Tottenham 0 Aston Villa 0: Sorensen thwarts Spurs as Villa make their point

Missed chances and absence of Mido frustrate Jol

Spurs' impressive performances this season have been built on the deployment of target man Mido. Of late, Robbie Keane has been feeding off the knock-downs of the burly Egyptian, who is away at the African Nations' Cup, so manager Martin Jol opted for a pair of similar-style strikers with the underused and restless Jermain Defoe alongside Keane.

But with a quarter of an hour left and the frustration mounting, Defoe was replaced by a target man, Grzegorz Raziak, whose future at Tottenham has been in question. By this stage, however, nothing could disturb the command of Villa's captain, Olof Mellberg, and his defence, backed up by the peerless Sorensen.

Villa's manager, David O'Leary,downplayed the achievement of his team, offering wistful admiration instead for the burgeoning excellence of Tottenham and "their quality signings". There seemed a touch of envy here, especially since a shortage of funds at his own club has forced him to return Eirik Bakke to Leeds from his loan spell. Tottenham will take heart from the opinion of the ex-Highbury defender that "Spurs have a chance to finish above Arsenal, without a doubt".

Not on this sort of display, though. Villa had not lost away since last September and clearly came for a draw, but Tottenham should have overcome the Sorensen heroics. However, even after Villa went down to 10 men with the dismissal of Gareth Barry - in his first match back from suspension, for a couple of yellow-carded lunges on the speedy Aaron Lennon - Spurs could not prise open the door to victory.

All of what action there was took place in front of Sorensen. Watched by Sven Goran Eriksson's assistant, Tord Grip, the England and Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson was virtually unemployed. "I can't remember him picking up a ball," said Jol. Ledley King, though similarly underworked, did nothing wrong, but the unhappy Defoe, paired with Keane for the first time in a Premiership game this season, did nothing to improve his hopes of World Cup inclusion.

His first effort on goal, a low shot which was comfortably held by Sorensen, was his best, while Keane did not even get that close. The more respectable shots tended to come from distance, propelled by midfielders such as the excellent Michael Carrick or substitute Michael Brown.

Tottenham's command of the middle of the park was hardly disturbed by the loss, right on half-time, of Jermaine Jenas with concussion following an accidental clash of heads with Juan Pablo Angel or, in the second half, of Edgar Davids with a knee injury. But Spurs were unable to unravel Villa's back line.

The heads of Mellberg and Mark Delaney cleared virtually all the crosses that came pouring in. And when Villa's central defence was finally breached, there was Sorensen, the flying Dane, to save they day with half a dozen stops of the highest quality.

The best came when Carrick set up Teemu Tainio to loop a shot over Sorensen's head. Somehow, the keeper back-pedalled at speed to tip over and prevent what looked a certain goal. "Disappointed rather than frustrated" was Jol's summing-up.

News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Life and Style
fashionOne man takes the hipster trend to the next level
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'