Belfast Telegraph

Luka Modric injured as West Bromwich Albion hold Tottenham Hotspur

By David Instone

West Bromwich Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1: On the day life became tougher without Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson, Tottenham Hotspur lost their goalscorer Luka Modric with a leg injury that could also make him a long-term absentee.

A scan late last night was due to reveal the full damage but Harry Redknapp immediately ruled him out well beyond the club's debut in the Champions League group phase on Tuesday.

"The kick was in the spot he broke his leg last season," the manager said. "It could be months. It's not looking good."

Spirited West Bromwich Albion ensured Redknapp has more than a congested treatment room to mull over. Three times in the final four minutes, the home side went close to a winner. The draw they salvaged via Chris Brunt's 50th League goal was well merited, and only the brilliance of Carlo Cudicini denied them two more points.

With Brunt, Gareth Bale and the debutant Rafael van der Vaart, we were well blessed with "educated" left feet here yesterday. But it was a left hand, of Spurs' stand-in keeper, that was decisive in denying Jonas Olsson's twisting header and a curling shot by the excellent Peter Odemwingie in that late surge.

Then Odemwingie backheeled into the path of centre-half Gabriel Tamas, who was galloping forward for a stoppage-time one-two before at full stretch he sent his effort wide.

"We feel a bit disappointed not to have won," said Albion's manager Roberto di Matteo, who had withdrawn Graham Dorrans following a family bereavement. "We can take courage from the last three performances."

Spurs must have been shocked at the finale after showing so much quality early on. Van der Vaart will clearly be an asset, exchanging passes with Aaron Lennon at the end of a sublime move when the winger scooped over. The Dutchman set up Spurs' 27th-minute opener when his right-wing cross was deflected luckily against Tamas's head and dropped for Modric to drill home from 15 yards.

Five minutes later, though, the Croat was clutching his knee after his clumsy challenge on Gonzalo Jara. And Spurs were sloppy when William Gallas – passed over for the captaincy in his first game – was left trailing by Marc-Antoine Fortuné, whose shot was well saved by Cudicini, only for Odemwingie to react quickest with a superb leap that left Brunt to nod home.

Substitutes: West Bromwich: Reid for Scharner (73), Barnes for Brunt (78), Tchoyi for Fortuné (86). Tottenham: Kranjcar for Modric (32), Keane for Pavlyuchenko (64), Crouch for Lennon (77).

Bookings: West Bromwich: Brunt, Jara. Tottenham: Gallas.

Attendance: 23,642.

Referee: Howard Webb

Source: Independent

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