Declan Rice could scarcely believe what he had just witnessed after West Ham United’s miraculous come-from-behind 3-3 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Irons looked on course for a disappointing Premier League defeat when Spurs raced into a three-goal lead within 16 minutes, but Rice and company stuck at it, kept playing their football, avoided further damage and set the foundations for a stunning late recovery.
Fabian Balbuena’s header and Davinson Sanchez’s own-goal gave the Hammers hope before substitute Manuel Lanzini haunted Tottenham again with an unstoppable strike in the fourth minute of added time.
It was a moment of brilliance from Manu and you could see the reaction from the boys. I can’t put it into words!
“Honestly, I can’t tell you what happened at the end!” admitted Rice, who captained West Ham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. “It was just one of those special moments in football when it just seemed like it was meant to be.
“Obviously it was not the start we wanted. Going three goals down in 15 minutes is not what we’ve been about recently, but it still felt like we were playing good football and creating chances and it didn’t feel like a 3-0 game.
“For some reason they dropped off us in the second half and didn’t try to kill the game off and I think we grew into it and we said at half-time that once we got one we felt like we could go on and get a draw or get a win.
“It was a moment of brilliance from Manu and you could see the reaction from the boys. I can’t put it into words!”
West Ham were made to pay by a clinical Tottenham early on as Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to put them in control before the first half had even reached its halfway point.
The prolific pair were joined by the returning Gareth Bale midway through the second half, but the Irons showed resilience and belief and scored three goals inside the final nine minutes to snatch an unlikely point.
The equaliser sparked wild celebrations on the pitch and in the dugout, from where manager David Moyes marked his return from a month away following a positive COVID-19 test with a dance along the touchline.
“Against a team like Spurs, with the quality they’ve got, 3-0 down and then Gareth Bale comes on and they’ve obviously got Kane and Son on the pitch, you’re thinking ‘Don’t concede more goals. Close it off’,” Rice explained. “But, like I said, we were creating chances. Pablo [Fornals] missed a great chance and we created some other great chances.
“Once we got one, then the second one came right after, I thought ‘Hang on, there is another ten minutes so we can definitely get one’, and it was always going to be a goal like that to get the draw!
“I couldn’t imagine what it was like for Manu to score that but, for me, I was just stood on the edge and as soon as it left his foot it was one of those ones where Lloris has tried but it’s gone right into the stanch. You could see the reaction… what a game!”