Tottenham Hotspur saw their late ecstasy replaced by infuriating agony on Wednesday evening, with Antonio Conte’s side having seen victory snatched from their grasp following a highly controversial VAR decision.
In need of a win over Portuguese side Sporting CP to confirm their place in the Champions League last-16 with a game to spare, the north Londoners made the worst possible start to proceedings at N17, conceding midway through the first half as former youth product, Marcus Edwards, lashed in from distance.
A much-improved display after the break would result in a belated equaliser from January arrival Rodrigo Bentancur with just ten minutes left to play, before talisman Harry Kane looked to have won it at the death in dramatic fashion.
The England skipper would, however, see his stoppage-time effort subsequently ruled out for offside to curtail the celebrations, with the Lilywhites now still requiring a result against Marseille next week to secure a knockout stage berth.
For all Conte’s fury directed towards the officials in the aftermath of that stalemate, as the dust settles the former Chelsea boss may well be concerned at the performance of some of his key men, including defender Eric Dier.
The England international has been a regular fixture for the club this season – starting all 17 games thus far – although endured a night to forget against his former employers, having proven something of a liability at both ends of the pitch.
The 28-year-old – as well as teammates Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Cristian Romero – was “made to look very stupid” in the build-up to Edwards’ opener, according to Jay Jaffa, after failing to adequately stop the youngster in his tracks, with that setting the tone for the frustrating evening that the centre-back was to endure.
The 47-cap menace distinctly underwhelmed in the heart of the backline having lost 82% of his total duels, while also winning just a solitary tackle and failing to make a single interception or clearance.
Having earlier seen a volleyed effort well saved by opposition ‘keeper Antonio Adan, Dier then inexplicably failed to convert a handful of headed openings late on with the goal at his mercy, with football.london’s Rob Guest noting that he ‘really should have won the game for Spurs‘.
An ineffective presence in both boxes, the £85k-per-week dud unsurprisingly recorded a measly match rating of just 6.5, as per SofaScore, with that the joint-lowest of any of his starting teammates, alongside the returning Lucas Moura.
Having been a largely reliable figure under Conte over the past year or so, it has proven something of a grim week for the former Everton loanee, having also played his part in the recent Premier League defeats to both Newcastle United and Manchester United.
With a World Cup looming, Dier may well need to try and recapture his form if he is to find himself on the plane to Qatar.