Football: Goldbaek upstages Ginola - Tottenham Hotspur 2 Chelsea 2

Premiership: Chelsea's title ambitions are all but ended in a London derby illuminated by goals of great artistry
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The Independent Online
THE GLITTERING prizes may have eluded Chelsea this season, but they continue to pick up consolation prizes. Earning a draw at White Hart Lane last night thanks to Bjarne Goldbaek's thunderous equalising goal they stretched their unbeaten record against Tottenham to a remarkable 18 games, dating back to February 1990. Dropping two points makes it all but mathematically impossible to beat Arsenal or Manchester United to the runners-up position, standing as they do three points behind them with one game to play and a seriously inferior goal difference; but by avoiding defeat at home to Derby in their final match on Sunday, they would set one record, as the only club ever to lose a mere three games yet not be inside the top two. A place in the Champions' League should be consolation for that.

Importantly, it will also bring even more money in, enabling Chelsea, like Arsenal and United, to further improve their already large squads. That is the worry for clubs such as Tottenham, whose manager, George Graham, saw his side run Chelsea much closer than they had managed against Arsenal five days earlier, but was forced to admit afterwards: "If the top three buy in the summer, they'll be uncatchable. I don't think the next group behind them will challenge at all. They're way ahead of everyone else. We need a bigger, brighter, more talented squad.

"Winning a trophy this season was a bonus and we've achieved stage one. Stage two is getting into the top six."

Supporters will be satisfied with that for the time being, though they might have liked a less ambiguous assurance that David Ginola, double Footballer of the Year and maker and then scorer of last night's goals, will be running out for Tottenham next August. "Finance will determine that," Graham said. "We've got a wage structure and he'll be offered the top salary in line with other big clubs."

In the meantime, the faithful were grateful not to be finishing their season at the Lane with the embarrassment of successive home defeats by West Ham, Arsenal and Chelsea. It looked a strong possibility for 10 minutes, but no more, Tottenham showing sufficient character and cohesion to recover from Gustavo Poyet's early goal, then take the lead before being pegged back by Goldbaek.

The reintroduction of John Scales to their defence after six months' absence will not have deflected Graham from putting a new centre-half almost as high on his wanted list as a partner in attack for Steffen Iversen.

Chelsea had made only one change - giving Kevin Hitchcock a second start in goal - suggesting that they were not yet ready for any end-of-season winding down, a point emphasised by a goal within four minutes. David Elleray spotted a shirt-tug by Steve Carr on Tore Andre Flo and Gianfranco Zola, having the free-kick tapped to him by Dennis Wise, arced a cross perfectly for Poyet to head his 14th goal of a remarkable season - one in which he was absent from Boxing Day to early April.

Iversen twice forced Hitchcock to save after being set up by Carr and in the 38th minute the Norwegian cleverly flicked in Ginola's knee-high cross with the outside of his foot following a short corner.

With a draw of no use to them, Chelsea went forward when they could in an enjoyably open game, albeit one in which they were below their best.

Flo twice drew saves from Ian Walker before they fell behind to a rare error from Franck Leboeuf in the 64th minute. The next person to whom he boasts about his World Cup winner's medal might care to remind him about the suicidal square pass with which he attempted to find Wise: it was intercepted by Ginola, who cut inside Marcel Desailly before beating Hitchcock with a glorious, typical strike.

Three substitutions had the desired effect for the visitors, for eight minutes later it was the underrated Goldbaek, who collected a pass fully 30 yards out, took one steadying touch and found the roof of the net.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Campbell, Scales, Taricco; Anderton, Freund (Clemence, 82), Sherwood, Ginola (Dominguez, 87); Armstrong, Iversen. Substitutes not used: Baardsen (gk), Sinton, King.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Hitchcock; Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf, Le Saux; Petrescu (Goldbaek, 65), Wise, Morris (Di Matteo, 65), Poyet; Flo, Zola (Forssel, 54). Substitutes not used: De Goey (gk), Duberry.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow).