiff ultimately prevailed thanks to a 62nd-minute header from former Swansea centerback Steven Caulker on a rain-lashed day in the Welsh capital.
The England international’s goal from a Craig Bellamy corner gave Cardiff only their second win in eight league games and had the added bonus of elevating them above Swansea to 12th place in the table.
“It’s a good day all round,” Cardiff manager Malky Mackay told Sky Sports. “We were playing against a really good team here today, a team that have been winning well in Europe and are a mid-table Premier League team who’ve been in the division for three years. So for us to come up this year and play to that standard, especially in the second half — I thought we were very dominant.”
Swansea, who had goalkeeper Michel Vorm sent off in stoppage-time for bringing down substitute Fraizer Campbell, slip to 13th.