Hugo Lloris helps Tottenham to a point on their travels in Leverkusen
HUGO LLORIS' stunning save earned Tottenham a goalless draw and a valuable point against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Leverkusen dominated the second half at the BayArena and looked certain to score when Javier Hernandez had the goal at his mercy at the back post. A darting Lloris, however, clawed the ball off the line to deny the former Manchester United striker as Spurs held on to claim a share of the spoils.
Mauricio Pochettino's men had been much the better side in the opening period, with Vincent Janssen heading against the crossbar early on, but the visitors will be happy with a point that keeps them second in Group E, with two home games to come.
Tottenham's injury-plagued start to the campaign shows no sign of abating, with Toby Alderweireld out nursing a knee problem and Harry Kane still recovering after straining ligaments in his right ankle. It meant Eric Dier dropped into his old position of centre half while Janssen started up front, despite scoring only once in 11 Spurs appearances so far.
Alderweireld, perhaps the Premier League's best defender last season, is, however, arguably an even bigger miss than Kane and, while Dier is an able deputee, Tottenham needed the Belgian's composure here during a relentless spell of pressure in the second half.
Much of the talk in the build-up had been about Son Heung-min, who left Leverkusen under a cloud despite scoring 21 goals in 62 appearances for the club, but he struggled to make the impact he would have hoped.
When Son went to take a corner in front of the home fans in the first half, he received a torrent of abuse and appeared even to have objects thrown at him from the crowd. If Uefa chooses to investigate, a fine could follow.
Tottenham had the ball in the net in the 11th minute and Son was the architect, as he generously squared for Janssen to tap home, only for the linesman to rule, correctly, the South Korean had strayed offside from Erik Lamela's pass.
As pouring rain washed over the BayArena, Spurs looked remarkably comfortable early on, popping the ball around at will, and finding their opponents' defence full of gaps whenever they broke at speed.
Dele Alli should have made the dominance count when his bursting run into the box ended with him heading Kieran Trippier's cross over and just before half-time, the visitors were again denied, on this occasion three times in quick succession.
Alli smartly skipped over a pass out wide to Son and the ball came back to the midfielder on the edge of the box but his finish was blocked. Janssen then headed Trippier's cross against the bar and, while Lamela volleyed the rebound goalward, Bernd Leno was fast to his feet and tipped it over.
Leverkusen were not without openings, Hernandez's drilled effort wide at the end of the period the closest they came, but the hosts were certainly the happier side to reach the interval on level terms.
The second-half, however, breathed new life into Leverkusen and Tottenham were twice fortunate not to fall behind. First, Admir Mehmedi curled the ball into an open net after Lloris rushed out and failed to clear but referee Cuneyt Cakir decided the goalkeeper had been fouled.
Lloris then made his own luck moments later as Hernandez looked certain to finish at the back post but the Frenchman miraculously scrambled across to claw the ball off the line. Hernandez protested it was in but replays showed the correct call was made.
A chaotic 15 minutes followed. Lloris continued his rearguard action with four quick-fire saves and only Danny Rose's head prevented Hernandez from finally breaking the deadlock.
There was still time for one more Leverkusen chance late on as Stefan Kiessling side-footed wide from close range. Tottenham's relief was palpable when the final whistle blew.
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno, Bender (Jedvaj 74), Tah, Toprak, Henrichs, Mehmedi, Aranguiz, Kampl, Calhanoglu (Baumgartlinger 46), Kiessling, Hernandez (Brandt 86); Subs Not Used: Ozcan, Dragovic, Havertz, Volland; Booked: Calhanoglu,Bender.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Alli, Wanyama, Lamela (Sissoko 71), Eriksen, Son (Onomah 90), Janssen (Dembele 64); Subs Not Used: Vorm, Winks, Davies, Carter-Vickers; Booked: Lamela.
Ref: C Cakir (Turkey).