BURNLEY, United Kingdom (AFP) – Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge suffered a crushing blow as Ashley Barnes’ late strike sealed a shock 2-1 win for Burnley that ruined Harry Kane’s goal-scoring return last night.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side would have moved within two points of leaders Manchester City with a win at Turf Moor.
But they squandered the chance to enhance their title prospects with a sloppy display that saw Chris Wood put Burnley ahead after half-time.
There was controversy about Wood’s goal as it came from a corner that Tottenham felt shouldn’t have been given.
But Pochettino’s men had a break of their own when Kane, back after missing seven games with an ankle injury, capitalised on a throw-in that was taken in the wrong place.
At that stage, Tottenham looked poised to push on for a fifth successive league victory.
However, they paid the price for sloppy defending as Barnes struck with seven minutes left to extend Burnley’s unbeaten league run to eight matches.
It was a bitter blow for third placed Tottenham, who will be eight points off top spot if second placed Liverpool, currently level on points with City, win at Manchester United on Sunday.
Pochettino was fuming at full-time, confronting referee Mike Dean and his assistants on the pitch in a lengthy rant that showed his frustration at both Burnley’s first goal and Tottenham’s missed opportunity.
Playing for the first time in 10 days due to their early exit from the FA Cup, Tottenham were back in action after beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in their previous match.
Pochettino knew his team had no margin for error if they wanted to stayed in contention and, as games against Chelsea and Arsenal loom next week, he billed the trip to Turf Moor as a “final”.
But Tottenham were struggling to build the head of steam required to break down the well-marshalled Clarets’ rearguard.