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Sophie Román Haug header earns Liverpool WSL draw at Tottenham

Sophie Román Haug was the villain at Brisbane Road, the Norwegian forward heading in as Liverpool came from behind against Tottenham to secure a draw that denied the north London side a chance to climb to second in the league.

Haug’s compatriot Celin Bizet had given Tottenham a deserved lead in the first half, but Matt Beard’s Liverpool ensured they both stay on 11 points with Spurs ahead on goal difference.

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The Tottenham manager, Robert Vilahamn, conceded the draw was “fair” but said the next stage in their development is finding ways to put games to bed. “They are a good team, so when they did [score it] was kind of fair,” he said. “They’re doing a good job over there as well. It’s a tough game, high tempo, so I’m not really disappointed with the performance.

“We want to score more goals. We don’t want to defend 1-0. It’s the same scenario last week, but it’s easier said than done to score goals … We’re not there yet, we’re in this transition where we’re trying to dominate games and trying to [finish off teams], but we need one more step in the development.”

Tottenham are a different beast under Vilahamn. Last season the England forward Beth England was the hero, scoring 13 goals in 14 games after her recruitment in January, helping Spurs to avoid the drop. Rehanne Skinner was sacked as manager after nine successive defeats in March and her assistant, Vicky Jepson, was tasked with navigating the relegation battle. They secured five wins that season, including against relegation rivals Leicester immediately after Skinner’s exit, before losing only one of their final five games of the season to claw themselves up to ninth.

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Brighton’s two former Citizens, Lee Geum-min and Pauline Bremer, combined to stun Manchester City and earn a 1-0 win.

Lee’s goal in the 81st minute ensured City suffered a second successive defeat, leaving them six points behind league leaders Chelsea. City dominated but struggled with the final ball, having 35 shots and hitting the woodwork twice before Brighton pounced to earn a first victory over the Manchester side in nine meetings.

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Arsenal took over as Chelsea’s closest challengers after beating Leicester 6-2. Jonas Eidevall’s side trailed 2-0 at the break but hit back through goals from Cloé Lacasse, Alessia Russo, Caitlin Foord, Victoria Pelova, Stina Blackstenius and Lina Hurtig.

Aston Villa picked up their first points of the season and moved off bottom with a 2-0 win over Bristol City, who slipped below them. Summer signing Ebony Salmon was at the heart of the win, sending in the cross that Rachel Daly sent in deflecting off Megan Connolly before scoring herself less than 10 minutes later.

Chelsea stayed top with a 3-0 defeat of Everton at Walton Hall Park, while Manchester United had five different scorers in their 5-0 win over West Ham. Suzanne Wrack

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This season Spurs are fighting at the top, such is the transformation under Vilahamn. Against Liverpoolthey could not quite seal a fourth win of the season, but they did move to 11 points, just seven fewer than their tally for the entire 2022‑23 campaign.

There was one change to Spurs’ starting XI that drew 1-1 with Everton last weekend, Drew Spence absent with a hamstring injury and Kit Graham coming in. Beard returned Ceri Holland to Liverpool’s starting lineup for the first time since she picked up a calf injury on international duty and Mia Enderby also came in, with Missy Bo Kearns on the bench and Jas Matthews left out of the matchday squad.

Against a similarly resurgent Liverpool, who have stuttered a little after a blistering start to their campaign, Spurs were dominant and patient and they were rewarded just shy of the half-hour. Bizet collected the ball inside her own half after Liverpool lost possession and ran and ran, with red shirts backing off her, before shifting to the right and firing low past Rachael Laws. It was a marvellous solo effort, aided by Martha Thomas drawing away defenders anticipating a pass.

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They should have had more for their efforts and were made to pay for their profligacy after the break. Haug moved away from Angharad James and powerfully headed in Yana Daniëls’s cross in the 65th minute to level.

“We rode our luck a little bit,” Beard said. “I don’t know if we have got away with one, but plenty of learnings today. We’ve drawn here today, drawn at West Ham, where we could have won. If you look at last year, we did not win a game on the road, this year we’re unbeaten, so I think for us it’s just about making sure if we can’t get three points, we get one.”

Spurs searched for a reply and almost caught Liverpool on the break within minutes, the substitute Jessica Naz released through the middle before forcing a low save from Laws. Liverpool looked the more likely to score a winner as the clock ticked down, but Spurs clung on to secure a point.