London: Tottenham Hotspur and Everton prevented each other from climbing to second place in the Premier League table after an open-ended 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Tottenham had the better of the first half, with Everton creating more clear-cut chances in the second, while each team had a penalty claim rejected either side of half-time.
A head injury to Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who managed to complete the game, yielded nine minutes of stoppage time, but neither side was able to land a knockout punch.
“The result is fair and with a bit more luck, we could have gone ahead in the first half,” said Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, who revealed that Lloris had momentarily lost consciousness.
“It was a good point in the end. We could have gone second but, considering Everton’s aspirations, it was important to get a point.”
The point was enough to take Tottenham into the top four, level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool and five points below leaders Arsenal, while Everton remain in seventh place, albeit only a point behind Spurs.
Bidding for a third consecutive league victory, Tottenham attacked the game vigorously on a bright autumnal afternoon in Liverpool and held their hosts on the back foot for much of the first half.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had to save from Sandro, Kyle Walker and Lewis Holtby, while marauding Spurs left-back Jan Vertonghen had a strong penalty appeal turned down after being clipped by Seamus Coleman.
The home side began to enjoy more success in the second period, however, with Vlad Chiriches producing a superb last-ditch tackle to thwart Kevin Mirallas and substitute Ross Barkley shooting narrowly over.
In a reversal of the first-half penalty incident, Coleman was then brought to his knees by Vertonghen as he shaped to shoot inside the Spurs box, but again referee Kevin Friend remained unmoved.
Howard parried a Gylfi Sigurdsson drive at the other end, before Lloris took a heavy blow to the head after sliding out to deny Romelu Lukaku.
Despite appearing dazed, the France international refused to be substituted and he proved his reflexes had not been dulled by racing from his line to thwart Gerard Deulofeu in the 87th minute.
“It was a very level game, but what I will take from it is our character,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
“We found a way to impose ourselves in the second half and I really enjoyed watching a game that both teams tried to win until the last seconds.”
The Premier League will witness the first all-Welsh fixture in the history of the English top flight later on Sunday when Cardiff City host local rivals Swansea City.
Swansea, the reigning League Cup champions, have had a two-year head-start on their south Wales counterparts in the top tier, but Cardiff will move above them if they win at the Cardiff City Stadium.
English Premier League
Everton 0 Tottenham 0
Cardiff vs Swansea City