Tottenham manager Antonio Conte bemoaned his team’s lack of firepower up front following a goalless Champions League draw away at Frankfurt on Tuesday.
Tottenham’s strike duo of Harry Kane and Son Hueng-min, who scored 40 goals between them in the 2021-22 Premier League season, failed to capitalise on several clear chances and were frequently booed by the hostile home crowd.
To win in football, you have to score.”
Just before kick-off, word spread around the stadium that Sporting Lisbon, the unbeaten group leader, had lost 4-1 to Marseille, meaning either side could go equal top with a win.
Frankfurt dominated the first half, with Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada pulling the strings up front in place of the injured Mario Goetze.
Captain Sebastian Rode had the best chance of the first half in the 18th minute, when he was set up just to the right of the penalty spot, only for Spurs midfielder Ivan Perisic to get his head to a goalbound shot.
Tottenham looked more comfortable as the half progressed, appearing to shake off the sour taste of their weekend 3-1 derby defeat against Arsenal, their first of the Premier League season.
The visitors’ best chances of the first half fell to Kane, but the England captain was unable to connect, scuffing a shot in the 39th minute when presented with an open goal.
Son, Kane’s usual strike partner, took matters into his own hands just one minute later, but his shot went over the crossbar.
After halftime, Frankfurt roared out of the blocks, with Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff attempting an acrobatic finish when one-on-one with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Loris but coming up empty-handed.
In the 60th minute, Lindstrom had another golden opportunity to open the scoring, but he smashed the ball over the crossbar despite little pressure from the Tottenham defense.
Frustration crept in during the closing stages, Kane picking up a yellow card with five minutes to go for a charge on Makoto Hasebe.
Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner credited “world-class” goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and said his side “could live with a point” after a challenging week where they defeated the previously unbeaten Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin 2-0.
“Tottenham is of course the favourite (in the group), this offence is probably one of the best in Europe,” Glasner said, looking forward to next week’s rematch in London.
“It is important to control them and the few spaces that Antonio’s side gives you effectively.”
‘Work is our only secret’
Both sides finished with a point and are now equal in the group, with the return fixture in London on October 12 looking ever more crucial.
Conte said his side, who played the Europa Conference League last season, needed to remember how far they had come.
“Last season we had a great achievement, to (qualify for) the Champions League.
“We need to take time to build, to go step by step, to improve and become stronger as a squad.
“We are competitive because we work a lot… This is our only secret.”
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn to get the latest updates from Cape Town Tribune