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Spurs sickener for Everton, Chelsea up to third

ESPN staff
April 7, 2013 « Premier League - Live scores and updates | Chartbeat test »
Gylfi Sigurdsson earned Tottenham a vital point against Everton © Getty Images
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Tottenham scored a late equaliser to deny Everton a huge win in the race for Champions League football on Sunday, meaning Chelsea were the day's big winners as they moved up to third. Liverpool all but kissed goodbye to their European ambitions after they were held by West Ham. Newcastle edged closer to safety with a win against Fulham, but Queens Park Rangers were denied a crucial three points by Wigan in the final moments of the game as their survival hopes took a hit.

Premier League table and results

Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham welcomed Everton to White Hart Lane with questions to answer over their ability to cope without star man Gareth Bale - out for the next two weeks with an ankle problem. And despite a first-minute goal from Emmanuel Adebayor they needed Gylfi Sigurdsson's late intervention to earn a 2-2 draw after Phil Jagielka and Kevin Mirallas had turned the tables for Everton.

The draw moves Spurs two points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal but they now trail Chelsea on goal difference. Everton, meanwhile, may well feel their great chance has slipped by as they sit six points outside the Champions League spots.

Everton had problems of their own ahead of kick-off with Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar both absent, but that did not excuse their poor start, allowing Jan Verthonghen to find Adebayor inside 35 seconds to stab home the opener.

It was the nightmare start David Moyes desperately wanted to avoid, yet the response was commendable. Victor Anichebe led the line forcefully and from a 15th-minute corner Jagielka climbed above Verthonghen to head past the poorly positioned Lloris.

Anichebe continued to cause problems but it was Mirallas who conjured up Everton's second, adding to his recent solo strike against Stoke. Receiving the ball outside the Spurs box in the inside-right channel, he first drove inwards before checking back onto his right foot to calmly slot across Lloris into the far corner.

Spurs looked beaten, but when the ball rebounded off a post Sigurdsson was on hand to poke home an 87th-minute equaliser. Anichebe had the chance to restore Everton's lead at the death but was well smothered by Lloris.

Spurs' failure to win offered Chelsea the chance to return to third in the table, and after falling behind to Sunderland they eventually achieved their aim with a 2-1 triumph. Branislav Ivanovic provided the crucial strike after Matthew Kilgallon's own goal cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta's earlier moment of misfortune.

In Paolo Di Canio's first game in charge of relegation-threatened Sunderland the Black Cats, who are not in the bottom three only because of goal difference, led at half-time. John O'Shea helped on Adam Johnson's corner on the stroke of the interval and Azpilicueta had the decisive touch.

However, within two minutes of the restart Chelsea were level when Simon Mignolet's save from Oscar hit Kilgallon and rolled agonisingly over the line.

The Blues capitalised on their momentum and scored another fortuitous goal moments later, Ivanovic diverting the ball beyond a helpless Mignolet after David Luiz had shot goalwards. That proved the winner, with Chelsea able to keep the ball for large periods as they saw things through to full-time.

Luis Suarez had one of his poorer outings in a Liverpool jersey © PA Photos
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Liverpool know a top-five finish is the only way to secure a ticket into Europe for next season, but a poor display by Luis Suarez epitomised the Reds in a 0-0 draw against West Ham that leaves them below neighbours Everton and seven points adrift of Arsenal - who occupy the Europa League spot.

West Ham were unable to utilise loan signing Andy Carroll against his parent club, while Liverpool kept a winning formula with Daniel Sturridge once again benched from the starting XI. After a minute's silence was observed for the victims of Hillsborough, Sturridge's fellow forward Philippe Coutinho was first to threaten, cutting onto his right foot to force a sharp save from Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Suarez, uncharacteristically, endured a frustrating opening 20 minutes as every pass or touch went astray, but it was Stewart Downing who departed midway through the first half for Sturridge due to injury. Immediately prior to that change West Ham almost led when Mohamed Diame beat four Liverpool defenders before hammering over the bar.

West Ham had another golden chance when Lucas got caught dithering on the edge of his own box, Daniel Agger rescuing the situation with a fine block from Carlton Cole. Liverpool did plenty of pressing and carved out numerous half-chances, but as half-time arrived it was the visitors who had come closest to scoring.

Steven Gerrard tried to change that fact after the interval but his shot was cleared off the line by James Tomkins, while Suarez fired another attempt right across the line from an impossible angle. Sturridge then diverted a Jordan Henderson shot into the net but was marginally offside.

Gerrard looked to have been denied a clear penalty when challenged by Tomkins inside the area, while at the other end Lucas cleared off the line to deny Jack Collison in the 85th minute.

Shaun Maloney salvaged a point for Wigan at Queens Park Rangers by scoring a last-second free-kick in a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.

QPR played the majority of the game with ten men when Bobby Zamora was given a straight red card by referee Phil Dowd for a very high foot, catching the face of Jordi Gomez.

However, Harry Redknapp's men believed they had done enough to win the contest when Loic Remy superbly opened the scoring five minutes from time. But, Wigan managed to keep the gap to themselves and QPR to seven points when Maloney curled home a fine free-kick with virtually the final moment of the game to dent QPR's survival hopes.

Newcastle left it late to add three points to their survival bid as they moved five points clear of the danger zone, beating Fulham 1-0 at St James' Park. The Magpies hit the woodwork on several occasions but looked to be heading for a draw, until Papiss Cisse showed great control to score deep into injury-time.

Martin Jol was left disappointed with the outcome. "I thought we controlled the game in the first half, it was almost perfect," the Fulham boss said.

"At [Tottenham Hotspur] we limited them and then scored, and that was our intention today. We didn't score so 0-0 would have been okay as they kept coming at us. Compliments to Newcastle but we should have had a bit more."

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