Tottenham 0 Bayer Leverkusen 1: Dele Alli voiced his frustration as Tottenham’s Wembley curse struck again as Mauricio Pochettino’s men slipped to a 1-0 defeat in the Champions League.
Spurs have now won only once in seven matches at Wembley and they paid the price for another sloppy display as Kevin Kampl’s second-half winner left their hopes of qualification hanging by a thread. The defeat means Tottenham drop to third in Group E, two points behind Leverkusen and four adrift of Monaco, who they play in France later this month.
“I don’t think anyone can work out what is wrong,” said midfielder Dele Alli. “We are playing well but we have got to finish our chances and have got to keep going. Tottenham is a club looking to move forward. We have confidence in our ability. It is a matter of finishing off games and getting results. We are a young team but we expect ourselves to perform against anyone.”
Watched by an English club-record home attendance of 85,512, Spurs disappointed in their 2-1 loss to Monaco here in September, and they failed to deliver again.
It is becoming a growing issue of concern for Pochettino, whose side will play all their Premier League home games at Wembley next season and, in the more immediate future, will surely have to beat CSKA Moscow here in December to stand any chance of making the last 16.
Neither Harry Kane nor Toby Alderweireld were deemed fit enough again even for the bench, although there are hopes Kane in particular might play a part in the north London derby on Sunday. The striker’s return cannot come soon enough given Spurs are now winless in six matches and without a goal from open play in their last five.
Leverkusen began where they left off in Germany as Javier Hernandez and Stefan Kiessling hounded Spurs’ back line.
Tottenham’s frenetic start took a turn for the worse after 29 minutes when Mousa Dembele, hobbled off to be replaced by Vincent Janssen. Christian Eriksen tested Bernd Leno with a shot from distance soon after but that was Spurs’ only attempt on goal during a torrid opening half. A disallowed goal from Alli on the cusp of half-time was not enough to placate Pochettino, who looked angry.
Tottenham emerged from the interval with more purpose and Alli thought he deserved a penalty after toppling over Omer Toprak’s lunging left leg, but ref Jonas Eriksson waved away his appeals.
Any gathering momentum, however, was quickly undone as Kampl gave Leverkusen the lead. Charles Aranguiz’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected by Ben Davies and then poked by Walker, finally falling kindly for Kampl to slot home from close range.
Spurs’ fans and players seemed unable to rally in the latter stages. Dier’s bending free-kick crashed against the bar and Leverkusen cleared.
It was the best chance that fell to Spurs, for whom Wembley is yet to feel like home.
Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies, Sissoko, Wanyama, Dembele (Janssen 30), Eriksen (Winks 65), Alli, Son (Nkoudou 73).
Leno, Henrichs, Toprak, Tah, Wendell, Kampl (Volland 84), Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz (Havertz 86), Brandt (Calhanoglu 70), Mehmedi, Hernandez.
Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).
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