West Ham spoil Bale's homecoming party at Spurs

Welsh attacker comes on as substitute as Tottenham throw away three-goal lead

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Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 1', Kane 8' & 16') West Ham United 3 (Balbuena 82', Sanchez og 85', Lanzini 90'+4)

Man of the match Harry Kane

Suffice to say this was probably not how Gareth Bale expected his comeback to go.

Thirteen years since his first Tottenham debut and seven years since his last game for them, the homecoming hero took to the pitch with his side 3-0 up.

Time for a sentimental cameo to cap an emphatic win? So it seemed.

West Ham had other ideas. They mounted a stunning comeback, sealed in injury time by a spectacular equaliser.

The decisive substitute was not Bale, but Manuel Lanzini, whose magnificent 25-metre shot flew in off the underside of the bar.

West Ham were eviscerated and elated in the same game; destroyed and delighted.

It was a seminal, sensational response. After conceding three goals in 16 minutes at the start, they scored three in 13 at the end.

First Fabian Balbuena, who had a torrid game defensively, made amends by heading in Aaron Cresswell’s free kick.

Then Davinson Sanchez headed Vladimir Coufal’s cross into his own net. Finally Lanzini produced the brilliant equaliser.

Tottenham are the least Mourinho-esque of Jose Mourinho's teams.

They have still not kept a clean sheet this season and after the Portuguese’s reign began with a 3-0 lead against West Ham that turned into an anxious 3-2 win, they gave up three goals and two points here.

Mourinho, that monument to efficiency, has instead offered entertainment; too much for his own liking.

This was only the third time in Premier League history a team three goals down with 10 minutes to go avoided defeat.

Bale could have scored with his first touch in a Spurs shirt since 2013, instead directing a free kick at Lukasz Fabianski, and with his last, after an injury-time solo run.

His new teammates did show a lethal streak. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min dismantled Southampton and Manchester United’s defences, and West Ham soon suffered, too.

They had been defensively resolute with clean sheets against Wolves and Leicester.

David Moyes, who had watched those two victories from home while recovering from coronavirus, ended up dancing on the pitch but must have initially wished he had stayed away again while Spurs, after that 6-1 rout at Old Trafford, took their tally to nine goals within 103 minutes.

Kane is dropping deeper, to the extent that he made a wonderful block on Coufal in his own box, and is shaping up as the division’s most creative player as he illustrates his playmaking skills.

But that has not come at a cost to his potency. He remains an outstanding finisher with a relentless desire for goals.

No player has ever been involved in more goals in the first five games of a Premier League campaign than him, with 12.

Within 45 seconds, Spurs had doubled their tally of home league goals for the season.

Within eight minutes, Kane and Son each assisted and scored a goal. Within 16, each had been involved in three goals.

The opener came in familiar fashion. Son’s four goals at Southampton were notable for the fact that Kane created all of them and in the manner he supplies the South Korean now: releasing him with long passes.

The England captain collected the ball in his own half and used Son’s pace. He cut inside Balbuena and found the bottom corner of the West Ham net.

Son’s assist was less spectacular. Kane collected his pass, nutmegged Declan Rice with a touch and Balbuena with a shot of similar, laser-like accuracy.

His second goal stemmed from Son, who found the overlapping Sergio Reguilon, and Kane headed in the Spaniard’s cross.

It was an indication of what the left-back, a more attacking alternative to Ben Davies, offers.

So far, so good for Spurs, with a rejuvenated Tanguy Ndombele excelling in midfield.

Yet it transpired they needed a fourth goal. The relentless Kane almost provided it. Fabianski tipped one shot wide. A curler beat the Pole but hit the post.

West Ham had improved after the break. Pablo Fornals contrived to miss from four metres, heading wide of an unguarded net and when Spurs conceded one, their defensive issues were apparent.

They may need Bale’s firepower alongside Kane and Son’s simply to outscore anyone.


Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 1', Kane 8' & 16') West Ham United 3 (Balbuena 82', Sanchez og 85', Lanzini 90'+4)

Man of the match Harry Kane