Call it the Battle of the Bridge Part 2.
This time, Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte were the main protagonists in the fiery last game between Chelsea and Tottenham which ended in a 2-2 draw due to a stoppage-time goal from Harry Kane. .
It ended up being an afterthought, after the game ended explosively at Stamford Bridge, just like in 2016 when Tottenham’s title challenge ended in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea and both groups of players and coaches clashed repeatedly on and off the pitch.
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Six years later, it is the managers who are in the spotlight. As Tuchel and Conte shook hands on the pitch after the final whistle, Tuchel appeared not to let go and hinted that Conte was looking him in the eye. They faced off and shouted in each other’s faces, before players and coaches from both teams piled in and jostled.
Tuchel and Conte then received back-to-back red cards.
They had also faced each other during the match, when Conte celebrated Tottenham’s first equalizer by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in the 68th minute. He approached Tuchel and burst into his chest, sparking a melee among the coaching staff and substitutes as Tuchel pointed at Conte and told him to stay in his part of the technical area.
Then, after Reece James put Chelsea ahead in the 77th minute, Tuchel sprinted past Conte and down the touchline, clenching his fist in joy.
“I thought when we shook hands you looked each other in the eye, but Antonio had a different opinion,” Tuchel said of the post-match clash with Conte.
“He was happy when they equalized and it got a bit heated, but nothing serious…I think it was unnecessary but a lot of things were unnecessary.”
As for Conte, he wouldn’t talk about the clashes that took place during and after the match despite being asked repeatedly in his post-match interviews.
Kane’s goal, a corner header six minutes into stoppage time, ended Chelsea’s five-game winning streak over Tottenham in all competitions.
Conte deserves credit for how his second-half substitutions changed the course of a game Chelsea have dominated up to this point.
Spurs steal a point on death
Still, Tottenham might have been lucky with their first goal, which probably shouldn’t have counted as there was a foul on Chelsea striker Kai Havertz by Rodrigo Bentancur which went unpunished before the Spurs didn’t mount their attack.
Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella, who assisted in Kalidou Koulibaly’s opener with a brilliant 19th-minute volley, also appeared to have his long hair pulled into a corner before the one Kane scored from.
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“We were absolutely brilliant,” said Tuchel. “Only one team deserved to win and that was us. Their two goals can’t stand.”
The result left both teams on four points from two games and with only Manchester City and Arsenal on a maximum of six points.
In the previous kick-off, it was a 23-year-old win for Nottingham Forest.
Playing their first Premier League home game since 1999, Forest somehow escaped with a 1-0 win over West Ham thanks to a lucky goal from Taiwo Awoniyi, who saw a block from a defender hit his leg and ricochet into the net.
Forest capitalized on their chance at the other end, with Declan Rice having a 65th-minute penalty saved by loan keeper Dean Henderson and Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma hitting the underside of the crossbar with shots from long range.
Benrahma also had a goal ruled out after a video review at the end of the first half.
While West Ham have now opened with back-to-back defeats, Forest are out of the picture after starting with a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle last weekend.
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